The Kansas City Chiefs tried to give up the AFC West title, but in the end they wrestled it away from the rest of the competition and clinched back-to-back division titles for the first time in franchise history by knocking off the Miami Dolphins last Sunday. And over their last three games, the Chiefs have looked a lot like the team that opened the year with five consecutive wins while leading the league in scoring.
A Week 13 loss to the Jets was Kansas City’s sixth in seven games and dropped them into a three-way tie with Oakland and Los Angeles at the top of the division. The big plays on offense dried up and the defense looked like it was playing with nine men at times. But Andy Reid has been around and he wasn’t overly concerned about the direction of his club, though most everyone else was. A three-game homestand would decide the Chiefs fate and that of the division.
KC got its swagger back and trimmed the number of teams tied for first to two with a win over the Raiders. One week later there was another first-place showdown and the Chiefs were victorious over the Bolts in that one. They made it a clean sweep and clinched the division by beating the Dolphins. The Chiefs can’t go anywhere in the standings and as a result Reid has elected to start Patrick Mahomes against the Broncos in Week 17. He’ll be the first rookie to start a game for the Chiefs since 1979.
After opening the season with four straight losses, nobody expected the Chargers to be in the playoff picture heading into the final game of the season. But here they are, a win over the Raiders and some other scenarios working out positively for them away from becoming the second team ever to qualify for the postseason after going 0-4. The Chargers were also that other team, turning the trick in 1992. The Bolts will have one eye on the scoreboard and another on the Raiders on Sunday. They need to dispose of Oakland and have the Jaguars beat the Titans and the Ravens knock off the Bengals to get in.
Kansas City Chiefs (Clinched)
1. Kansas City Chiefs ( 9-6 SU, 9-6 ATS, 7-8 O/U )
2. Los Angeles Chargers ( 8-7 SU, 7-7-1 ATS, 4-11 O/U )
3. Oakland Raiders ( 6-9 SU, 5-8-2 ATS, 5-10 O/U )
4. Denver Broncos ( 5-10 SU, 4-10-1 ATS, 7-8 O/U )
Chiefs at Broncos ( -3, 37.5 ), Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET – CBS
Raiders at Chargers ( -8, 41.5 ), Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET – CBS
The looming question for the Denver Broncos heading into the 2017 season revolves around the quarterback position. Denver has one of the few true quarterback battles in the NFL that means something. The Broncos won the Super Bowl two seasons ago despite poor quarterback play and won nine games last year even though two inexperienced quarterbacks shared the duties. Whether Paxton Lynch or Trevor Siemian gets the job, the team will be a playoff contender provided that both don’t take a step back. Continue
The clock has officially started on the Alex Smith era in Kansas City. The Chiefs traded up to select Pat Mahomes in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft and it’s only a matter of time before he gets a shot under center. Smith hasn’t been bad during his time in Kansas City, but the Chiefs believe that they need something more if they want to make the next step. They will get just that with Mahomes, who lit up Big 12 defenses with impunity. Continue
The Oakland Raiders were the team that had gone the longest without posting a winning record prior to last year, but it’s funny how fast things change. Oakland has gone from being considered an also-ran to one of the favorites in the AFC after finishing 12-4 under Jack Del Rio. The season ended with a thud after an injury to Derek Carr rendered this team ineffective in the Wild Card Round of the playoffs, but there is plenty of hope headlining into 2017. Continue
Whether the city wanted them or not, owner Dean Spanos decided to pick up the San Diego Chargers and move the team to Los Angeles. The Chargers didn’t have a fancy new stadium deal to goad them into moving and will have to play in an MLS stadium out in Carson for the next three seasons. With a capacity of only 27,000, it will be the smallest stadium in the NFL and playing there will relegate the Chargers to second-team status in the City of Angels. Continue
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