Around the AFC West: Where the Division Stands Now

How the division looks as the end of the regular season is approaching

With five regular season games remaining for the Denver Broncos (8-3), Kansas City Chiefs (7-4), San Diego Chargers (7-4) and Oakland Raiders (1-10), the AFC West is still up for grabs.

The biggest game of the season for all of these teams is always the next game, which for the Chiefs and Broncos is Sunday night at Arrowhead Stadium.

With playoff scenarios now flying around as we get later into the season, it should be noted that there are six non-division leaders in the AFC with a 6-5 record or better, and they are fighting for two wildcard spots.

Kansas City (7-4), Pittsburgh (7-4), Cleveland (7-4), Baltimore (6-4), San Diego (7-4) and Miami (6-5)

The Chiefs have already beaten two of those teams (San Diego, Miami) and have two left on the schedule: home against San Diego and on the road at Pittsburgh.

Let's take a closer look at the Chiefs.

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Kansas City Chiefs (7-4)

Despite the loss against the Raiders last week, the Chiefs still control their own playoff destiny.

A win on Sunday against the Broncos would go a long ways for the Chiefs in proving not only was the loss to the Raiders was an outlier, but also the chances of returning to the playoffs and possibly winning the AFC West division would be that much greater.

The Chiefs would need some help to win the division, which would mean another Broncos loss in addition to a Chiefs win on Sunday night.

After the Chiefs' last loss, which was also in the Bay Area (October 5, San Francisco - 22-17), they reeled off five straight wins. That would be helpful right now for their playoff chances.

The Chiefs' remaining schedule:

Sunday, November 30 – Denver Broncos (8-3)

Sunday, December 7 - @ Arizona Cardinals (9-2)

Sunday, December 14 – Oakland Raiders (1-10)

Sunday, December 21 - @ Pittsburgh Steelers (7-4)

Sunday, December 28 – San Diego Chargers (7-4)


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Denver Broncos (8-3)

With the 39-36 comeback victory over the Miami Dolphins on Sunday, the Broncos still control their own AFC West division destiny.

All three of the Broncos' losses this season have come on the road, a 26-20 overtime loss to the Seattle Seahawks on September 21, a 43-21 loss to the New England Patriots on Sunday, November 2, and finally, a 22-7 loss to the St. Louis Rams on November 16.

But the Chiefs are fully aware of the challenge the Broncos present, namely with quarterback Peyton Manning, who leads the NFL with 34 touchdown passes this season.

Manning is 10-1 in his career vs. the Chiefs and hasn't lost in five games since joining the Broncos.

The Broncos' remaining schedule:

Sunday, November 30 - @ Kansas City Chiefs (7-4)

Sunday, December 7 – Buffalo Bills (5-5)

Sunday, December 14 - @ San Diego Chargers (7-4)

Monday, December 22 - @ Cincinnati Bengals (7-3-1)

Sunday, December 28 – Oakland Raiders (1-10)


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San Diego Chargers (7-4)

After starting the season 5-1, the Chargers dropped three straight games to the Chiefs, Broncos and Dolphins.

Since that loss to the Dolphins, the Chargers have beaten the Raiders and Rams.

In the first six games of the season (5-1), quarterback Philip Rivers threw 15 touchdowns to just two interceptions. But in the last five games (2-3), Rivers has thrown seven touchdowns to seven interceptions.

With a brutal schedule ahead for the Chargers, they will have earned it coming into the final game of the regular season if they are still in the playoff race.

The Chargers' remaining schedule:

*Sunday, November 30 - @ Baltimore Ravens (6-4) *

Sunday, December 7 - New England Patriots (9-2)

Sunday, December 14 - Denver Broncos (8-3)

Saturday, December 20 - @ San Francisco 49ers (7-4)

Sunday, December 28 - @ Kansas City (7-4)


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Oakland Raiders (1-10)

The Oakland Raiders were mathematically eliminated from the playoffs a few weeks ago, but they've already shown the ability to play spoiler and seem to be playing inspired football right now.

With five of their 10 losses coming within a touchdown or less, especially against teams like the Patriots, Seahawks and Chargers, the Raiders could continue to make some noise down the stretch in the AFC West.

The Raiders' remaining schedule:

Sunday, November 30 - @ St. Louis Rams (4-7)

Sunday, December 7 - San Francisco 49ers (7-4)

Sunday, December 14 - @ Kansas City Chiefs (7-4)

Monday, December 22 - Buffalo Bills (5-5)

Sunday, December 28 - @ Denver Broncos (8-3)


*Below is the information you'll need to know in regards to NFL playoff tiebreakers as we get closer to the end of the regular season. *

To break a tie within the division:

Two Clubs

  1. Head-to-head (best won-lost-tied percentage in games between the clubs).
  2. Best won-lost-tied percentage in games played within the division.
  3. Best won-lost-tied percentage in common games.
  4. Best won-lost-tied percentage in games played within the conference.
  5. Strength of victory.
  6. Strength of schedule.
  7. Best combined ranking among conference teams in points scored and points allowed.
  8. Best combined ranking among all teams in points scored and points allowed.
  9. Best net points in common games.
  10. Best net points in all games.
  11. Best net touchdowns in all games.
  12. Coin toss

To break a tie for the Wildcard:

Two Clubs

  1. Head-to-head, if applicable.
  2. Best won-lost-tied percentage in games played within the conference.
  3. Best won-lost-tied percentage in common games, minimum of four.
  4. Strength of victory.
  5. Strength of schedule.
  6. Best combined ranking among conference teams in points scored and points allowed.
  7. Best combined ranking among all teams in points scored and points allowed.
  8. Best net points in conference games.
  9. Best net points in all games.
  10. Best net touchdowns in all games.
  11. Coin toss.

Three or More Clubs

(Note: If two clubs remain tied after third or other clubs are eliminated, tie breaker reverts to step 1 of applicable two-club format.)

  1. Apply division tie breaker to eliminate all but the highest ranked club in each division prior to proceeding to step 2. The original seeding within a division upon application of the division tie breaker remains the same for all subsequent applications of the procedure that are necessary to identify the two Wild-Card participants.
  2. Head-to-head sweep. (Applicable only if one club has defeated each of the others or if one club has lost to each of the others.)
  3. Best won-lost-tied percentage in games played within the conference.
  4. Best won-lost-tied percentage in common games, minimum of four.
  5. Strength of victory.
  6. Strength of schedule.
  7. Best combined ranking among conference teams in points scored and points allowed.
  8. Best combined ranking among all teams in points scored and points allowed.
  9. Best net points in conference games.
  10. Best net points in all games.
  11. Best net touchdowns in all games.
  12. Coin toss

When the first Wild-Card team has been identified, the procedure is repeated to name the second Wild-Card, i.e., eliminate all but the highest-ranked club in each division prior to proceeding to step 2. In situations where three or more teams from the same division are involved in the procedure, the original seeding of the teams remains the same for subsequent applications of the tie breaker if the top-ranked team in that division qualifies for a Wild-Card berth.

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