A Quick and Dirty guide to how the 2011 Kansas City Chiefs can make the Playoffs (and why it just might happen)
Let's face it, the AFC West isn't a great division this year. Only in this division will you find a team with no Quarterback sitting in first place, a team full of thugs and track stars nipping at their heals, a team running with second stringers at some of the most important positions not far behind, and an overrated group of never-were's sitting in the basement.
This isn't the AFC West of yore were 10-6 might not get you a wild-card spot. No, this is the new AFC West. In previous years, I would have thrown in the towel if we were sitting at 5-7, but this year? This year we have a chanceSo let's start out with the current state of the AFC West:
"The Jesus" Tebow has the Broncos in first place at a 7-5 record, 3-2 in the division
Palmer's resurrection in Oakland has them sitting at 7-5, but 2-2 in the division
Our bruised and battered Chiefs are 2 games back at 5-7, but also 2-2 in the division
Bringing up the rear is Rivers and the Chargers at 4-7, at 2-3 in the division
The remaining schedules for each team are as follows:
@ Green Bay
@ Kansas City
@ New York Jets
@ Jacksonville (tonight)
So where does that leave us? First and foremost, we don't have a lot of breathing room. Obviously, if the Raiders or Denver wins 3 of their 4 remaining games, we are done. Fortunately, we will have a say in 1 of those games for both teams. I'm also making the assumption that we are going to lose to Green Bay at home. I know anything is possible, but even in my drunk on kool-aid state, I'm trying to be somewhat reasonable.
In my best case scenario, we go 3-4 down the stretch, beating the Jets, Raiders (for the sweep) and in classic Chiefs vs. Broncos history, the winner of the last game wins the division.
The Broncos definitely have an edge in that 3 of their 4 final games are at home. But I feel that Denver is playing on borrowed time. They are a one-sided team, and once someone figures out how to expose them, it will be game over. Tebow just doesn't have the talents as a QB to be a pocket passer (at least he hasn't been able to show that in the past) Chicago could be just the defense to expose them. For the Chiefs to have a shot at the playoffs, the Broncos will have to lose 3 of their last 4 games (including the aforementioned game against us). Let's give the Broncos the Chicago game, but they lose down the stretch to New England, Buffalo and us.
The Raiders. Ugh. The best thing to happen to this team in the last 10 years is Jason Campbell getting hurt after Al Davis died. Had Davis been alive, I don't know Hugh Jackson would have been able to work that Palmer trade. Part of me really wants to see the Raiders make it to the AFC championship, only to see them implode but have to cough up another first rounder for Palmer... but I digress. The Raiders have a tough schedule. They travel to Wisconsin next week to face the Packers (ouch), and the following week the get the Lions, with Suh returning from a 2-game suspension. He's going to be pissed. By the time they play us, they may be on their emergency quarterback. I think the Raiders lose the next 3 (again, dream scenario with us winning 3 of 4), and then finish their season with a win against San Diego.
And finally, the perennial pre-season Superbowl champion Chargers. I don't think the Chargers are realistically in the mix at this point. They have Buffalo, Baltimore and Detroit in a 3 week span. They finish the season with Oakland. Even if they went 4-1 down the stretch, if that one loss is to the Raiders, they are out of the running with a 2-4 division record.
If everything played out that way, the Chiefs, Broncos and Raiders would all finish with 8-8 records. Kansas City would own the tie-breaker with a 4-2 divisional record, with Denver and Oakland finishing at 3-3. So there's the scenario. The door is still open, even if it is just cracked. It's the reason we signed Orton. It's the reason Haley plays the will he / won't he game. It's the reason I'm still all in this season.