The Kansas City Chiefs haven't had much success the past 5 years but it's not due to the division. The Chiefs, in the past five years, are a combined 18-12 against divisional opponents during the regular season. The Oakland Raiders are a big part of that, having won 9 of 10 in the last five years.
Let's take a look at the San Diego Chargers:
|Year||Game #1||Game #2|
||30-16 W||24-10 L|
||30-27 W||20-9 L|
||28-20 L||20-7 W|
||34-31 L||24-17 L|
||27-14 W||28-24 W|
We own an even 5-5 record against the Chargers from 2003-2007. Currently, we're 0-1against them for 2008. This is a key stat regarding the importance of playing a divisional rival tough. The Chargers have been an ascending team from 2004-2007 yet we were able to keep a .500 record against them while we struggled.
Now, let's look at the Oakland Raiders:
||Game #1||Game #2|
||12-10 W||20-17 L|
||17-13 W||20-9 W|
||23-17 W||27-23 W|
||34-27 W||31-30 W|
||17-10 W||27-24 W|
As you can see, the Chiefs dominated the Raiders from 2003-2007. We are sporting a .500 record against them this year, but prior to that we won 9 of 10 against our hated division rival. Judging by the Raiders' final record in each of those years, we are beating them precisely when we are supposed to.
Now, let's look at the Broncos:
|Year(Record)||Game #1||Game #2|
|2007 (7-9)||27-11 L||41-7 L|
|2006 (9-7)||9-6 L||19-10 W|
|2005 (13-3)||30-10 L||31-27 W|
|2004 (10-6)||34-24 L||45-17 W|
|2003 (10-6)||24-23 W||45-27L|
The Broncos nearly had a winning record in all 5 years but the Chiefs still managed to win a respectable 40% of their games against them.
So, let's wipe the excuse 'We haven't won because our division is so tough' excuse off the board. The Chiefs have essentially dominated the West winning 60% of their games from 2003-2007. The Chargers and Broncos have both been solid, playoff-caliber teams during this period and we won 9 of 20 games against them. The Raiders, on the other hand, were terrible and our .900 winning percentage against them demonstrates our ability to beat them when we should.
If we are going to become a perennial playoff team, then these are the kind of numbers we need to see from our divisional opponents. And, oh yeah, we have to beat those other 10 teams on our schedule more often, too.