The San Diego Chargers beat the Denver Broncos 27-20 Thursday night and in doing so, gave the Kansas City Chiefs a slim, faint, glimmer of hope that they still could capture an AFC West title. The key word in the previous statement is “slim”.
But in the immortal words of Lloyd Christmas (Jim Carrey) in the movie “Dumb and Dumber” when told that his chances of getting together with the beautiful – and married – Mary Swanson (Lauren Holly) was “one in a million” … “So, you’re telling me there’s a chance … YEAH!!!!”
Playing in front of the hostile and vocal Denver home crowd, the Chargers did what no one else has been able to do all year long, control the ball and put the historically-potent Broncos offense in neutral for most of the night. The 20 points Denver scored was their season low. Their previous low for the season was the 27 they scored against Kansas City in Denver last month.
The loss dropped the Broncos season record to 11-3 and the three losses tie Denver with the Chiefs and the New England Patriots, who both stand at 10-3. The Chiefs travel out west to play the Oakland Raiders on Sunday while the Patriots head down to sunny Miami to play the Dolphins. Both the Chiefs and Patriots are favored to win on the road.
The Broncos hold the tie-breaker against the Chiefs for the AFC West title due to sweeping the two-game series earlier this year. The Chiefs would have to finish with a better record than Denver to win the division.
That means the Chiefs would have to win their last three games against Oakland Sunday, against Indianapolis at Arrowhead next week, and at San Diego to close out the season, while the Broncos would have to lose one of their last two games. Unfortunately for KC, the Broncos play the Houston Texans (currently the worst team in the NFL who has already fired their coach) and the Raiders. The two teams have a combined record of 6-20.
The most likely scenario is that Denver will win the AFC West, but could drop to the #2 seed in the AFC playoffs behind New England. The Patriots beat Denver in a memorable Sunday night games three weeks ago, 34-31 in overtime. In that game, the Broncos jumped out to a 24-0 lead but could not stop Tom Brady and the Pats in the second half as they rallied to win.
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