As we all know, Denver leads the AFC West. With a loss against Cleveland, every team in the AFC West would have had a losing record. Here's what I'm driving at.
While Denver can get in the playoffs by leading the division, it is critical that they win the division. If SD can somehow creep up on Denver and take the division, Denver has almost zero chance for a playoff appearance as a wildcard.
Here's the current Division leaders (in order of ranking):
- TENN (ACS)
- PITT (ACN)
- BUF (ACE)
- DEN (ACW)
The current Wild Card Teams (by NFL Tie Break) are:
Let's say SD catches us. We are now in a race for a wildcard position. In such a case, 3 teams have a better record than us in that race (we are at .556; BAL, NE, and NYJ all are at .625. Worse, NE owns the head to head against us).
In other words, we drop from 4th seed in the playoffs out of six seeds, to 8th place (2 teams out of the playoff picture). Additionaly, two teams (MIA and JAX) would be close enough to our record to beat us with a head to head tie break.
Bottom line: Denver must stay ahead of SD to make the playoffs. If they do this, they play against a wild card team in the first round, but it's a home game. If SD slips past us, we likely don't come anywhere close to a playoff berth.
Need some added incentive? Pork Chop Bill Williamson, anti-Bronco "writer" for ESPN just wrote a piece about why the Chargers will win our division. He doesn't seem to internalize the fact that Denver has the better record (even before the Thursday night victory over CLE), and that Denver has already beaten SD once. Sure we have mutiple injuries, but even so we STILL have a better record than SD.
And no; Pork Chop doesn't get a link to his ridiculous story.
By the way, while the odds are very much against the Chiefs, and we don't like 'em, find it in your blue and orange hearts to cheer for KC to beat SD this week. It would help Denver a lot, and I'll bet most of us dislike SD much more than KC anyway.