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AFC West Enters Stretch Run



Who Has The Schedule Advantage?
Three of the four teams in the AFC West are in the thick of the playoff race as we head into the stretch run.  I took a look at the remaining schedules for each, and took a look at the W/L records of the opponents for each.  Let's take a look --

SAN DIEGO CHARGERS(8-2)

Oakland     - 2-8

@ Buffalo   - 4-6

Denver      - 7-3

Kansas City - 6-4

@ Seattle   - 6-4

Arizona     - 2-8

Opponents Record(27-33)

The Chargers have the easiest road to the Division Title, record wise at least.  They are also the only tema remaininig to have more home games than road games remainig(4/2).  They do have to go to Buffalo in December, which is never easy, and will head to Seattle when the Seahawks figure to be healthy.  They face each team in the division one more time, but each of those is at home.  San Diego would have to have one of those Marty Schottenheimer blow up games to choke away the title.


DENVER BRONCOS(7-3)

@ Kansas City  - 6-4

Seattle        - 6-4

@ San Diego    - 8-2

@ Arizona      - 2-8

Cincinnati     - 5-5

San Francisco  - 5-5

Opponents Record(32-28)

The Broncos, on the other hand, have a bit harder time coming down the stretch.  Three of the next four games are one the road, and even that game against Arizona could get interesting given the talent the Cards have on offense.  When they faced each other in the pre-season Matt Leinart had a great first half throwing the football.  Kansas City is as tough as it comes to winning on the road and figures to be even tougher with the Thanksgiving Day primetime debut games on the NFL Network.  Even the game against the Seahawks will be a dog fight since it has been moved to Sunday Night.  The 49'ers are a surprise .500 team, though I don't think we'll have much trouble with them.  The one game on the schedule that may determine whether or not we get to the playoffs is the Cincinnato game on Christmas Eve.  The Bengals play the vertical passing style of offense that we have struggled with this season, and their defense plays a ball-hawking style.  If they are still in the playoff hunt that could be a dangerous game.  Face it, if the Broncos aren't careful they could be on the outside looking in.


KANSAS CITY CHIEFS(6-4)

Denver       - 7-3

@ Cleveland  - 3-7

Baltimore    - 8-2

@ San Diego  - 8-2

@ Oakland    - 2-8

Jacksonville - 6-4

Opponents Record(34-26)

The Chiefs have the toughest road, record wise wise and in reality.  The Chiefs needed a last minute drive to knock off the Raiders at home so you figure that game might be tough, and the trip to Cleveland will be no gimme with the Browns playing much better since the change at Offensive Coordinator.  The obvious key to the rest of their season is the two games against 8-2 Baltimore and 8-2 San Diego.  The Chiefs already knocked the Chargers off once this season so they'll have confidence when they head to Southern California, but a loss to the Broncos on Thurday could put them in a hole they can't get out of.  The finale against Jacksonville could determine the final playoff spot, and could have a big impact on the Broncos as well.