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AFC Playoff Picture: Broncos playoff destiny becomes much clearer with Chiefs win over Raiders

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The Denver Broncos do not control their own destiny to win the AFC West, but it got a little less daunting with the Kansas City Chiefs win over the Oakland Raiders.

NFL: Denver Broncos at Jacksonville Jaguars Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

The Kansas City Chiefs gave the Denver Broncos a huge opportunity with their 21-13 victory over the Oakland Raiders on Thursday Night Football. They kept the AFC West within reach as Denver heads into its final four games of the season.

With a win over the Tennessee Titans, the Broncos will be one game back from both the Raiders and Chiefs. They will play both teams to close out the season and if Denver wins out it could get very interesting in the West.

AFC Playoff Picture

  1. New England Patriots (10-2)
  2. Kansas City Chiefs (10-3)
  3. Baltimore Ravens (7-5)
  4. Houston Texans (6-6)
  5. Oakland Raiders (10-3)
  6. Denver Broncos (8-4)

What needs to happen?

Winning out will not give the Broncos the AFC West crown. They do need to win out to have a shot, but they will also need the Chiefs to lose either to the Titans at home next week or the San Diego Chargers in the final week.

If that one thing happens, along with the Broncos winning their final four, Denver will win the AFC West for a sixth straight season.

It’s a daunting task, but never count out a reigning Super Bowl champion from getting on a win streak.

What about homefield?

This one is a bit harder. Not only would the above need to play out according to plan, but the New England Patriots would need to lose two of their final four games. One of those would be against the Broncos, obviously.

If all of those things happened, then the Broncos would end up with the #1 overall seed, with the Patriots getting the #2 seed. The Broncos would beat the Raiders out in a tiebreaker for the AFC West crown and the Chiefs would fall to the #6 seed.

Crazier things have happened and this scenario would rank way up there if it plays out that way.

All the Broncos themselves can do is win games. Focus on the next one and keep playing hard to win.

The door opened a bit with Thursday’s AFC West showdown, now they just need to keep pushing it further open with each passing week.