How each team can win the AFC West: Chiefs can’t afford more missteps, Chargers must get hot ASAP, and more

Usually, by now, the Kansas City Chiefs would’ve already established themselves as the cream of the AFC West crop, and the Las Vegas Raiders, Los Angeles Chargers and Denver Broncos would all be simply scrapping over who lands the No. 2 seat in the division. It’s been a wild-and-crazy 2021 season, though, and that’s seen Patrick Mahomes play uncharacteristic football before seemingly finding more of his mojo as of late, and that’s given all of his division rivals a very real shot at dethroning him. 

There are currently no teams in the AFC West under the .500 mark, and none more than two games over it, setting the stage for an electric finish in what is usually a predictable division. The only question now is, with the Chiefs having strung together wins over the past three weeks and the Raiders unable to stop them from reacquiring the top spot at the moment, who shall be the team worthy enough to take down the usually almighty Mahomes?

As the calendar speeds toward December, it’s all up for grabs in the AFC West.

Chiefs (6-4)

This iteration of the Chiefs isn’t accustomed to the level of adversity faced at the start of this season — losing two of their first three games and three of their first five. Many of their struggles have stemmed from former league MVP Patrick Mahomes racking up interceptions at an alarming rate, and while not all of them are accountable to him, most are. It appears they’ve righted the ship, however, and downing the Raiders at Allegiant Stadium in Week 10 to extend their current win streak puts them atop the division with no sharesies. That’s where they’d like to stay, but the other three AFC West teams are still breathing down their neck.

Mahomes and the Chiefs can’t afford many more missteps over the remainder of the season, but they’ll get no relief schedule-wise, with a heavyweight fight heading their way in Week 11 by way of the Dallas Cowboys. They’ll go into their…

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