7 Days to Denver: Rooting for the Chargers

Photo: Geoff Bruke USA Today Sports

It's hard to admit for Chiefs fans rooting for a team within your division not in red can be a difficult admission. But that's exactly what KC fans are going to do on Sunday when the San Diego Chargers host the Denver Broncos.

With eight games left in their respective seasons the Kansas City Chiefs, San Diego Chargers and Denver Broncos will play half of their remaining games against each other. Technically the boys in red have seven games because of this weekends Bye.

That aside, Chiefs fans are going to plop in front of their television sets today and tune into watch the Chargers Broncos contest. At stake is the breathing room Kansas City, may or may not have, in next Sunday Night's AFC West showdown against Denver.

With a one and a half game lead over Denver, the Broncos face a must win on the road at San Diego. If they lose, they'll be two games behind the Chiefs and next weekends prime time tilt takes on an even bigger challenge for Denver.

Should Denver spank the Chargers today (as most people suspect they will) then the Chiefs lead would shrink to a single game. Either way it's a big game for all three franchises. The Chargers, who sit 4-4 on the year, still have a wild card shot. Further, when you consider they play five of their last eight games at home, you would think they'd seize this opportunity today.

The Chargers are the best up and down team in the NFL. They've played virtually the same schedule as the Chiefs to date but don't have a winning record. At times, they've been brilliant but other moments they've looked dazed and confused.

The Broncos will head into this match with an interim head coach, Jack Del Rio, on the sidelines. Denver is coming off their bye week and that's been good news for Quarterback, Peyton Manning

He had been nursing a pair of sprained ankles and that's something to watch for today. Manning has no mobility and it'll be interesting to see what he does when he's flushed from the pocket. Still this game might not come down to his sore ankles but the absence of their leader on the sidelines, John Fox.

It's going to be weeks before Fox returns to the sidelines and there is no telling how the impact of that loss will effect the Broncos the next month. The Chargers on the flip end of this contest are facing a must win game. If they lose today, they'll fall to 4-5 and for all practical purposes knock themselves out of the playoff race.

The Chargers, with four games left against the division leaders, will likely determine the winner of the AFC West. They are the tough match up for both Denver and Kansas City. Offensively under the guidance of Quarterback, Phillip Rivers, and armed with the best offensive line in the division, he could carve up both the Broncos and Chiefs secondaries that have each struggled recently.

Then again both the Chiefs and Broncos have the offensive weapons to negate their offensive prowess based on the Chargers less than stellar defense.

However you slice this three way AFC West pie, these teams have a singular commonality, they knew each other very well.

With that knowledge in hand and the outcome to be decided on Sunday, all the Chiefs players can do is come to work Monday morning knowing they have a one or two game advantage on Denver. Either way they still have to play the game next Sunday Night and it will be on that night (not this weekend) that ultimately validates the Chiefs undefeated start.

But for Chiefs fans, who will be glued to their TV sets in what they hope will be a game in the fourth quarter, can revel in the fact the pressure this weekend falls squarely on the helmets of the Chargers and Broncos players.

So who wins on Sunday? That's a good question. My gut tells me the Broncos by ten points but my heart says San Diego by three points.

Can the Chargers upset the Broncos?

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