Then there were two.
One team, the Kansas City Chiefs, is led by a dominant defense and a blue-collar offense. The other team, the Denver Broncos, is led by certain future Hall of Famer Peyton Manning and a receiving corps affectionately dubbed the "Weapons of Pass Destruction."
While, stylistically, both teams are as near opposites as two teams could be, they both, coincidentally enough, hail from the AFC West. The AFC West was widely lauded as the worst division in football only a year ago, and, on paper, was thought to have been mediocre at best, save the Broncos, this season.
Lo, how the on-field product often differs from the babbling of pundits.
As the Chiefs stand, simultaneously tied atop their division and the NFL, and with a penultimate showdown with the Broncos looming, it will be important for them to stay focused, and as the old cliché goes..."take it one game at a time."
After all, you don't have to be the best team in the nation, merely the best team in the stadium, that day.
Kansas City Chiefs
As previously noted, Kansas City sits atop the division, tied with Denver, though how both got there is a study in opposites.
The Broncos currently pace the league, averaging over 44 points per game scored, where the Chiefs have stymied every opponent they've faced, holding them under their season scoring averages. The Chiefs are allowing just under 11 points per game to be scored on them.
The Chiefs will need that defensive gain in Week 7, against a Houston Texans team that is gaining the seventh-most (395.7) yards on offense in the NFL. The Texans are also allowing the fewest yards in the NFL (252.8), but they have 12 more turnovers than their opponents, good for second-worst in the NFL.
Kansas City will have the benefit of a home crowd that is known to be raucous, setting the decibel record for an outdoor stadium in Week 6 against the Raiders. The crowd noise, which was so loud players often couldn't hear the referees' whistles, clearly bothered Oakland and led to several penalties on the Raiders offense.
The Kansas City Chiefs dealt with a plethora of injuries in Week 6. Tight end Anthony Fasano is still dealing with a lingering knee issue, both he and starting cornerback Brandon Flowers were inactive in Week 6.
During the game, Dontari Poe tweaked his recurring ankle injury, though he came back in the game later and appeared to be fine. The biggest question is starting left tackle Brandon Albert, who is nursing both knee and elbow injuries. Albert went down twice against the Raiders, so his week of practice will bear close watching.
The Houston Texans have dealt with injuries of their own. Quarterback Matt Schaub went down with an ankle injury in the third quarter of Week 6's game against the St. Louis Rams. A decision on whether or not Schaub can play against the Chiefs will be made later in the week; the Texans are preparing both T.J. Yates and Case Keenum in the interim.
Schaub wasn't the only Texan injured Sunday. Safety Daniel Manning suffered a "significant knee injury" as well, according to a report by Will Grubb of SportsRadio 610. Manning is expected to be out and would have Shiloh Keo stepping up to take his place.
Elsewhere, star defensive lineman J.J. Watt has been dealing with a nose injury, wide receiver Andre Johnson has been hobbled by an issue with his shin, and running back Arian Foster has a dinged thumb, though all are expected to play.
What Must Improve
For the Kansas City Chiefs, the answer to this query is extremely simple. The Chiefs must improve on offense. In nearly every facet of the game, Kansas City is behind the curve on offense. The offensive line is often manhandled in pass protection and struggles to create space in the interior run game.
The wide receivers have shown a lack of ability to separate, and when they do, quarterback Alex Smith is consistently throwing the ball high.
Jamaal Charles has been the lone consistent bright spot on the Kansas City offense, but one has to wonder, with the use he's getting, if and when the wheels will come off. Can Charles sustain the heavy use if the Chiefs are to make a deep playoff run? Kansas City needs to get rookie running back Knile Davis involved and on track and soon.
Someone needs to step up from the receiving corps as well. Outside of Dwayne Bowe, the entirety of the Kansas City receiving corps combined for four receptions on 10 targets for 24 total yards and a fumble. In a game where the Chiefs had 10 sacks, forced four turnovers and held their opponents to seven points, the game wasn't firmly decided until late in the fourth quarter.
That's an unacceptable offensive performance against a middling team in the Raiders.
The Texans, while their record may not indicate it, are a much tougher team. The Texans have the seventh-best yardage offense in the NFL, and on defense, they are allowing even less yardage per game than the vaunted Chiefs defense.
Kansas City must be more efficient on third down and in the red zone. The Chiefs come away with punts and field goals far too often for a defense of this caliber. The defense and special teams units are scoring 45 percent of the team's point total, a number that simply isn't sustainable long-term.
Bottom line: The offense improves, or this team will begin to falter.