AFC West: Only One Way to the Playoffs- Chiefs or Broncos

John BartramCorrespondent IIOctober 19, 2010

DENVER - JANUARY 03:  Linebacker Derrick Johnson #56 of the Kansas City Chiefs intercepts a pass by Kyle Orton of the Denver Broncos and returns it 45 yards for a touchdown to give the Chiefs a 27-17 lead in the third quarter during NFL action at Invesco Field at Mile High on January 3, 2010 in Denver, Colorado. Johnson returned two Orton interceptions for touchdowns in the game as the Chiefs defeated the Broncos 44-24.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Let's be honest, the AFC West is not the shining light of the NFL.  In fact, at the moment, it's by far the worst division in the league.

I'm going to go out on a limb and proclaim, here and now, there will be no wild card coming from this division.  I know that's quite a bold prediction.

I have another prediction, that is less tenable.

The San Diego Chargers have a "must-win" game on Sunday against New England.  If they lose, and fall to 2-5, you can stick a fork in them.

We all know anything can, and has, happened.  I am no more or less of an expert than the "experts."  It's simply based on logic. 

The Kansas City Chiefs and Denver Broncos will not allow them to just reel off enough wins to roll to top of the division as they have in past years.  Will not happen.  In fact, the Raiders have already gotten in their way.

The Jets are 5-1, the Patriots are 4-1 and the Dolphins are 3-3.  The Steelers are 4-1 and the Ravens are 4-2.  In the AFC South, everyone except the Jaguars are 4-2, and they're 3-3.

It would take a colossal turn of events in every division, especially the AFC West, to even humor yourself by thinking that anything other than a division champ is coming out of this division.

That is one of the reasons I believe this week's game is a must-win for the Chargers.  Falling to 2-5, having already lost to the Chiefs and Raiders, combined with their difficult schedule, makes it unreasonable at best to think they have a shot.

Do not think for one minute the Patriots will go quietly into the San Diego sunset.  They have no room to play with—none.  They will have to battle all year for the division or a wild card.  They will play every game as if it's the most important one of the season.

Obviously the Chiefs have the inside track simply based on math. It would have been great to win at least one of the last two games, but it didn't happen.  They have only one more win than everyone else, but only two losses compared to four. 

Any team in the AFC West that can get to 11 wins should have it locked up.  More likely, it will come down to 10, in which case it will be a fight between Kansas City and Denver.  A tiebreaker will probably be the deciding factor.