Well, not really. That's a terribly overused term.
I believe a "must win game" is just that, a win or go home game.
I'm using it as a metaphor, not literally.
In all honesty, in the beginning of the season if you were told the Chiefs would be 5-3 after eight games, would you have voted yes for that? My guess is that most fans would have jumped all over it.
Now they head into Denver. This is a team that has struggled of late; more precisely, they've stunk up two continents.
That means nothing heading into this game and we all know it and both teams know it. This is another division game, on the road, so all bets are off.
Here we go again, just like the Oakland game.
The outcome of this game makes a big difference in how the Chiefs stand after the game.
If they lose, they're 5-4, tied with Oakland for the division lead. Technically, they would be behind the Raiders because of their loss to them, but that doesn't matter at this point in the season.
If they win, they're 6-3. That sure looks better, doesn't it? That would also make them 2-1 in the division, instead of 1-2, which is also important with the Raiders at 3-0.
The Chargers are terrible; Phillip Rivers, however, is not. Right now, he is far and away the best quarterback in the NFL. No QB is carrying a team like he is. They have had five punts blocked. The rest of the NFL, combined: five blocked punts.
The Chargers are not going away, the Raiders are not going away and neither are the Chiefs.
The Chiefs are what we thought they would be: They are a young and growing team. They are being built to succeed for a long time, which they will. They have an excellent core of young talent and an excellent coaching staff.
Most importantly, it is supported by management and the owner.
It is unrealistic to think this is a Super Bowl contending team right now. They can, however, compete for the division this year.
This game may have something to say about that.
The Raiders and Chargers are both off. The Broncos, win or lose, are done. They have problems much deeper than their win-loss record.
Logically, it would appear that the Chiefs have the advantage in that schedule, followed by the Chargers.
If the Chiefs go home at 6-3, they have a very realistic chance of being 7-3. The Raiders, on the other hand, have a very realistic chance of falling to 5-5 and the Chargers also have a very good chance of ending up at 5-5.
If this plays out, then all hell will break loose in Denver because that would put them at 2-8.
The scenario I just laid out is not crazy talk. It's all very reasonable.
That by no means guarantees it will happen, as we've seen how erratic the NFL has been this year. Still, it is not insanity that I'm proposing.
If, however, the Chiefs fail to take care of their business in Denver, everything changes quite dramatically.
This is a big part of that growing process for this Chief team. We will know they are turning that corner when they can win big games on the road.
Division games always count as big games, regardless of the opponents' record.
Obviously, they have been competitive. They are close to turning that corner.
Now we'll see if they learned some lessons from their loss in Oakland and can improve upon them in Denver.
If so, they should win.
If they repeat their mistakes, they will likely end up with another loss.
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