DENVER FALLS TO SAN DIEGO
Peyton Manning threw a crucial fourth quarter interception and Ryan Mathews rushed for 127 yards and a touchdown in the Chargers 27-20 win Thursday night. The win keeps the Chiefs small hopes for a division title alive and changes KC possible playoff opponents.
With an 11-3 record, Kansas City can tie the Broncos for first place with a win over Oakland on Sunday. Denver owns the tie-breaker due to two head-to-head wins and a better divisional record, the Chiefs will need Denver to lose another game while KC wins out. Denver dropping a game to either Houston or Oakland on the road seems unlikely but neither did losing to San Diego at home.
The bigger impact here is that Denver may fall to the two seed in the AFC with New England being the one seed if they win out. This means that if the Chiefs won their first round game of the playoffs and the six seed lost, then the Chiefs would avoid having to play Denver in the second round and would instead play New England on the road. It is obviously a “pick your poison” type of situation on whether one would rather play New England or Denver on the road – Tom Brady or Peyton Manning – but the Patriots would seem to be a better matchup for the Chiefs than Broncos given New England’s injury issues and sputtering offense without Rob Gronkowski.
There’s still a lot of football left to be played, but this is an interesting development in the AFC.
Kansas City had two player not practice on Thursday: Dexter McCluster, who is battling an ankle issue, and Branden Albert, who has a hyperextended knee. Albert missed the Washington game due to his knee injury, while McCluster is a new arrival on the injured list. Each player’s game status for Sunday is unknown.
For the second straight day Anthony Fasano and Justin Houston participated in practice on a limited basis. Fasano is recovering from a concussion suffered against Denver and Houston is coming back from an elbow injury suffered three weeks ago against San Diego. This is around the timetable that both players were expected to potentially be back. Houston is practicing with a huge brace on his arm. It may be a good idea to sit both of them for another week as both of them will be key to any kind of playoff run in January.
Kansas City is 6-2 in their last eight trips to Oakland but they have lost two of the last three matchups on the road. KC is also 4-8 against the Raiders in their last 12 games including the Chiefs 24-7 win two months ago.