AFC West Report: Disaster in Tampa Bay

Even with a bad loss from the play of very bad defense in Tampa Bay the Chiefs can play catch up to the West leaders this weekend if they can beat the New Orleans Saints on the road. Kansas City still does control their own destiny with five games left against the AFC West and three against the division leaders.

The bad news for the Chiefs is that hopes of a wild card seem to be out of the question at least for now unless some of their AFC brethren begin to collapse. A win this weekend in New Orleans and the Chiefs will be two games back of the Denver Broncos and the San Diego Chargers who share the AFC West lead. Winning the division may be the Chiefs only hope for a playoff birth but that scenario despite their 3-5 record is not out of the question if the Chiefs can get on a roll and stay on it.

Points weren't the problem in Tampa Bay last weekend; Brian Griese was a royal pain for Kansas City. The former Bronco quarterback now seemingly a journeyman led the Buccaneers in a breakout game on offense and the Chiefs defense was exploited once again. Even though the offense was in position to at least tie the game the force overtime before Trent Green was sacked twice at end the game, the defense never should have put the offense in that predicament in the first place failing to stop Tampa's offense drive after drive.

Although the Chiefs defense will show up from time to time they show enough inconsistencies that will find it difficult for them to make it deep in the playoffs much less win the division. The scary thing for the Chiefs, in hopes of winning the division, is that Denver and San Diego both have high-flying offenses with consistent week-to-week defenses. Kansas City can only put that ingredient together every other game or so.

The Chiefs are getting the New Orleans Saints at the right time. After being embarrassed last week in San Diego the 3-5 Saints return home looking at a large deficit to make up if they hope to win their division. Although the Saints are putting up some points their defense has been ripped apart by NFL offenses. The game in the Superdome looks like it could be another high scoring week for the Chiefs.

As badly as the Raiders have been getting ripped lately it's not good that the Chiefs only have a half game lead over them for last in the division. The Raiders won against a bad Carolina team last weekend improving their record to 3-6. Oakland has the bye this week along with the other division leaders so at best for them they can be in a tie for last with the Chiefs.

With a win by the Jets this weekend they would move to 7-2 and either the Chargers or Broncos at 6-3 are the current wildcards. After that it starts to get a little interesting. Jacksonville, Baltimore and then Houston are still the next in line if the Chiefs can get a win this weekend. Jacksonville at 5-3 and Houston at 4-4 both hold the head to head tiebreaker against Kansas City. The Chiefs hold the tiebreaker over Baltimore who also sits at 5-3.

If any good news comes out of the playoff picture for Kansas City it may be that it looks like Jets quarterback Chad Pennington and Jacksonville quarterback Byron Leftwich both look to miss multiple games because of injury and that could bring them back to the pack.

The bottom line is that if last week was not a must win, which every game is a must win, then this weekend is definitely a must win for the Chiefs. A loss will slip them to the back of the division and there will not be enough football left to get a wild card. The division will be far out of reach as well but at least Kansas City still has the divisional meetings twice with San Diego and home against Denver.


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