Chiefs Have Turned A Corner

If the Green Bay Packers want to replicate the overtime success they experienced in Denver Monday night, they'll need to play their best game of the season this weekend against the Chiefs.

They might just be running into a buzzsaw in Kansas City.

Brett Favre is getting all the love right now, and so not many are giving the Chiefs the props they deserve for their place atop the AFC West.

That will all change with a victory Sunday over the Packers. Nationally, the Chiefs are one of the league's best stories. They have won four of five games since starting the season 0-2, and they play five of their next seven at Arrowhead - all in November and December, when the Chiefs are dominant.

They've already shed the image of not being able to win on the road with impressive wins at San Diego and Oakland. These aren't the old Chiefs. This bunch is playing a brand of football that isn't flashy or all that exciting, but they're winning, and that's all that matters.

The Chiefs are not as talented as some of the other teams in the AFC, but they are a team.

They have an aging quarterback in Damon Huard, who's playing a Willie Roaf role of sorts. He keeps getting knocked down every week, but he'll make just enough plays to get the job done. When you watch him walk and see the pain he's in, it's remarkable that he's able to shut that out once the ball is snapped. He might be the toughest quarterback in the league right now.

On defense there's still some work to do, but the talent level and the cohesiveness of the unit is there, and they are capable of shutting down almost any offense - a great test looms in three weeks against the Indianapolis Colts.

But coaching is everything in the NFL where the regular season is concerned. The better the coaching staff, the more victories you get as a football team from September through December. The post season is altogether different, but we're not there yet.

Herm Edwards and his coaches have made strides on defense. The offense is still a work in progress, and it's a problem, but one that should not prevent the Chiefs from claiming and AFC West title.

What really matters is that the Chiefs are starting to define themselves as a team that can overcome obstacles and eliminate doubt with each victory.

Nobody expected the Chiefs to be anything but a cellar dweller this season, and some of the so-called national and local experts ticketed this team for failure after they went 0-2. Instead, they sit atop the division.

Because of that, Edwards is now on the radar for NFL Coach of the Year. There have been critics along the way, but there's no doubt he is the key component in KC's success this year – the Chiefs are on pace to revisit the playoffs.

But now the players on the roster will determine how far this team goes the second half of the season.

The Chiefs are in a unique division where only two teams will compete for the title - San Diego and Kansas City are at the top of the class. The Raiders are done and won't be spoiling the dance for anyone. The Broncos could be 0-7, but still have woes on both sides of the ball.

Thus this is a two-team race, and right now the Chiefs can seize control of the West by winning their five remaining home games. That would be nine wins – throw in another road victory, and 10-6 is enough to win the AFC West this year unless San Diego goes berserk.

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