Which AFC West team to cheer for, which to cheer against

For the Miami Dolphins to make the playoffs they’ll need a little help from the NFL to take down the AFC West.

First off, let’s look at the remaining schedules for the Oakland Raiders, Denver Broncos, and Kansas City Chiefs.  We can safely exclude the San Diego Chargers from conversation – right now – as they sit with a 4-6 record.

Oakland Raiders

  • Week 11 11/21  vs.  TEXANS
  • Week 12 11/27  vs.  PANTHERS
  • Week 13 12/4  vs.  BILLS
  • Week 14 12/8  @CHIEFS
  • Week 15 12/18  @CHARGERS
  • Week 16 12/24  vs.  COLTS
  • Week 17 1/1  @BRONCOS

Denver Broncos

  • Week 12 12/27  vs.  CHIEFS
  • Week 13 12/4  @JAGUARS
  • Week 14 12/11  @ TITANS
  • Week 15 12/18  vs.  PATRIOTS
  • Week 16 12/25  @CHIEFS
  • Week 17 1/1  vs.  RAIDERS

Kansas City Chiefs

  • Week 11 11/20  vs.  BUCCANEERS
  • Week 12 11/27  @  BRONCOS
  • Week 13 12/4  @  FALCONS
  • Week 14 12/8  vs.  RAIDERS
  • Week 15 12/18  vs. TITANS
  • Week 16 12/25  vs.  BRONCOS
  • Week 17 1/1  @ CHARGERS

All three teams currently have seven wins and three-or-less losses at this point in the season.  It’s a surprise to some but many knew the AFC West would be one of the toughest divisions this year.  If it wasn’t for a couple late-game collapses the Chargers could be right in the thick of things for a AFC Wild Card berth, too.

The Raiders are one of the hottest teams in the league right now with a 7-2 record.  Looking at their record, however, there are tough games from now until the week 17 showdown with the Broncos.  I’m tipping my hat to Oakland right now as the favorites to win the AFC West.

Denver may be Miami’s main competition for a 6th and final wild card spot.  While they have their bye week this week, they have a schedule that includes two trips to the East coast.  Don’t be surprised to see them stick around after their showdown with the Jacksonville Jaguars as they face the Tennessee Titans the following week.

Speaking of the Jaguars that may be a trap game for the Broncos with the surging Titans the following week.  Young Trevor Siemian continues to do just enough to win but it won’t last all season with the carousel at running back.

Last but not least the Kansas City Chiefs, currently 7-2 and first in the AFC West, may actually have the toughest road ahead.  They face two teams that currently has a sub-.500 record but one of those is the Chargers whom almost beat them in week one.

The hardest part for Kansas City is durability; Alex Smith is getting knocked around as is Spencer Ware, both enduring concussions in recent weeks.  The Raiders just had their bye week and the Broncos have their this week.

The Chiefs?  They had their bye in week five.  12 straight games to end a season is an eternity in the NFL.

The Chiefs/Broncos matchups will be the games Dolphins fans will want to watch.  If Kansas City wins both of those then that puts Denver at five losses on the year.  Throw in the trap game with Jacksonville and Miami could be on the brink of the 6th and final wild card spot.

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