Assessing Broncos' chances to win AFC West, can they actually pull it off?

Suddenly, the Denver Broncos are well within striking distance of the Kansas City Chiefs.

Kansas City Chiefs v Denver Broncos
Kansas City Chiefs v Denver Broncos / Justin Tafoya/GettyImages
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Denver Broncos, Detroit Lions
Dec 12, 2021; Denver, Colorado, USA; Denver Broncos defensive end Dre'Mont Jones (93) sacks Detroit / Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Remaining Schedule

This certainly seems like a two-horse race as both the Chargers and Lions have played their way out of things at this point. Those two teams are not good but they can still play spoiler to either the Broncos or the Chiefs.

The Broncos and Chiefs have split the season series this season but where the Chiefs will own the tiebreaker over Denver, at least currently, is with a better win-loss record within the division. Here are the remaining schedules for each team.

Denver Broncos

Opponent

Opponent Current Record

Week 15

at Detroit Lions

9-4

Week 16

vs. New England Patriots

3-10

Week 17

vs. Los Angeles Chargers

5-8

Week 18

at Las Vegas Raiders

5-8

Kansas City Chiefs

Opponent

Opponent Current Record

Week 15

at New England Patriots

3-10

Week 16

vs. Las Vegas Raiders

5-8

Week 17

vs. Cincinnati

7-6

Week 18

at Los Angeles Chargers

5-8

With the Broncos trailing the Chiefs by one game in the standings and with having one more loss than they do within the division, the margin for error for the Broncos is going to be quite low, despite the fact that it seems these two teams are going in opposite directions.

It's interesting to note that both teams play similar opponents and you would have to imagine that both teams will beat the Patriots and likely get wins over both the Chargers and Raiders.

That makes the key games this week for the Broncos against the Lions on the road and in Week 17 for the Chiefs at home against the Bengals. Even if the Broncos beat the Lions and the Chiefs lost to the Bengals, Kansas City would still win the division based on having the better divisional record.

The Broncos would need the Chiefs to suffer an upset against either the Raiders or Chargers to have a chance to win the division while likely winning all of the rest of their games. Though it doesn't appear this way, because the Chiefs have the better divisional record, it's more like having a two-game lead over the Broncos rather than a one-game lead.