After a thrilling Thursday night divisional game, the road to the Super Bowl looks like it goes through the AFC West.
The Chiefs must win their remaining games
The Kansas City Chiefs have already clinched a spot in the playoffs. If they hope to make it to the Super Bowl for the first time in almost 50 years, they will need to hold on to home field advantage.
As good as they have been this season, their weaknesses are there for everyone to see and the playoffs have a way of magnifying them.
The fact is the Chiefs will have the worst defense of any team in the playoffs.
Of course they might also have the best offense but it’s hard to imagine going on a long playoff run knowing your defense can’t stop anybody.
If you look at the teams considered to be Super Bowl favorites, they are all teams based around great offenses with excellent quarterback play. The Chiefs have both of those and then some. They can go blow for blow with any offense in the NFL as they showed in a tough loss to the Patriots earlier this season.
In that game in New England they scored 40 points on the road and lost. In the playoffs no matter who they are matched up with, they will be facing an offense that can put up points. They barely beat the Ravens at home last week and that’s likely to be the worst offense in the AFC playoffs.
The road to the Super Bowl is simple for the Chiefs, score as much as possible so that you put your opponents in obvious passing situations. That’s where their defense does excel. They can get to opposing QB’s and be extremely disruptive.
Combine that with one of the best home field advantages in the NFL and you have a recipe for success.
Chargers can take home field but not really
The San Diego Chargers have one of the strangest situations in sports.
They don’t have a home field advantage.
They play in Los Angeles but their fans are from San Diego. Not only that but because they now play in Los Angeles, a city of transplants where a lot of the residence moved there from somewhere else, the away team always has more fans than they do.
It also doesn’t help that they don’t even play in an NFL stadium. They get to play their games in a venue made for soccer that is so small it actually makes it easier for them to be outnumbered by opposing fans. In a way the Rams have a similar issue except their stadium is so big the away section doesn’t seem as dominant.
What this all means is that even if the Chargers manage to overtake the Chiefs for home field advantage, they will have it in name only.
Honestly that’s just fine with the Chargers.
If anything this means that they aren’t going into hostile environments. It’s not like they have no fans of their own at these home games. Their fans do come out and will probably make an extra effort to show up and support this team.
From the Chargers point of view, not having to go play in New England, Kansas City or Baltimore in January is already a win for them.
The Chargers won’t have a real home field advantage but what they will have is a real shot at making it back to the Super Bowl for the first time since 1995.