What it means: The Chiefs are in good shape in the AFC West playoff race. Kansas City is now 9-5. If the Chiefs win their final two games of the regular season -- at home next week against Tennessee and on Jan. 2 against Oakland-- they will win the AFC West. If Kansas City wins next week and San Diego loses at Cincinnati, the Chiefs will win the division. Kansas City ended its regular-season road slate the right way. It is 3-5 on the road.
Tomorrow’s talker: Kansas City quarterback Matt Cassel is one of the top stories of the NFL on Sunday. He came back and led the Chiefs to a pivotal win 11 days after having an appendectomy. It wasn’t certain Cassel would play until Sunday morning. He was limited in practice all week. But Cassel gave Kansas City a much-needed spark and leadership as it bounced back from a 31-0 loss at San Diego last week.
Stepping it up: The Rams looked like they could run away from the Chiefs early. St. Louis scored field goals on its first two series and was cruising down the field at ease. But the Chiefs’ defense tightened and the offense woke up. Kansas City went on a pivotal 20-0 run that was sparked by a fourth-down conversion from its own 48-yard line early in the second quarter.
The answer: With just over four minutes remaining, the Rams showed their first signs of life since the first quarter by going down the field and scoring a touchdown to cut the deficit to 20-13. We had a ball game -- for a play. On the Chiefs’ next offensive play, running back Jamaal Charles ran for 80 yards to the Rams’ goal line. The Chiefs then punched it in to take a two-touchdown lead again.
What’s next: The Chiefs have to feel good. If they win their two final home games of the season, they will win the division. The Chiefs are 6-0 at home this season.