Playing for second place already?

Well, the 2013 Chiefs season was nice while it lasted. But with the way Peyton Manning and the Broncos played in Thursday night’s season opening win over Baltimore, isn’t it time to look ahead to 2014?

It already feels after the Broncos ran past the defending Super Bowl champion that the Chiefs are playing for second place in their division. Kansas City’s season doesn’t start until Sunday, when they play the Jaguars in Jacksonville.

But has anything really changed after Denver’s blowout victory? Who realistically believed the Chiefs, 2-14 last season, were going to gain the 11 games they needed to catch the 13-3 Broncos in this year’s standings?

Seemed like this year was all about a wild-card spot for the Chiefs anyway. If they can somehow win the division, all the better. But a more realistic goal for a team that possessed the overall number one pick in the draft was just to get to the postseason no matter the method.

If that’s the case, Thursday night’s result might have been a good one for all the AFC teams chasing a wild-card berth. Baltimore is now chasing the pack.

As for the Broncos, the Chiefs don’t see them for more than two months. The teams play Nov. 17 in Denver and again Dec. 1 at Arrowhead Stadium. Who knows what the standings will look like then?

Even if the Chiefs are well behind the Broncos by then, their season is doomed only if they’re trailing the AFC’s other wild-card contenders.