Broncos, Chargers don't return the favor to second-place Chiefs

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- That gift the Kansas City Chiefs presented last week to its competitors for the AFC West championship? Well, the Denver Broncos and San Diego Chargers didn't return the favor on Sunday.

The Broncos and Chargers won close games at home and each picked up another half-game on the Chiefs, who lost to the Oakland Raiders on Thursday night. The Broncos are in first place at 8-3 with the Chiefs and Chargers tied for second at 7-4.

Much has to play out before the division race is decided. The Chiefs play against the Broncos on Sunday night and on Dec. 28 against the Chargers, with both games at Arrowhead Stadium. The Broncos also have to play against the Chargers in San Diego on Dec. 14.

Otherwise, the teams face difficult schedules. The Chiefs also have games remaining at Arizona and Pittsburgh and at home against Oakland. The Broncos will play in Cincinnati in the season's final Monday night game. The Chargers have a brutal finishing schedule that also includes games against the Ravens, Patriots and 49ers.

While it certainly looks for now like the Chiefs ruined any realistic chance of winning the division title by failing to beat the previously winless Raiders, the race figures to take some more unforeseen turns. The Chiefs are still in position to take advantage, as long as they don't have any more slip-ups similar to the one they had in Oakland.