Denver Broncos still alive in AFC West race, catching up to the Chiefs

Can the Broncos pass the Chiefs in the division?
Denver Broncos v Los Angeles Chargers
Denver Broncos v Los Angeles Chargers / Harry How/GettyImages

The Denver Broncos are just one game behind the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC West race. Could the Broncos continue this second-half charge and take the division? The Chiefs have won the division each year since 2016. And in 2023, this might be the most vulnerable they've been since beginning that streak.

The Chiefs raced out to a 6-1 start in 2023, but since then, they've dropped four of their last six and sit at a shaky 8-5 record. The Chiefs are holding onto the third seed in the AFC right now, but the top seed in the AFC seems way gone at this point. I wouldn't be surprised if KC jumped up to the two seed, but at this point, they need to be worrying about the Denver Broncos breathing down their necks.

Denver has gone 6-1 in their last seven games and are 7-6 on the season. They dug themselves a 1-5 hole to begin the year, and given how well they have played recently, their current record might be a bit misleading. Even though the Chiefs have the better record, I bet opposing teams would hate to face the Broncos more than the Chiefs.

Patrick Mahomes
Buffalo Bills v Kansas City Chiefs / David Eulitt/GettyImages

Denver has to face Detroit, New England, LA Chargers and Las Vegas to end the 2023 season. I think a 3-1 finish is pretty likely, but it's not impossible for Denver to sweep the rest of their teams and get to 11-6. Kansas City has to face New England, Las Vegas, Cincinnati, and LA Chargers with their last four games.

Both Denver and KC have identical schedules left besides one matchup. That might make it a bit hard for Denver to pass up the Chiefs, but man, the momentum surely belongs to the Broncos right now. QB Patrick Mahomes is having the least-efficient year of his career. His career-low passer rating of 93.3 is five points lower than Russell Wilson's at 98.3.

I understand that statistics don't tell the entire story, but statistically speaking, Russell Wilson is having a stronger year than Patrick Mahomes. The young and inexperienced Chiefs' receivers are really hurting the team, and the Chiefs' second-half offense is among the worst in the NFL. Right now, the AFC West went from the Chiefs winning it without a doubt to them being on shaky ground and at risk of being passed up by the surging Denver Broncos in 2023.