AP Photo/Julie Jacobson

This is a fairy tale that happens in the Midwest and on the Western Coast.

It centers on a group called the particular Chiefs, and how these were headed toward greatness, then dropped down the rabbit hole.

And a group called the particular Chargers, who climbed out of that hole. And the Raiders , who keep digging openings for themselves, yet have surfaced.

There’s also this rainbow, at the end of that is a silver trophy all three covet.

Well, that’s really going above where this trio might be effective at traveling.

The not-so-magical land these people live in is called the AFC Western. It was projected to be very Oz-like heading into the 2017 NFL time of year. Now, it looks more like the gravel-strewn back road than any kind of yellow brick variety leading to the flashy palace.

Mediocrity, or even worse, will do that to you.

Kansas Town, Oakland and Los Angeles are linked at 6-6. There are enough head-to-head matchups over the next few weeks to allow them to settle the division crown on their own.

Or, a team such group as the Jets – who defeat the Chiefs 38-31 Sunday and then play at Denver and have UNA on Christmas Eve – might be a factor.

Regardless, the ride might get even bumpier, and it’s unlikely a lot more than the division winner will make this to January.

CHIEFS

The powerful bunch that upended New Britain and Philadelphia – merely the very best two teams in the NFL meant for much of the schedule – within September and began 5-0 offers hit the skids. Kansas Town rediscovered its big-play offense contrary to the Jets, but the defense sprung all sorts of holes. It’s gotten so poor that Andy Reid’s team offers fallen twice in the New Jersey Meadowlands in three weeks, and jooxie is not talking Joe Namath’s Aircraft or Lawrence Taylor’s Giants.

Plus KC completely self-destructed with a number of penalties in the red zone late within Sunday’s loss.

“We definitely aren’t show frustration, ” wide recipient Tyreek Hill said, “because whenever we do, it’ll definitely get the best of all of us. ”

Which it is. The once-stingy secondary has lost its advantage, with even its surest include guys and tacklers looking careless and making terrible decisions. The powerhouse running game has gone smooth. Reid’s play-calling had stagnated and gave up those duties against the Aircraft; at least that worked with Matt Nagy handling such duties.

“You simply continue to fight and try to win a game title, ” quarterback Alex Smith mentioned. “We’ve been in some close types a bunch here lately and have emerge on the wrong side. Keep battling and try to find a way. We know we have a few big division games coming up, therefore you have to assess this and get prepared. ”

Immediately.

RAIDERS

In a few years, they are going to live in Las Vegas. This year, the Raiders are rolling some sevens.

The four-game slide in which the offense vanished, particularly when quarterback Derek Carr had been sidelined, didn’t ruin their possibilities. When the Chiefs came back to the package, Carr got healthy and the timetable got a bit easier.

In Sunday’s win over the Giants, Oakland captured a break because spiraling New York experienced benched its only proven QB, Eli Manning. So even with out its top two receivers : Michael Crabtree was suspended, Amari Cooper was hurt – Oakland had enough.

The Raiders perform at the Chiefs on Thursday night time and finish at the Chargers.

“You have to stay the course, inch Carr said. “There’s a lot of difficulty that happens every season. You wish you can just go out and win all of them and do it in a good way. That will just hasn’t been our road this season. It’s been a little bit more difficult, a lot of this because of ourselves. But we’re in times where all of our goals are correct in front of us. ”

CHARGERS

Whenever they were 0-4, unable to fill a little soccer stadium they are calling house, the Chargers were a having a laugh stock. Look who is chuckling right now.

“No one ever flinched, inch coach Anthony Lynn said. “At 0-4, we still had a large amount of football left, and that’s how coming from always looked at it. To be in it doesn’t surprise me at all, mainly because guys have worked hard and they’re devoted to the process. They never stopped assuming. ”

The Bolts haven’t defeated a team that has a winning report, but that won’t matter much when they keep storming through the weaker competitors. They don’t have anyone above. five hundred on their remaining schedule.

There’s experienced leadership thanks to Philip Rivers plus Antonio Gates. There’s a watch-out bags duo of Joey Bosa plus Melvin Ingram. And there’s an expanding confidence.

“If you had told all of us when we started with an 0-4 report that we would be where we are today, people would say you’re insane, ” cornerback Casey Hayward mentioned. “I think we are headed within the right direction. We can win this particular quarter of the season and be within the playoffs. We have a chance to make some sound. ”

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