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Just Like That, the Chiefs Control Their Own Destiny in the AFC West

Despite some early struggles, things are beginning to look up for the Chiefs.

Three weeks ago, the Kansas City Chiefs held a 3-4 record and appeared to be heading down a dark path in regards to their 2021 season. Now, in the middle of November, the team is 6-4 and riding a three-game winning streak. Things are looking up.

In the process of beating the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 10, the Chiefs made a statement. Their defensive improvements appear to be legitimate, and their offense is capable of playing an effective and efficient brand of football. Kansas City is starting the second half of the season right, and it's a testament to Andy Reid's team being able to fight through the adversity it faced early on.

In one game, the Chiefs went from not having a spot in the "if the season ended today" AFC playoff bracket to being the No. 4 seed. They went from being tied for last place in the AFC West to having sole possession of first place in the division. They went from somewhat of an afterthought to a possible playoff contender. Mark Van Sickle of Arrowhead Report joined me on today's Roughing the Kicker podcast to talk about how important the Chiefs' win truly was, as well as what's still in store. 

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This week, the Chiefs are preparing for an out-of-conference battle as they're set to host the visiting Dallas Cowboys. At 7-2, Dallas is one of the best teams in the NFL and boasts a playmaking defense and a star-studded offense. This will prove to be arguably the Chiefs' biggest test to date, coming immediately after what was a huge challenge in facing the Raiders. The week following the Cowboys game, the Chiefs have their bye. Then the real season begins.

Coming out of their bye, the Chiefs have three games in a row against AFC West opponents. Those games, in order, come against the Denver Broncos, the Raiders and the Los Angeles Chargers. If the Chiefs can take care of business in those three games, it will put them firmly in a good position to win the AFC West. If they struggle in those contests, it could force them to scrap for a wild card spot or miss the postseason altogether. Other games are certainly important, but those three stand out the most.

Other potentially challenging outings remain against possible playoff hopefuls such as the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cincinnati Bengals but after next week, the meat and potatoes of the Chiefs' remaining schedule remain within the division. If they do what they're supposed to do there, they'll be in good shape in the AFC West — and possibly the AFC in general. That's a massive improvement over the position they were in about a month ago. 

Read More: Four Takeaways From the Chiefs' 41-14 Win Over the Raiders