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AFC West Watch: Chiefs’ recent trades have made Chargers favorites in division

KANSAS CITY, MO - DECEMBER 13: Cornerback Marcus Peters
KANSAS CITY, MO - DECEMBER 13: Cornerback Marcus Peters
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The Kansas City Chiefs have won the AFC West division in each of the last two seasons. However, recent trades may have shifted the balance of power over to southern California.

The Los Angeles Chargers missed the playoffs last season largely in part due to two ugly losses against the Chiefs. In both of those games, Alex Smith and Marcus Peters were big factors for Kansas City.

So far this offseason, the Chiefs have agreed to trade Smith to the Washington Redskins and to send Peters to the Los Angeles Rams. That can’t be anything but a good thing if you’re a Chargers fan.

Smith was efficient against the Bolts last season, throwing four touchdown passes without an interception in two games. In those same two games, Peters picked Rivers off three times. Yes, three times. In those games, the Chiefs outscored the Chargers 54-23.

Why the Chiefs made these trades is up for questioning, but the Chargers should be salivating over the idea of facing Patrick Mahomes next season while also being able to throw to Keenan Allen with Peters out of the way.

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The Chargers were close last season and with a great offseason, they could close that gap. The Chiefs have seemingly gotten worse by trading two of their best players. So, are the Chargers now the favorite to win the division?

Mahomes is a bit of an unknown. Obviously the Chiefs have confidence in him, enough confidence to trade away a guy who went 53-27 in five seasons with the team. But who is going to replace Peters? That could be tricky. In three seasons since the Chiefs made him the No. 18 overall pick of the draft, he’s had 19 interceptions and a Defensive Rookie of the Year Award. No matter who they put out there next season, that guy will have his hands full with Allen, one of the best receivers in football.

Chargers the early favorite. Best overall roster in the division. https://t.co/gF2xMbU7Nr

— Mike Clay (@MikeClayNFL) February 23, 2018

Division titles are usually not separated by much. It only takes one play in one game to decide which team takes the crown. Though this potential transfer of power didn’t take place on the field, it could certainly be the difference next season.

There may be a method to the apparent madness in the Chiefs’ recent decisions, but a hungry Chargers team should be ready to take advantage to win their first AFC West title since 2009.

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