The Kansas City Chiefs have absolutely dominated the AFC West in recent years. Kansas City has won the AFC West seven years in a row, which is by far the longest division streak in the NFL. Meanwhile, the LA Chargers have not won the division since 2009.
A lot of NFL pundits thought that 2022 was going to be the year that the Chargers shocked the world. Instead, the Chiefs won the division and subsequently won the Super Bowl. This was a reminder of how dominant the Chiefs are and have slowed the hype around the Chargers in 2023.
While it is still more likely than not that the Chiefs will win the division, there are certainly some reasons to be optimistic. The Chargers are still fighting an uphill battle but the Bolts finally getting the best of the Chiefs might not be as big of a stretch as some think.
3 reasons the Chargers can shock the Chiefs by winning the AFC West:
1. Chris Jones' contract situation isn't doing KC any favors
Chris Jones has been undergoing contract disputes with the Kansas City Chiefs that will ultimately bleed into the 2023 season. Jones himself said that he might not play until Week 8, which would be a huge loss for the Chiefs.
Not only would the Chargers benefit from not having to face Jones in the first matchup between the two teams, the Bolts would also benefit from the Chiefs having to play half a season without their best player on defense.
Kansas City still has talent on the defensive side of the ball but Jones very much is the glue piece that it holding it all together. Without him, the Chiefs pass rush and run defense take a big hit. Kansas City has to play some explosive offenses early in the year and not having Jones could be the difference.
It is going to be a lot tougher to beat the Chargers, Lions, Jaguars, Jets and Vikings without Jones. All of those teams face the Chiefs in the first eight weeks of the season.