Oakland Raiders fans in the Black Hole end zone cheer during the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at O.co Coliseum. (Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-US PRESSWIRE)

AFC West: Breakdown

The only team to play from the AFC West in week 7 was the Oakland Raiders. The Denver Broncos are the clear front-runners in the division while the San Diego Chargers had to clean up one heck of a sticky mess during their bye week. The Kansas City Chiefs, meanwhile, had some time to figure out how to get their second win of the season. Let’s take a look at what happened and what’s to come in week 8.

Denver Broncos (3-3):

Looking Back: The bye came at the perfect time for the Broncos. Some teams have the bye too early like in week 4 and that leaves them 12 games without a break. Other teams have it in week 11 which produces a lot of wear and tear on the body early on, and doesn’t leave them any gas for the playoff push. The Broncos’ bye comes in nearly in the middle of the season, and it comes after the toughest part of their schedule. After the bye the Broncos face teams with a combined record of 18-28.

Looking Forward: The Broncos host the New Orleans Saints (2-4) on Sunday Night Football. Their record may not scream ‘legitimate contender,’ but the Saints have put two wins in a row together after losing their first four. Not only that, but they’re putting up 29.3 points per game. Interim head coach Joe Vitt ended his six-game suspension and resumes duties with the team just in time for this game. That should help the Saints’ defense who is giving up 30.3 points per game. The Broncos have had plenty of time to prepare for this team, so expect a well-played game out of them.

Kansas City Chiefs (1-5): 

Looking Back: The Chiefs had enough time during the bye to evaluate their quarterbacks and they have determined that Brady Quinn gives them the best chance to win moving forward. The decision was not made due to any lingering effects from Matt Cassel’s concussion Quinn went 22-for-38 for 180 yards and 2 interceptions in his first start in three years during the team’s week six contest against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. 

Looking Forward: The Chiefs get to stay home as they host the Raiders in week 8. Oakland is coming off of a 26-23 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars in overtime. The Chiefs have only played one division game thus far, a 37-20 loss to the Chargers. Hopefully, Dwayne Bowe is a little more happy with the Chiefs’ decision to go with Quinn. Bowe reportedly wants to leave the Chiefs. If the Chiefs hope to win any more games this year, they have to get their turnovers under control.

Oakland Raiders (2-4):

Looking Back: It wasn’t pretty, but a win is a win. The Raiders overtime win against the Jaguars was highlighted by Sebastian Janikowski’s 40-yard field goal after the Jags fumbled on the first possession in overtime. Carson Palmer went 36-for-46 for 298 yards with one passing touchdown, one rushing touchdown, and one interception. The Raiders had three turnovers on the day, but forced the Jags to go 1-for-15 on third down. Chad Henne replaced Blaine Gabbert due to injury, and the Jags lost Maurice Jones-Drew early on to a foot injury. The cards were stacked against the Jags, and still, the Raiders nearly lost. Darren McFadden had just 53 yards on 19 carries

Looking Forward: The only people keeping two eyes on this will be Raiders fans and Chiefs fans. Broncos fans and Chargers fan will keep one eye on this outcome. The Raiders and the Chiefs have won three games combined, and both teams have a shaky quarterback situation. If I had to put money down on this one, aside from betting on the over for turnovers, I’d pick Oakland to win only because they put up such a great fight against the Atlanta Falcons in week 6.

San Diego Chargers (3-3):

Looking Back: The Chargers bye week grabbed many headlines with their team spokesperson writing an article addressed to the team’s fans titled ‘Take a Chill Pill’ and starting with ‘What’s with you people?’ Looks like Norv Turner isn’t the only one feeling the heat. This comes after the fact that the only way you could buy a ticket to the Chargers v. Broncos Monday night game was to purchase a ticket for the Chargers v. Chiefs game in November. Chill Pills and tickets sells aside, now the Chargers are being investigated by the NFL for allegedly using a banned sticky substance in the team’s loss to the Broncos. Even though the Chargers gave up 35 unanswered points before their bye, I’m sure they’re ready to get back to action on the field.

Looking Forward: If there’s one way to regroup, it’s to play the 1-6 Cleveland Browns. Philip Rivers should have no problem tearing up the Browns defense, which is giving up 25.7 points per game and 276.9 passing yards per game. No NFL game is a day at the beach, but this is a great game for the Chargers to re-charge and get their fans interested in the action again.

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