Denver Broncos fans holds signs in reference to San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers (17) (not pictured) during the third quarter of the game against the San Diego Chargers at Sports Authority Field. (Ron Chenoy-US PRESSWIRE)

AFC West Breakdown: Week 11


The Denver Broncos essentially wrapped up the division crown with a win over the San Diego Chargers while the Kansas City Chiefs and Oakland Raiders flushed the toilet on their season. Let’s take a look at the week that was, and what’s to come.

Denver Broncos (7-3):

Looking Back: Winners of five straight, the Broncos swept the Chargers for the first time since 2005. Peyton Manning continues to be the spark plug for this team on offense while Von Miller lights things up on defense. In the 30-23 win over the Chargers, Manning went 25-for-42 for 270 yards and three touchdowns. All three touchdowns went to different receivers. With his three sacks on Philip Rivers, Miller’s career total of 24.5 sacks are the 2nd highest total in NFL history through a player’s first 25 games of his career. The Broncos’ defense forced the Chargers to go 3-for-16 on third down. Along the way and dating back to the Cincinnati game, the Broncos stopped offenses on third down 26 straight times to set a league record. It was an impressive win over the Chargers once again with all three phases contributing.

Looking Forward: The Broncos certainly look forward to traveling to Arrowhead Stadium. The Chiefs are in the outhouse while head coach Romeo Crennel is in the dog house with fans. The Broncos lost Willis McGahee for 6-8 weeks with a torn MCL, but Ronnie Hillman and Lance Ball have been solid contributors all season. If they can continue with that production, things will remain open for Manning to run the show and help this team to home field advantage in the playoffs. Only two of the Broncos’ remaining opponents have winning records.

Kansas City Chiefs (1-9): 

Looking Back: A 28-6 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals saw the second coming and then going of Matt Cassel. Cassel was benched for the second time this season after going 8-for-16 for 93 yards. Brady Quinn didn’t fare much better going 9-for-14 for 95 yards. As a whole the Chiefs went 1-for-11 on third down. Jamaal Charles had 17 carries for 87 yards. The defense gave up 409 yards to the Bengals including 189 rushing yards. The only positive spin you can put on this Chiefs’ season is that they’ll be getting a high draft pick.

Looking Forward: The Chiefs host the hottest team in the league right now in the Broncos while their last win came in September.

Oakland Raiders (3-7):

Looking Back: The New Orleans Saints have won their last three games and pounded on the Raiders 38-17. It didn’t help that the Raiders were playing with an injured defense, and a replacement group that didn’t tackle. Carson Palmer went 22-for-40 for 312 yards with 2 touchdowns and 2 interceptions, one of which was run back for a score. Marcel Reece had 19 carries for 103 yards, but going 4-for-12 on third down and turning the ball over twice didn’t give the Raiders a chance to keep pace with the Saints’ high-powered offense. Reece also had 4 receptions for 90 yards.

Looking Forward: It’s the Raiders turn to travel to Cincinnati to take on the 5-5 Bengals. The Raiders have lost their last three games. Andy Dalton is leading a solid passing attack with A.J. Green who is the league’s 5th leading receiver.

San Diego Chargers (4-6):

Looking Back: It was the type of game where even Norv Turner and Philip Rivers complimented the Broncos for what they’ve put together. The Chargers came into Denver having won three straight, but the offense took too long to get going. The Chargers scored their first 9 points of the game off an Eric Weddle pick-6 and a safety. Rivers went 24-for-40 for 258 yards with 2 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. Danario Alexander was his main man with 7 catches for 96 yards and 2 touchdowns. It wasn’t until the end of the third quarter that the Chargers got their first touchdown.

Looking Forward: The Chargers head home, but they do so to host the 8-2 Baltimore Ravens. Joe Flacco should be able to perform well against the Chargers’ 19th ranked pass defense, but don’t expect a high scoring game out of this one. The Ravens are 9th in scoring defense while the Chargers are 13th. The Chargers are just playing for pride at this point.

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