By: Justin Kim
AFC West – Week 3 Standings
- Denver Broncos (2-0)
- Oakland Raiders (2-1)
- Kansas City Chiefs (1-2)
- San Diego Chargers (1-2)
The State of the AFC West: Week 3
1. Broncos Win, But We’re Still Not Sold on Peyton Manning:Embed from Getty Images
The Denver Broncos are at the top of the AFC West at 3-0, but yet again, all focus was on Peyton Manning and whether he would throw for more than 20 yards this week. As the media has made well aware, Manning has not been the spectacular quarterback that we have grown accustomed to seeing throughout the years. It is true that Manning can no longer throw deep balls down the field with the same force and velocity as he did in the past but nonetheless, he does not have to, nor should he, because the Broncos are going to be just fine. The Broncos defense has proven to be extremely formidable, forcing multiple turnovers, and causing two crucial interceptions this week that allowed Manning to manufacture drives in short-field situations. Thus, with this type of defense, whom would you rather have as the quarterback of your team? Manning might not always get you the necessary fantasy points for your fantasy team, but you can always count on number 18 to always give your team a real chance of winning a real game when it matters most.
2. The Rise of the Oakland Raiders:Embed from Getty Images
The Oakland Raiders are gaining headlines after an impressive performance on the road this week against the Cleveland Browns. No one can deny that the Raiders now possess legitimate talent on both sides of the football. The Raiders defense presents its first round draft pick, Khalil Mack, and with the quiet additions of all-pro caliber players, Malcolm Smith, Aldon Smith and Justin Tuck, are showing some signs of becoming a dominant defense in the NFL. Also an honorable mention, Raiders rookie wide receiver Amari Cooper is coming into form after hauling 8 receptions for 134 yards in a key matchup against top cornerback Joe Haden. Although Raiders fan should be cautious to place any playoff aspirations to this team just yet, a win against a struggling Chicago Bears team would put the Raiders at 3-1. The Raiders have not started 3-1 since 2002, the year the Raiders lost to former coach Jon Gruden and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the Superbowl XXXVII. Also, there is something to really be excited about: the Raiders had only one penalty in Week 3 of the regular reason.
3. Kansas City Chiefs Look Like the Same Old Kansas City Chiefs:Embed from Getty Images
There is nothing new about the Kansas City Chiefs this week. Although the franchise finally broke their 21 game streak of having no touchdowns by a wide receiver on Monday night, not surprisingly, the Chiefs stayed true to their run game and ended their week 3 loss with two late Jamaal Charles rushing touchdowns. Nonetheless, the Chiefs have proven throughout the years that they can win games with their run-first philosophy. The real issue Chiefs have isn’t about winning close games, but whether the Chiefs can adjust with this type of offense to situations where game might call for a shoot-out. Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers offense on Monday night clearly demonstrated that, as of now, the Chiefs have no answer to this dilemma.
4. Philip Rivers and the Chargers Offense Struggling:Embed from Getty Images
The San Diego Chargers suffered a crushing 31-14 loss against the Minnesota Vikings, which is the reason the Chargers are currently last in this week’s AFC West rankings. As of now, the Chargers offensive line has not produced an efficient run game, while first round draft pick Melvin Gordon has yet to rush over a 100 yards. Philip Rivers, their only consistent weapon on offense, and who in the offseason agreed to a four-year $85 million extension, was sacked 12 times. The Chargers, while known for their perennial slow starts, might not be so lucky in competing for a playoff spot this year. There is now more credible competition among the division as the Raiders are now looking as if they can finally turn things around.