Week 8: A Half-Time Assessment of the AFC West

By Justin Kim

AFC West Standings

  1. Denver Broncos (7-0)
  2. Oakland Raiders (4-3)
  3. Kansas City Chiefs (3-5)
  4. San Diego Chargers (2-6)
  1. Denver Broncos (7-0)
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The Denver Broncos, with an impressive win against an unbeaten Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers, now remain as one of four undefeated teams in the NFL. Peyton Manning had silenced his critics yet again as he executed another game plan to perfection against a stingy Green Bay defense. As usual, Manning picked apart a defense with his short, quick passes that led to the most masterful performance that a quarterback who didn’t throw a touchdown has ever had. Nonetheless, the Broncos proved once again that Manning does not need to throw for touchdowns to win games this season. The team’s defense is that good. Any defense that can limit Rodgers to 77 yards passing yards deserves to be praised. With a comfortable three game lead over the Raiders, the Broncos are not only the clear favorites to win the division, but avoiding major injury or catastrophe, is THE team to take Manning to yet another Super Bowl.

  1. Oakland Raiders (4-3)
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The Raiders will compete for playoff spot this season. The culture change has officially there. Raiders Nation has ordained Carr as their quarterback of the future. This defense, led by their ageless leader Charles Woodson, is now deserving of The Black Hole’s age-old reputation as one of the “scariest” places to play in the NFL. A win against not only a credible New York Jets team, but also one of the league’s best defenses, sufficiently validates these claims for good.

  1. Kansas City Chiefs (3-5)
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The Kansas City Chiefs scored 45 points this week, albeit against a struggling Lions team, to remain one game back of the Raiders in the division. It seems that the Chiefs are not completely out of the playoff picture just yet. However, while Charcandrick West rushed for 97 yards and a touchdown, the Chiefs do not seem too convincing of a playoff team without their star running back Jamaal Charles. Kansas City has always had a solid defense centered on all-pro veterans Justin Houston and Eric Berry. Also, Alex Smith has proven that he is a qualified quarterback because he does not turn the ball over. While the key to winning championships in the NFL is to have a great defense, the key to winning most regular season games is by having one’s stars step up and perform at various stages during the season. Unfortunately, the Chiefs just do not have enough star power to fuel their primarily run-based offense to get them through the second half of the season. Nonetheless, this team should make each game interesting, even against the toughest of opponents.

 

  1. San Diego Chargers (2-6)
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This Chargers team is not as bad as their record states. The team suffered yet another heartbreaking loss in the final seconds of the fourth quarter, as Justin Tucker made a clutch 39-yard field goal to win the game for Joe Flacco and the Ravens. Unfortunately, for San Diego, they could not afford to lose another close game. At this point in the Chargers season, there are no moral victories. While Philip Rivers threw for his franchise-record fifth consecutive 300-yard game, his performance was once again overshadowed by his unconvincing results. This particular game almost certainly eliminated this team’s playoff aspirations this season. As the contract with Qualcomm Stadium becomes more uncertain, this franchise is now left with an even longer season to decide the ultimate fate of the San Diego Chargers.

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