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News from Around the AFC West: Week 11

The Denver Broncos are surging, the Oakland Raiders are sputtering, and the Kansas City Chiefs are off in the corner with a crayon stuck up their nose.

"I must return to my home planet, my people need me"
"I must return to my home planet, my people need me"
Patrick Smith

Denver Broncos

Who's excited to face Peyton Manning and the Broncos yet again? Don't all raise your hands at once. Oh, I see someone has their hand up ... okay, who invited the #7 Elway jersey-wearing Donkey lover?

The Chargers and Broncos seem to be going opposite directions since their last meeting. The Chargers have lost 3 of their last 4 games (including that loss to the Broncos) and the Broncos are in the middle of a 4-game winning streak. In each of those 4 wins, the Broncos have managed to put up 30+ points on the scoreboard. Manning is gelling with his offense now, and they're looking ever scarier. Perfect time to face them, right?

San Diego comes into this game at 4-5, two games back from the 6-3 Broncos. Should the Chargers win, they'd be at .500 again and just one game back from the Broncos. If the Broncos win, you can just about kiss the Chargers' division championship hopes good-bye. 3 games back with 6 games to play is a tough hill to climb, and we can't count on another 2008-level epic collapse from the Broncos.

Denver easily dispatched Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers in a 36-14 blowout on Sunday. The only chink in the Denver armor right now seems to be fumbling issues for RB Willis McGahee and WR Demaryius Thomas. The Broncos are second in the league to only the Kansas City Chiefs for most fumbles lost. As a team, they've lost 12 (compared to the Chiefs' 15), and McGahee has lost 4 of those fumbles and Thomas has lost 3.

Funny how Ryan Mathews, who has half as many lost fumbles as Willis McGahee, is the one that gets the "perennial fumbler" label.

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Kansas City Chiefs

First the good news for fans of Kansas City: their streak of never holding a lead in a game is over! Six-and-a-half minutes into the first quarter, Jamaal Charles scored on a 12-yard touchdown run to give the Chiefs a 6-0 lead. The Chiefs would extend their lead to 10-0 before the Steelers were able to tie it up at 10 apiece just before halftime.

The game turned out to be much more competitive than many expected, and the Chiefs managed to force overtime as Ryan Succop nailed a 46-yard field goal right as time expired in the third quarter. What was probably most impressive with the Chiefs forcing overtime was the fact that on that final drive, the Matt Cassel was able to convert a 4th-and-15 with just 20 seconds left on the clock.

The Steelers would go on to prevail quickly in Overtime, dropping the Chiefs to 1-8.

Even though it was a loss, the Chiefs hung with the Steelers and it seemed like an even match throughout the game. So though the game ends up in the loss column for the Chiefs, they can also add one to the "Moral Victories" column.

With a 1-8 record, the fans have basically thrown in the towel and at this point are hoping the Chiefs end up with the #1 overall draft pick, which, as things stand now would happen. Things did get a bit interesting when rumors started circulating that our old friend Marty Schottenheimer flew to Kansas City to meet with Chiefs owner Clark Hunt. Those rumors proved false, but it was revealed that Marty had been in contact with the team and he has served the team as merely and advisor.

This week, the Chiefs host the Cincinnati Bengals, who are coming off a rather impressive win over the New York Giants. I sense 1-9 in the Chiefs near-future.

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Oakland Raiders

Two weeks ago, things were starting to look up in Oakland. At 3-4, the Raiders were tied with the Chargers for second place in the division, and just one game back from Broncos.

This week, things look a bit different.

The Raiders have lost to the Buccaneers and the Ravens, by scores of 42-32 and 55-20. That last game against the Ravens was especially demoralizing, seeing as how the 55 points scored by Baltimore is the most they've ever scored in franchise history. That sounds like the kind of record that would be set against the Chargers, does it not?

Oh, and that 55 points scored against the Raiders ties a franchise record. The original record was set back in 1981, by Dan Fouts and the San Diego Chargers.

In the loss to the Ravens, linebacker Travis Goethel tore his ACL and was placed on IR this week. To fill his roster spot, the Raiders signed veteran free agent LB Omar Gaither.

The Raiders head back home to lick their wounds and prepare to host the New Orleans Saints. It was a tough loss to the Ravens, but the good news for Oakland is that they have the easiest remaining schedule.

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