The AFC West is home to two of the three undefeated teams in the NFL, and appears to be a lot stronger of a division than people expected it to be through five games. The Denver Broncos and Kansas City Chiefs both sit at 5-0, while the Oakland Raiders and San Diego Chargers are both three games back, at 2-3.
The division appears to be a two horse race at this point, but Week 5 provided even more clarity about the state all four teams are currently in.
The Denver Broncos.
The team from the Mile High City escaped Dallas with a back and forth, track meet type victory, 51-48, over the Dallas Cowboys. Denver survived a career game from Tony Romo and escaped a tough road test to remain unbeaten. With the Chiefs winning their early game in Tennessee, the pressure was on the Broncos to keep pace. Defensively, it wasn’t pretty, but a late interception by Danny Trevathan salvaged the day and allowed the team to escape with a victory. Offensively, Peyton Manning and Co. looked as unstoppable as ever.
The San Diego Chargers.
In their first two losses of 2013, the theme for the Chargers was “oh, what could have been.” Late Sunday night against the Oakland Raiders, the feeling more was “what the heck just happened?” San Diego played an incredibly sloppy game, turning the ball over five times, and trailing 17-0 before mounting a bit of a late comeback that ultimately came up short. The biggest takeaway from the 27-17 loss to the Raiders was mainly that it feels like we’re in for the same old Chargers in 2013. A team that will be maddening to watch, and lucky to finish above .500.
- The Broncos defense was beat up badly on Sunday. Losing Robert Ayers, Wesley Woodyard and Chris Harris Jr. at some point or another in the game against Dallas. It’s not an excuse, but maybe a bit of an explanation for the 48 points the team gave up.
- The Kansas City Chiefs leading receiver, Donnie Avery, suffered a shoulder contusion against the Titans, but x-rays were negative and the injury doesn’t appear to be serious.
- Running back Rashad Jenning was the lone Oakland injury, tweaking a hamstring and missing the second half against the Chargers. With Darren McFadden already out and Marcel Reece banged up, this isn’t good news for the Raiders running game.
- San Diego Chargers running back Ryan Matthews suffered a concussion against Oakland and could miss some time.
Tweet of the Weekend
This is a crazy stat–In the last 3 games, the Broncos have punted a total of 3 times.
— Daniel Jeremiah (@MoveTheSticks) October 7, 2013
What It All Means
The Chiefs are a real threat to the Broncos to win the AFC West. The Broncos might have been the “big winners,” but Kansas City added another impressive tally to its victory total, escaping Tennessee with a nine point triumph. It’s a shame Denver and KC don’t meet until Week 11, but at the same time, having both match ups late in the season will create a lot of compelling drama down the stretch in the battle for the AFC West crown, and potential No. 1 seed in the playoffs.
Denver gets the lowly Jaguars at home, while Kansas City and Oakland match up at Arrowhead Stadium. The Chargers welcome the red-hot Colts to San Diego on Monday Night Football.