The Oakland Raiders were officially eliminated from playoff contention last weekend, as they fell to the Philadelphia Eagles 19-10. This is a tough blow for a team that had high expectations prior to the start of the 2017 campaign, but the team's 6-9 record is a reflection of what they've earned. Three weeks ago, the Silver and Black were tied for first in the AFC West with the Kansas City Chiefs and the Los Angeles Chargers, but all three teams have gone in different directions.
With the final week of the regular season upon us, let's break down what's going on in the division.
Not to toot my own horn, but my bold prediction at the beginning of the season was that the Broncos would finish the year at the bottom of the AFC West, and it's a real possibility that could happen. In the team's regular season finale, they'll go toe-to-toe with the Kansas City Chiefs, who are riding a three-game winning streak.
In Week 16, the Broncos traveled to our nation's capital for a showdown on the gridiron with the Washington Redskins. Once again, Denver's offense wasn't able to do much of anything, putting up a total of 11 points. The Broncos have failed to score more than 20 points ten times this season, and while many believe their defense can continue to perform at an elite level, addressing the issues on offense will be a focal point this offseason.
Kansas City Chiefs
It's Patrick Mahomes time ladies and gentlemen.
The rookie quarterback out of Texas Tech will be under center this weekend when the Chiefs travel to Sports Authority Field at Mile High to face the division rival Broncos. This will be Mahomes' first career start in the NFL, and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't interested to see how this plays out. For the time being, Alex Smith is the Chiefs signal-caller, but the future could belong to the former Red Raider.
Mahomes was known as a gunslinger in college, airing it out, and heaving long balls for his receivers to go up and get. In his junior season, No. 15 totaled an absurd 5,052 passing yards with 41 touchdowns, and 10 interceptions. It'll be tough for him to do that against a Broncos defense that has been known to give quarterbacks fits over the years.
We'll see if Mahomes can pull off the "W" this Sunday; kickoff is at 1:25 p.m. PST.
Los Angeles Chargers
When the Bolts host the Raiders this Sunday at StubHub Center in Carson, Calif., their season will be on the line. The Chargers are still in the hunt for a spot in the playoffs, but will need to win this weekend if they have any hope of accomplishing that goal. It's no secret the Raiders will try to run the ball down the Chargers throat given they own the worst run defense in the league, allowing 132.9 rushing yards per game, and considering running back Marshawn Lynch has been on a tear recently.
As always, limiting Chargers pass rushers Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram will be imperative in order to keep Derek Carr composed in the pocket. As is the case whenever these two teams meet, I fully expect a massive turn out of Raider fans in Southern California.
Don't miss the game, the action starts at 1:25 p.m. PST.