The Oakland Raiders dropped an important game Sunday, but the season isn't over yet. At 6-7 the Silver and Black are still in the hunt, but have to make up some ground this Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys.
While the team fell in Week 14, other teams in the division rose to the occasion and walked away with a victory. The Kansas City Chiefs and the Los Angeles Chargers are set to collide this weekend, although the Denver Broncos' postseason hopes have officially been shut down.
All that and more in this week's edition of the AFC West Update.
As I write this, it's hard not to smile when I think about the fact the Broncos have officially been eliminated from the playoffs.
NFL analysts wondered whether the level of talent at the quarterback position would be a cause for concern, and at this point I think it's fair to say that it has indeed been the team's biggest downfall. President of Football Operations/General Manager John Elway and Head Coach Vance Joseph have been searching for an answer all season, yet their trio of quarterbacks haven't been able to get the job done.
Between Trevor Siemian, Paxton Lynch, and Brock Osweiler, the group has combined for 15 touchdowns, and 18 interceptions. Offensively the unit ranks 22nd in total yards, as they're averaging 312.1 per game.
With the season essentially already over for Denver, the team's focus will most likely shift to the 2018 NFL Draft, as they begin their assessment of the team's current roster in the coming weeks.
Tonight on Thursday Night Football, the Broncos will travel to Indianapolis to face the Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium; kickoff is at 5:25 p.m. PST.
Kansas City Chiefs
Sunday's loss hurt.
Plain and simple, the Raiders didn't execute in Kansas City, which is why the team now finds itself with a record of 6-7. The Chiefs' win over the Silver and Black increased their chances of making the postseason, but if they want to keep the ball rolling, they'll need to knock off the Los Angeles Chargers this Sunday.
Entering the Chiefs' Week 14 divisional showdown with the Raiders, the team was riding a four-game losing streak, but snapped it with their 26-15 win. After going scoreless for nine weeks, rookie running back Kareem Hunt found the end zone Sunday, and eclipsed 100 yards rushing for the first time since Week 5. The former University of Toledo Rocket was a force to be reckoned with in the early stages of the season, and was making a strong case for offensive rookie of the year. If he can use this past week to get going, it could mean bad news for the Bolts.
When these two collide on Sunday you better believe a lot of people will be watching.
Kickoff is at Saturday at 5:30 p.m. PST.
Los Angeles Chargers
It's rare a team starts the season 0-4, and then manages to work their way back into the playoff picture, but that's just what the Chargers have done.
Not only are the Bolts back in postseason contention, but they're riding a four-game winning streak, and are looking like one of the stronger teams in the AFC. The team currently has the No. 10 defense in the league, as they're allowing just 325.1 yards per game. With the pass rushing combo of linebacker Melvin Ingram and defensive end Joey Bosa – Bosa is ranked fifth in sacks this season with 11.5 – it's hard for offenses to do much of anything.
The Chargers also boast one of the best secondaries in the NFL, allowing just 200.3 passing yards per game. Cornerback Casey Hayward has been impactful this season notching four interceptions, 19 passes defensed, and 35 tackles. According to Pro Football Focus, Hayward is the No. 1 graded cornerback this season, with an impressive grade of 97.0 – the next closest is Jacksonville Jaguar Jalen Ramsey at 94.1.
As mentioned previously, this weekend's game between the Chiefs and Chargers is a big one, and it could go either way.