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AFC West Update: Competition Is Heating Up In The Division


The Oakland Raiders are back in the mix after defeating the Kansas City Chiefs on Thursday Night Football last week 31-30. In a thrilling finish, Raiders quarterback Derek Carr put up 417 passing yards, along with three touchdowns, and a rating of 101.2. Of those 417 yards, 210 of them went to wide receiver Amari Cooper, who added two touchdowns to his career-day. It was a productive day at the office for the team, no doubt, but there's plenty left to accomplish.

While the Raiders and Chiefs were locked in a division battle last weekend, so were the Denver Broncos and Los Angeles Chargers.

Let's take a look at what went down in this week's edition of the AFC West Update.


Denver Broncos

The Broncos offense has come to a screeching halt the past few weeks.

After putting up 24 and 42 points in their first two games of the season, the team has totaled 42 points in their last four games, and appear to be out of rhythm offensively. In a divisional matchup against the Los Angeles Chargers Sunday, the Broncos were shut out, and were only able to rack up 251 yards of offense.

Part of the reason the Denver was unable to gain any traction was because of Chargers edge defenders Melvin Ingram, and Joey Bosa, who totaled three sacks, and five tackles, with four of them being for loss. The pressure applied to Broncos quarterback forced him to fumble twice, and feel uncomfortable in the pocket all day. The former Northwestern Wildcat finished the outing with 207 passing yards, no touchdowns, and one interception.

The Orange Crush have dropped three of their last four games, and face another tough division rival next week when they travel to Kansas City and meet the Chiefs on the gridiron for Monday Night Football.


Kansas City Chiefs

The Chiefs came out of the gates hot this season, rattling off five wins in their first five games, but have since dropped their last two. At 5-2 the team still leads the division, and remains one of the better teams in the NFL, but if last Thursday's game showed us anything, it's that the Chiefs have some holes they need to fill.

In overall defense, Kansas City is giving up 396.3 yards per game, which ranks 29th in the league, and 271.7 of those yards are coming through the air, making them the 28th-ranked team against the pass. While the team has plenty of playmakers on defense like cornerback Marcus Peters, one has to wonder how greatly the loss of safety Eric Berry has affected the unit. We all know the five-time Pro Bowler and three-time First-Team All-Pro has done some significant things in his career, so not having him on the field from a production standpoint will obviously be noticeable, but his leadership is certainly irreplaceable.

Offensively, the Chiefs are having no problem putting points on the board, but if they want to succeed going forward they'll need to remedy the issues on defense.


Los Angeles Chargers

It was a rough beginning to the season for the newest members of the Los Angeles sports community, as they kicked off the 2017 campaign with a 0-4 start. The winless month of football caused many NFL analysts to believe the Bolts were already down for the count, but think again.

The team is currently riding a three-game winning-streak, which has catapulted quarterback Philip Rivers and Co., back into the AFC West race. Sunday, the Chargers hosted the Broncos at StubHub Center in Carson, Calif., and held their division rival scoreless all game.

Winning games is essential, but when it comes to division games, there's an added incentive. Not only have the Chargers defeated the Broncos en route to their 3-4 record, but they were able to beat the Raiders on the road too. With edge defenders Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa terrorizing offensive lines, and the team in the thick of the competition, the Chargers have a pulse.

In other news, the team traded wide receiver Dontrelle Inman to the Chicago Bears Wednesday for a conditional draft pick.

It'll be interesting to see if the Bolts can keep their win streak going this weekend when they travel to New England and face Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.

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