NFL Midterms- AFC West

The final midterm for the AFC goes to the AFC West, and it’s as usual, a two-team race between the Denver Broncos and San Diego Chargers. The Broncos got off to a fast start at 6-0, and in the process, the relationship between Brandon Marshall and Josh McDaniels strengthened, and owner Pat Bowlan stated that Marshall would be rewarded greatly with a new contract. Despite losing the last two games, it’s a little early to say another Denver collapse, but McDaniels will make the necessary adjustments. The Chargers, who were heavy favorites to run away with the AFC West, are once again off to a slow start, but with a statement win over the Giants to say that they are not going anywhere, are all of the sudden a game behind the first-place Broncos for first place. The Raiders and Chiefs are a different story. Two of the most storied franchises in the league are two of the biggest messes right now. At least the Chiefs have the brighter future than the Raiders. The Raiders have one of the worst QBs in the league in JaMarcus Russell, an embattled coach who has temper issues, and a whole offensive unit that is just not good. It’s a shame because they have a good defense. The Chiefs have caught a lot of tough breaks, they should have beat the Raiders this season. However though, with the release of Larry Johnson, and the addition of Chris Chambers, and him getting instant chemistry with Matt Cassel, maybe the Chiefs fortunes can turn around. With a great front office in tact, it’s already time to look ahead for Kansas City.

Denver Broncos (6-2)- Grade: B+; The Broncos had slipped considerably in the last couple of weeks, being outscored 58-17 by the Ravens and Steelers, respectively. They have done considerably well, being that many people at the start of training camp thought the MOST this team would win was six games for the whole season. The Broncos are not going to collapse like they did last season, but if they want to make a statement, they have to beat San Diego in the next meeting.

San Diego Chargers (5-3)- Grade B; The Chargers are hitting their stride now. The question is why do they wait until the second half to start making noise? They should have been at the top of the AFC at the beginning. Phillip Rivers is using all his weapons in his arsenal, from Vincent Jackson to Antonio Gates to Malcolm Floyd to LaDainian Tomlinson. Speaking of LT, it is great to see him scoring touchdowns and getting back to the dominant back he has been for years. Shawne Merriman is playing lights out again, but the secondary needs to show why they are more than just good on paper. Antonio Cromartie and Quentin Jammer are doing well this season, but they have the ability to dominate at will, and they need to impose that will on opposing receivers.

Oakland Raiders (2-6)- Grade: F; The Raiders are just pitiful, Al Davis needs to give up the team, Tom Cable needs to give up coaching, and JaMarcus Russell needs to be benched, but it’s not his fault. He has no receivers to throw it to besides TE Zach Miller, and even with that, he over throws receivers, and has two touchdowns to 11 interceptions. It’s really bad because Oakland has a decent defense. I like Richard Seymour’s statement to say the Raiders will make the postseason and lead by example, but if the QB Russell doesn’t show that he cares, this team will never go anywhere.

Kansas City Chiefs (1-7)- Grade: F; The Chiefs have had a long season, but it appears they have some kind of chemistry building on offense with the addition of Chris Chambers to the team. Matt Cassel threw two late touchdowns to Chambers in his first game with the team, and with the release of Larry Johnson, the mood in the locker room can be a lot different and it’s a fresh start, which fittingly came at the midseason mark. The weakness is the youth of the defense, as they have a long way to go. Can Todd Haley though handle work through this storm, and learn from this first half and make it better. They can start by beating a team they should have beat at home in the Oakland Raiders.

Tomorrow, we will start in the NFC and the NFC North.

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