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AFC West: Manning is league MVP thus far

Three of the four AFC West teams had the week off in week seven. The only team to play was the Oakland Raiders and they needed overtime to get by the lowly Jacksonville Jaguars.

The Raiders won thanks to a Sebastian Janikowski field goal of 40 yards following a Jaguar turnover on their first possession in the extra period. Carson Palmer, the Raiders’ quarterback had a good game completing 36 of his 46 passes for 298 yards. He threw for a touchdown, ran for a touchdown and had one interception in the game. Oakland was turnover prone with three turnovers, but held the Jacksonville offense to just 1 of 15 third down opportunities.

At this point in the season, after seven weeks of football two AFC West teams are 3-3 – Denver and San Diego, Oakland is 2-4 and Kansas City is bringing up the rear at 1-5. The bye week came at a great time for the struggling Chiefs and for San Diego, as the Chargers lost two tough games back to back to fall into a tie for first place with Denver.

The Broncos have the league’s toughest schedule but their bye came at a great time as they have just eight games remaining. The bye also comes after the team’s toughest stretch of games. In the eight games that remain for the Broncos, their opponents at this time have a combined 18-28 record.

On Sunday, the Broncos play at home against New Orleans on Sunday Night Football. New Orleans has won two straight after losing four to open the season and cannot be overlooked with the powerful offense led by Drew Brees. The Saints are averaging over 29 points a game and now have Joe Vitt their interim head coach back as his suspension for six games ended.

The Broncos will be facing one of the weaker defenses in the NFL. The Saints are allowing over 30 points a game to be scored against them. Peyton Manning has proved to be a great pickup by the Broncos and at this point in the season has to be considered the leader in the race for the MVP.

San Diego has not only lost two straight and has their fans breathing down their necks, but they are also being investigated by the NFL for the alleged use of a sticky substance that has been banned for years in the league. The Chargers are ready to start their second half of the season and facing a team that is 1-6 after the bye week will work to their favor. The Cleveland Browns should prove to be an easy opponent for Philip Rivers and the rest of the Chargers this weekend.

The Kansas City Chiefs have decided to make a change at quarterback. During the bye week, the coaching staff decided to give backup Brady Quinn an opportunity and sit Matt Cassel. The coaching staff has decided that Quinn gives the team the best opportunity to win. In week six, Quinn started for Cassel due to a concussion and completed 22 of his 38 passes with 2 picks.

This weekend the Chiefs are at home against division rival Oakland. The Raiders won last weekend. The Chiefs have only played one division game thus far and that was a 17-point loss to San Diego.

After seven weeks of the season, two things are clear in the AFC West. The only teams that will compete for the division title and the playoffs are Denver and San Diego. The second is that the MVP is Peyton Manning to win or lose.

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