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AFC West: Week 5 three teams lost, Oakland idle

The AFC West is falling into a pit of mediocrity. The four teams in the division have not played well lately and three out of four of them lost in week 5. Oakland had the best week of the four teams, as they did not lose. However, they did not win either, as they had a bye week.

Currently, the San Diego Chargers at 3-2 are leading the division. They lost 31-24 to the New Orleans Saints on Sunday evening. In second place are the Denver Broncos at 2-3. Denver lost Sunday to New England 31-21 in a shootout of future Hall of Fame quarterbacks Peyton Manning for Denver and Tom Brady for New England. Oakland is in third at 1-3 and bringing up the rear are the lowly Kansas City Chiefs are 1-4. The Chiefs lost in a field goal fest 9-6 against Baltimore on Sunday afternoon.

San Diego has had opportunities already this season to runaway with the division but has not come through when it needed to. Week 5 was a good example. The Chargers were ahead by 10 points in the second half and allowed the Saints to score 17 consecutive points to take the win.

Two late Philip Rivers turnovers did not help their cause. If San Diego would have held onto their second half lead they would have been two games in front of second place Denver and have a chance to extend that to three since they play Denver in San Diego this weekend.

The Chiefs are in a freefall and Eric Winston lashed out at the team’s fans for cheering a head injury to starting quarterback Matt Cassel. Brady Quinn will most likely start in replacement of Cassel this weekend. In addition, the players and coaches had to watch a plane fly over the team’s training facilities with a banner asking that Scott Pioli the team general manager be fired and that Cassel be benched. Little by little, everything is falling apart for the Chiefs.

Players on the rise in the AFC West include Manning the Denver QB. The team may only be 2-3, but none of the fault over three losses can be placed on the veteran’s shoulders. Over the last two games, Manning has thrown six passes for touchdowns. He has not thrown any interceptions in over 4 games (15 quarters). His totals are getting back to where he was prior to missing a season because of neck surgeries. Manning has passed for over 1,500 yards, 11 touchdowns and only 3 interceptions. His rating is over 101 and he is fourth in the league.

Also playing well, albeit for a bad team, is Jamaal Charles. The Chiefs running back came back this season from a torn ACL and many thought his rushing attempts would be limited early in the season by Kansas City. However, he has rushed 102 in five games and in week 3 versus New Orleans, in the Chiefs only win of the season, Charles had 30 carries. He is leading the league in rushing with 551 yards. Some worry he is getting too much work too soon, time will tell as the season wears on.

Still the Chargers must prove they are the team to beat in the division and that can be done this weekend when they host Denver. The game will matchup two hard throwing quarterbacks in Manning and Rivers and should set the tone for the rest of the season in the division.

Current odds have the Chargers favored by 3 points at home. I like Manning and the Broncos to keep it close and pull out the upset late.

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