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AFC West: Week 8 Preview and Point Spreads

Three of these teams (Oakland, Kansas City and Denver) had a bye last week, so they should be well rested and ready to go, a factor that could be crucial in the Oakland-Chiefs game this weekend. (Not that you, or anyone, should be watching that game. Because you shouldn’t, for your own health/sanity.) all of these teams stand at a crossroads; Oakland and K.C. must fight each other to save their miserable seasons, while Denver and the Chargers, both sitting at 3-3, need to assert themselves to claim the divisional crown. Let’s take a look at this week’s action in the AFC West.

San Diego Chargers (-3) at Cleveland Browns, Sunday, 1:00 p.m. EST

If Phil Rivers has a another performance in Cleveland like he did against the Broncos the last time those two teams played, the Chargers season (and Norv Turner’s fate as a head coach) could effectively be sealed. Rivers’ Monday night meltdown against the Broncos was one of the worst collapses in primetime history; it’s going to take a lot to wash the stench of that defeat off of this team, and  frisky Cleveland Browns team at home may not be the easy win many pencil it up to be. Sure, they are 1-6, but they’re an extremely plucky 1-6. (Allegations of stickum use are now beginning to swirl around this Chargers’ squad. Stickum! What is this, the mid ‘80s?) God help me, but I like the Browns here. I think this is the Chargers’ death knell, and quite possibly the nail in the coffin of the endlessly disappointing Norv Turner era in San Diego. Take the Brownies.

Oakland Raiders (+1) at Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday, 4:05 p.m. EST

Here is this week’s Toilet Bowl, bar none. Carson Palmer! Brady Quinn! Tune in for a showdown of the ages, folks! It’s going to be a race to see who can throw the most back-breaking fourth quarter pick. Seriously, this could be an ugly one. For whatever reason, I like the Raiders. Maybe this is finally the week their zone blocking scheme opens some holes and Darren McFadden can find some running room. I think both McFadden and Charles on KC will have big days, but I think Carson Palmer can do just enough to win this one. Take the Raiders at +1, but only if someone has a gun to your head and is forcing you to bet (or watch) this game.

New Orleans Saints (+6) at Denver Broncos, Sunday, 8:20 p.m. EST

This game probably looked a lot more intriguing on paper when they scheduled it several months ago. Still, the Saints aren’t bad, and Denver is the best fourth quarter team in football this season. I love the Saints and the points here. Think about it: is there any chance this game isn’t a shootout? You’ve got the Saints high-powered offense, which has looked like it’s gaining steam in recent weeks, and then you’ve got Denver, a team that seemingly loves to play from behind. It has got all the classic ingredients of a game-winning field goal in OT, snapping some crazy 45-45 tie or something. As vaunted as Denver’s defense is, it secretly isn’t that great outside of its pass rush, so I would expect  Brees to have a monstrous day. Manning could similarly put up video game numbers against the Saints’ secondary, a unit that is so atrocious you or I could gain a few yards against them. I love the Saints and the points here.

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