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State of the AFC West after Week 13: Proving to be toughest division in NFL for 2018

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Los Angeles Chargers v Pittsburgh Steelers Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images

The only team not to win this week in the AFC West was the Oakland Raiders, though they put up a hell of an effort against the AFC West leading Kansas City Chiefs. It wasn’t enough for the monumental upset from the Raiders but it ended up being one of the best games of the week in the NFL. The Los Angeles Chargers game was also one of the best games of the week after L.A.’s comeback victory against the Steelers, while the Denver Broncos handled business against the Bengals pretty handily with a big dose of their run offense.

With the Chiefs and Chargers both looking like elite teams this season, and the Broncos now back to .500, the AFC West just showed they are the toughest division in the NFL.


Kansas City Chiefs 10-2 (DIV 4-0)

Los Angeles Chargers 9-3 (DIV 2-2)

Denver Broncos 6-6 (DIV 2-2)

Oakland Raiders 2-10 (DIV 0-4)

How we got here:

Kansas City Chiefs beat Oakland Raiders 40-33

It was a wild one in Oakland but the Kansas City Chiefs managed to prevail against a surprisingly scrappy Oakland Raiders team. If the Raiders could have stopped the Chiefs on their last drive of the game this could have ended up being one of the greatest regular season upsets of all time.

Patrick Mahomes would have none of that though, his 3rd and 5 play to keep the drive alive was a masterful display on escaping the pocket and led to their final touchdown of the game which was the difference in the final score. The game overall was a back and forth battle all the way until the very end though, the Raiders even got a field goal after that previously mentioned key touchdown from the Chiefs but they couldn’t recover the onside kick to have one last chance.

It was definitely a quarterback duo between KC’s Patrick Mahomes and Oakland’s Derek Carr who finished the game with surprisingly similar stats. Mahomes was 23 of 38 passing for 295 yards and 4 touchdowns while Derek Carr was 29 of 38 for 285 yards and 3 touchdowns. The biggest stat of the game had nothing to do with either Mahomes or Carr though, it was the 3 lost fumbles from the Raiders trio of running backs that was likely the difference in this very close game.

Next Opponent (Chiefs): Baltimore Ravens

Next Opponent (Raiders): Pittsburgh Steelers

Los Angeles Chargers beat Pittsburgh Steelers 33-30

The Chargers had a hell of a second half to come out with this 3 point victory that came on the foot of their kicker in the final seconds. Pittsburgh actually led the game 13-0 before the Chargers got on the board with a touchdown of their own touchdown and then outscored L.A. 10-0 in the second quarter too for a 23-7 lead at the half.

As you can see by the final score, that substantial lead did not last. The Chargers got a huge lift from a 13 play, 98 yard touchdown drive with a successful 2 point conversion as the only points in the 3rd quarter, and then they outscored them 18-7 in the 4th quarter. Despite not having their star running back Melvin Gordon, the Chargers still managed an impressive comeback against a very tough opponent.

They managed that comeback thanks in large part to WR Keenan Allen’s elite performance with 14 receptions for 148 yards and a touchdown that came on that huge 98 yard drive. They also got a big help from a surprise spot, 7th round rookie running Justin Jackson had 63 yards rushing on just 8 carries including an 18 yard touchdown run as part of the big 4th quarter comeback.

Next Opponent: Cincinnati Bengals

Denver Broncos beat Cincinnati Bengals 24-10:

The Broncos are officially on a winning streak with 3 wins in a row to get back to .500 on the season. It’s been a wild up and down season for the Broncos who started out the year 2-0, only to fall all the way to 3-6, and now back up to 6-6 after this win against the Bengals. This game on the other hand was not up and down, Denver had the game in control the whole time.

Neither team did much of anything in the first half until the Broncos scored their first touchdown on their last drive of the half, followed by the Bengals putting up 3 before the 1st half ended as well. After that the Broncos took control with more touchdowns before the Bengals finally got their only touchdown of the game, all that in the 3rd quarter. Then it was back to not much happening in the 4th quarter with the only points added in the final quarter being a field goal that Denver tacked on for the 24-10 win.

The Broncos didn’t get much from their QB Case Keenum who had just 12 of 21 passing for 151 yards and a touchdown, but that’s because they didn’t need much with star rookie running back Phillip Lindsay on their team. Lindsay put the team on his back with 19 carries for 157 yards (a huge 8.3 ypc) with 2 touchdowns, and they also added another 48 yards on the ground from fellow rookie Royce Freeman’s 12 carries.

Denver controlled this game with their run game and defense, which is huge considering they are a cold weather team entering the winter weather games. They have officially put themselves in serious playoff contention despite their 3-6 start to the year.

Next Opponent: San Francisco 49ers