By: Jack Johnson
After four weeks in the regular season, the AFC West is all over the place. The team expected to dominate the division sits in last place and the team projected to finish last is 3-1. Without further ado, here is where the four franchises stack up.
1. Los Angeles Chargers (3-1, 2-0 in division)
The Chargers’ start has been impressive to put it lightly. Not only have they defeated the regning AFC champions, but they also handled the undefeated Las Vegas Raiders on prime time television. If it wasn’t for a game-winning field goal by Dallas kicker Greg Zuerlein, Los Angeles would be sitting pretty at 4-0.
The Chargers’ defense ranks in the top 10 in numerous categories, their quarterback is fifth in the league in passing touchdowns and they’re undefeated on the road. For now, Los Angeles wears the crown of the top team in the division. However, being crowned in September/October doesn’t carry much weight.
2. Kansas City Chiefs (2-2, 0-1 in division)
The Chiefs bounced back on Sunday with a 42-30 win over the Philadelphia Eagles. The offense scored on six of its first seven possessions — giving them a three-score lead with less than a minute to go.
The defense, on the other hand, was a massive problem again. Through the first four games, Kansas City is 31st in points and yards allowed per game. They’re also 30th in defending the run. There should be improvement with the return of Willie Gay from the injured reserve and Frank Clark, but it won’t fix everything.
The Chiefs’ biggest test of the season awaits them as they’ll take on the Buffalo Bills this Sunday night. Buffalo comes in tied for second in scoring offense with Kansas City.
3. Las Vegas Raiders (3-1, 0-1 in division)
It was a lackluster showing for the Raiders on Monday night in Los Angeles. At one point, Las Vegas trailed 21-0 in the third quarter. They crawled back to make it a one possession game, but ultimately failed to overcome their first half struggles.
The Raiders have talent on the offensive side of the ball. With Darren Waller, Henry Ruggs and Bryan Edwards in the passing game, Derek Carr has plenty to work with. The key problem, though, is the offensive line. The Raiders’ first-round pick, Alex
Leatherwood, currently ranks last in sacks allowed and is tied for last in penalties. Four of the five players on the offensive line sport a PFF grade lower than 60 (70 is considered average). Without a line, the Raiders aren’t going to be competing to win the West.
4. Denver Broncos (3-1, 0-0)
After their first three games, the Broncos’ opponents had a combined record of 0-9. In the first meeting with a team that had tasted victory, Denver was thumped 23-7 by the Baltimore Ravens. Up to that point, the experiment with Teddy Bridgewater was looking like a good investment. He ran the offense well and the defense allowed just 26 points in three games (8.6 PPG). However, the defense wasn’t strong enough to stop the prolific offense that Baltimore possessed.
Now with Bridgewater dealing with a concussion, Denver is forced to turn to Drew Lock for the foreseeable future. Not to mention the schedule gets a lot tougher from here on out. Before their bye week, the Broncos go on the road against Pittsburgh, Cleveland and Dallas. After the bye, they’ll face the Chargers and Chiefs twice.
It’s paramount for the Broncos to stack up on wins before Week 11.