AFC West Report: Divison Sweeps

The good news for the division is that everybody won on Sunday, the bad news is for everybody but the Broncos is that they are no closer to first place as Denver had a firm grip on the division.

The first place Denver Broncos continue to roll as they shut down the New York Jets 27-0 at Invesco Field on Monday. At 8-2 overall the Broncos lead the division by two full games over the Kansas City Chiefs and San Diego Chargers and by four games over the Oakland Raiders.

Jake Plummer continues to be the brightest surprise of any quarterback in the NFL. He's made his Head Coach Mike Shanahan look like a genius after he predicted the quarterback would have his best season of his career. Of all the starting quarterbacks in the National Football League Plummer has only three interceptions, the least of any full time starter this year. He only has 13 touchdowns in the ten games but it's Plummer's game management that has secured his success. Last game he passed for 225 yards while connecting with eight different receivers.

The Broncos game management was so overwhelming against the Jets they maintained the ball for 42:28 of the game. Mike Anderson was the catalyst on the ground against the woeful team from New York. Anderson had 113 yards on the ground with all three of the Denver touchdowns.

The Jets didn't help themselves at all on offense committing five turnovers and using three different quarterbacks on the afternoon. Brook Bollinger was knocked out with a concussion and Vinny Testaverde was put out with an ankle injury leaving Kliff Kingsbury to finish up the game.

The Denver defense has seemed to emerge from their mild slump if it was even considered that bad. They held Curtis Martin to a total of just seven yards rushing on just four carries. The Broncos defense also recorded four sacks on the afternoon. Champ Bailey has now tied his career record with five interceptions this season.

The Broncos have been rolling but will now work on a short week and face the Dallas Cowboys on Thanksgiving afternoon in Dallas. The Cowboys co-lead the NFC East with a 7-3 record along with the New York Giants.

The San Diego Chargers are only 12 points away from having an undefeated season and they showed why they are one of the top teams in the AFC after their 48-10 waxing of the Buffalo Bills on Sunday.

Next to Jake Plummer, its undeniable how good Drew Brees has been for the Chargers. Brees went 28 for 33 with four touchdowns, all those scores in the first half, in the game Sunday. Brees has quietly been flying under the radar with a 100.0 QB rating, 18 scores and just 8 picks. Brees has connected on exactly two-thirds of his passes and he leads the NFL's second best scoring offense just behind the Colts at thirty points a game.

Of course it doesn't hurt Brees that he has two of the most dominant players in the NFL along his side on offense. LaDainian Tomlinson and Antonio Gates have been phenomenal. "L. T.'s" day was shortened top get Michael "the burner" Turner involved in garbage time so Tomlinson totaled only 89 total yards with one touchdown on the game. Tomlinson now has 14 scores on the year.

Antonio Gates looked good as well until he was sidelined with an injury. Gates caught five balls for 77 yards and a score versus the Bills. The good news for the Chargers is that Gates is smiling and plans on playing this weekend in Washington. His foot is feeling much better since the injury.

The San Diego defense may be gelling at the right time as the team heads down the stretch. The defense got six sacks and three turnovers against the Bills. J. P. Losman was hassled repeatedly all day. The rookies are continuing to pull the weight as Shawne Merriman now has 7 sacks on the year after getting a pair on Sunday. Luis Castillo had one giving him 2.5 on the year.

Donnie Edwards ranks among the team leaders, on Sunday he had five tackles and a sack while Drayton Florence looked like a shutdown corner opposite Quentin Jammer. Florence had five tackles on the day.

The Chargers are on the outside looking in at the playoffs right now with six games to play. A win in Washington is necessary this Sunday as it will be just as important for the hosting Redskins.

The Oakland Raiders played in one of the better games of the day shocking the Fed Ex Field faithful with a 16-13 win over the Redskins. Joey Porter looks to be on pace for the best season of his career. He helped himself out by torching the Redskins secondary on Sunday. Porter caught 6 balls for 142 yards and the Raiders lone touchdown. The Raiders rallied with 13 points in the second half to take the victory after trailing by ten at halftime.

The Raiders don't always play pretty but they refuse to go down quietly having rallied from deficits in their last three games. This time they were able to come on top when Derrick Burgess sacked and forced Mark Brunell to fumble to end the Redskins hopes. Burgess had two sacks on the afternoon and was a steal at free agency from the Eagles who undoubtedly wish they had him back at this point.

It was a sweet win for head coach Norv Turner who once coached and was scorned for doing so in Washington D. C. The win keeps the Raiders hopes alive for a playoff spot at least for the time being. Needless to say they will likely need to win out to get in the playoffs. Oakland will get Miami at home this weekend and then their season will be truly tested with a road game at San Diego. The season schedule does still include the Jets on the road, Cleveland and the Giants ant home and Denver at Invesco, which will be huge if the Raiders can win against their more challenged opponents.
With the Kansas City Chiefs 45-17 win over the Houston Texans the AFC playoff picture looks like this: The one seed belongs to the Colts with home field throughout, the Broncos get the second seed with a bye, the Steelers would have the three seed while the Patriots can't be forgotten about at the four seed. Jacksonville would have the five seed and the Bengals the sixth seed. The Chargers and Chiefs are one game out of the wild card and the Raiders three games out.

Both the Chargers and Chiefs have brutal schedules down the stretch. The Chargers have home games against Oakland, Miami and Denver, while going on the road to Washington, Indianapolis, and Denver. The Chiefs have it a little bit tougher with home games against New England, Denver, San Diego, and Cincinnati. They will have road games at Dallas and the Giants.

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