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Final AFC West Wrap-Up: Broncos are champs fifth season straight

Pretty much everyone wanted the Denver Broncos to lose to the San Diego Chargers on Sunday. But the Broncos refused to let five turnovers keep them down.

Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

After all was said and done, the Denver Broncos not only won the AFC West, but they took the #1 AFC seed away from the New England Patriots after they fell to their division rival the Miami Dolphins. The Broncos can relax during Wild Card Weekend, and the media can go apoplectic about who the starting QB will be for a few more days.

The Kansas City Chiefs had to settle for the fifth playoff seed - which is a bit of a mini-miracle considering how their season started. They will face the Houston Texans this Saturday in Texas.

The Oakland Raiders and San Diego Chargers are in similar situations. Both teams have solid quarterbacks (Carr is no Rivers, but he's proven himself this season), both will keep their Head Coaches (the Chargers did fire a bunch of other people), and both might be relocated to Los Angeles next season.

The AFC West continues to be the most interesting division in football, and that isn't going to change anytime soon.

Final Standings

Team W L T Div Conf.
Denver Broncos 12 4 0 4-2 8-4
Kansas City Chiefs 11 5 0 5-1 10-2
Oakland Raiders 7 9 0 3-3 7-5
San Diego Chargers 4 12 0 0-6 3-9

Chargers @ Broncos

Final Score: 20-27

In-brief: Well. Who said the Broncos can't be dramatic without Tim Tebow as their QB?

The Denver Broncos overcame five turnovers to beat their division rival, the San Diego Chargers, on Sunday. Even though the Chargers team had little to play for and they continued to lose players during the game to injury, they did not go down quietly.

The entire game was a bit surreal to watch in person. What struck me most later watching the game on TV is how the emotion of the moment Manning ran out on the field did not translate. As fans began whispering to each other "he's warming up", "is Brock injured?", "why are they doing this!" all of Mile High Stadium's fears and anxieties were washed away when Manning actually ran to the line of scrimmage. The cheering ovation, quickly followed by a call for quiet, was one of the most dramatic moments I have experienced in five years as a spectator at Broncos games.

I promised myself that no matter what happened in the game I would enjoy seeing Manning get one more chance to play as a Bronco. Which isn't saying anything bad about Osweiler - or anything about my desire for the Broncos to win games. Winning is obviously the goal in any game, but one of the best parts of sports are the little moments that surprise you.

This was a great moment, that luckily was followed by a victory!

Broncos playoff injury concerns: Chris Harris (shoulder), Darian Stewart (hamstring), De Marcus Ware (knee)

Broncos next matchup: Sunday, Jan 17th at 2:40pm MT the Broncos will play either the Texans, the Chiefs, or the Steelers.

Chargers draft pick: 3rd

Raiders @ Chiefs

Final Score: 17-23

In-brief: The Chiefs continued their winning streak and sports media is falling all over themselves about the mighty Chiefs. However, for all non-Chiefs, and for that matter non-Bengals fans, you should call us when you win a playoff game.

We'll be right here.


The Chiefs-Raiders game was a bit wacky, as many Week 17 games could be described. Alex Smith threw two interceptions in a row. Derek Carr was sacked twice in one series. There was also a blocked punt and a rally for a comeback from a team that didn't have much to play for.

This was Raiders Charles Woodson's last game, and I'm sure he's happy that the Raiders are finally heading in the right direction.

Chiefs playoff injury concerns: Maclin (hip - he did return to the game), Mitch Morse (concussion)

Chiefs next matchup: Saturday, Jan 9th at 2:35pm MT the Chiefs will face the Texans in Houston.

Raiders draft pick: 14th

Thanks for reading the AFC West wrap-ups this season! Let me know in the comments what kind of AFC West coverage you would like to see from MHR during the offseason. You know, after the Broncos bring home that Lombardi trophy :)