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Broncos have an opportunity to make up ground in the AFC West race

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Sunday’s games didn’t pan out for the AFC West, but it did give the Denver Broncos a golden opportunity.

Denver Broncos v Kansas City Chiefs Photo by Jason Hanna/Getty Images

It turns out the Buffalo Bills may be a little better than everyone thought earlier this season when they beat the Denver Broncos, 26-16. For as rancid bad as Denver has played of late, it was somewhat comforting to see the Bills destroy Oakland on Sunday, 34-14, taking them to their 5th loss in their last 6 games.

The confidence the Raiders exuded after their back-to-back wins to start the season has evaporated into pointed fingers at their ineffective defense and matching prima dona running back. With the Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots, and, of course, the Denver Broncos coming up in the next three weeks, what has been an ugly turn of the season could get substantially worse in short order.

After peeling off 3-straight wins, including an historic shutout against the Denver Broncos, the Los Angeles Chargers fell to the New England Patriots on Sunday, 13-21. It had to be a relief to go on the road to Foxboro where they likely had more fans in the stands than their ‘home’ in Los Angeles. It’s remarkable that, after an 0-4 start, they’re right in the mix of the AFC West. As Broncos fans learned last week, you just can’t write Philip Rivers and the Chargers off. When they’re on, they’re good. The problem is that they’re just not on that often... and when they are, none of their fans are around to see it.

Then there’s the Kansas City Chiefs. After winning 5-straight to start the season, they’ve suffered back-to-back losses going into Monday Night Football against the Denver Broncos. Folks, the Chiefs are mortal. The losses to the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Raiders have shown that there are chinks in their armor.

Let’s be honest, this isn’t the first season the Chiefs have started strong only to fade down the stretch, especially under Andy Reid. When in Alex Smith’s career has he been able to sustain success? Beneath that facade of poise and control is the beating heart of the Alex Smith we all know and rely on. It’s up to the Denver Broncos defense to to coax that feller out.

It doesn’t help that Denver in playing a national game in Arrowhead. However, when we look at the calendar, it’s still October, and history will tell you that the Broncos have substantially more success on the road in Kansas City in October than in November. So hopefully the Chiefs all check the date before taking the field.

Folks, it looks like the AFC West has been collapsing in on itself and the Denver Broncos are in prime position to take it. Forget about the recent losses and lack of offense. All that matters is what happens under the lights on Monday night. What better way cast off the stank of the last two weeks than by beating the division-leading Kansas City Chiefs? Could the Denver Broncos pull within a 12 a game of them? I’ll always believe until they show me different. It’s time to shock the west.

AFC West Standings

TEAM RECORD DIVISION
TEAM RECORD DIVISION
Kansas City Chiefs 5-2 1-1
Denver Broncos 3-3 2-1
Los Angeles Chargers 3-5 2-2
Oakland Raiders 3-5 1-2

HORSE TRACKS

Denver Broncos out to reverse trends on offense, defense | GreeleyTribune.com
ENGLEWOOD — The Denver Broncos figure they’ll emerge from their funk if they can get their quarterback to get rid of the ball faster and find ways to make

Denver Broncos loud and clear on need to solve road woes - AFC West- ESPN
The Broncos are winless on the road as they head to Arrowhead Stadium, arguably the noisiest stadium they will play in all season.

Chiefs' game vs Broncos wraps bizarre first-half schedule | FOX Sports
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) The Kansas City Chiefs have played the second-toughest schedule in the NFL through the first seven weeks of the season, at least when you compare the winning percentages of opponents.

Three Keys to Broncos-Chiefs
The Chiefs' robust, diverse offense offers plenty of challenges, but for the Broncos, their quest must start with fixing the turnover issues that have dogged them this season.

Sacco Sez: Remembering Jacky Lee
The Broncos' first win over the Chiefs was led by Jacky Lee, who ended up in Kansas City at the end of his career.

How Chiefs’ Kareem Hunt is holding up amidst a major workload | The Kansas City Star
Kareem Hunt sat on the stool in front of his locker, staring at his bloodied shin. This was Oct. 19, in the aftermath of the Chiefs’ 31-30 loss to Oakland, and Hunt –– the Chiefs’ star rookie running back –– had once again carried a big load, rushing 18 times for 87 yards. He also caught four pases for 30 yards.

Joe Staley staying in Philadelphia Sunday night after injuring eye – ProFootballTalk
There was a question for 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan this week about the possibility of trading left tackle Joe Staley to the Eagles or another team that might be in the market for an upgrade on their offensive line.

Tom Benson taken to hospital after Saints win – ProFootballTalk
Saints owner Tom Benson wasn't able to stick around the Superdome to celebrate Sunday's 20-12 win over the Bears with the rest of the team because he wasn't feeling well. Benson was taken to Ochsner Hospital in New Orleans after he reported not feeling well after the game.

Julius Peppers moves into fourth all time with 151st career sack – ProFootballTalk
Panthers defensive end Julius Peppers moved to fourth in NFL history in sacks, getting the 151st of his career against Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston on Sunday. It didn't exactly excite him. "Ehhhhh," Peppers said with a shrug, via Jourdan Rodrigue of the Charlotte Observer.

Julius Peppers moves into fourth all time with 151st career sack – ProFootballTalk
Panthers defensive end Julius Peppers moved to fourth in NFL history in sacks, getting the 151st of his career against Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston on Sunday. It didn't exactly excite him. "Ehhhhh," Peppers said with a shrug, via Jourdan Rodrigue of the Charlotte Observer.

Patriots take advantage of Chargers' errors in win - NFL.com
The Chargers (3-5) learned Sunday that knocking out the Patriots (6-2) in Foxborough is one the NFL's tallest orders -- too tall for Los Angeles in a white-knuckle 21-13 loss to New England.

Bills still undefeated at home after win over Raiders - NFL.com
No team has gone to Buffalo and won this season. The Oakland Raiders were the latest to fall to the Buffalo Bills in Orchard Park, losing 34-14. Here's what we learned.

Ezekiel Elliott powers Cowboys past Redskins in rain - NFL.com
The Dallas Cowboys won a key NFC East road game Sunday by beating the Washington Redskins in the rain. Here's what we learned from the game.

Chris Hogan of New England Patriots to have MRI on shoulder
Although there is optimism that Chris Hogan's shoulder injury is not serious, an MRI set for Monday morning will determine the severity.

Houston Texans rookie quarterback Deshaun Watson passes Kurt Warner with 19 touchdowns through first seven games
With four passing touchdowns on Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks, Houston Texans rookie quarterback Deshaun Watson has continued his historic start, passing Kurt Warner with 19 touchdowns through his first seven career NFL games, according to Elias.

Joey Bosa has most sacks ever through first 20 games – ProFootballTalk
Chargers defensive end Joey Bosa is the real deal. If you didn't already believe that, believe this: He has 19 sacks in 20 career games. That's the most sacks through 20 games of any player in league history.

Talk of a possible T.Y. Hilton trade intensifies – ProFootballTalk
Now that the Colts have fallen to 2-6 (and likely won't be able to get up, at least for the rest of this year), it's time to consider flipping current assets for future picks. And, as mentioned earlier today, receiver T.Y. Hilton remains a possible target for a trade.

Seahawks knock off Texans in 41-38 thriller – ProFootballTalk
Most of the focus heading into Sunday's game between the Texans and the Seahawks was on how the Texans players would show their displeasure with team owner Bob McNair's comments about letting "inmates run the prison" during recent league meetings to discuss the national anthem and player protests.

Duane Brown: Meeting with McNair “didn’t go too well” – ProFootballTalk
When last we heard from Texans tackle Duane Brown, it happened before owner Bob McNair met with the team for the first time after his "[w]e can't have the inmates running the prison" comments came to light. Brown wasn't happy then, and he doesn't seem to be happy now.

Andrew Luck described as “not close” to returning – ProFootballTalk
Ten months after shoulder surgery, Colts quarterback Andrew Luck remains a long way off from playing. The Indianapolis Star reports that Luck is "not close" to a return, won't practice this week and has no timetable for when he might.

Roger Goodell's contract a done deal despite Jerry Jones' efforts to hijack it - CBSSports.com
The commissioner's extension is complete, but neither side is in a hurry to announce the deal

Refs inexplicably overturn TD after Bears' Zach Miller suffers a gruesome injury - CBSSports.com
The Bears lost their tight end to an injury and then lost a clear touchdown

LOOK: Nearly entire Texans team kneels for anthem after owner's 'inmates' comment - CBSSports.com
The Houston football players took a stand by taking a knee before their matchup against the Seahawks

Bengals' Vontaze Burfict claims Joe Mixon is 'better than' Steelers' Le'Veon Bell - CBSSports.com
Say what? Did Burfict really say this?