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AFC West Roundup, Week 11: A perfect week

There is nothing better than the Denver Broncos winning while the rest of the AFC West loses.

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Denver Broncos Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

We were finally able to have a perfect week in the AFC West, as Denver Broncos fans at least. The Broncos won and every one of their divisional opponents lost. It was a close game across the board though.

As we move deeper into the latter half of the year, let’s see what went down and why Denver was able to move up from the bottom of the division and into second place.

AFC West Standings

Team W L T Div. Conf.
Team W L T Div. Conf.
Kansas City Chiefs 8 4 0 3-1 6-1
Denver Broncos 6 6 0 1-2 3-5
Los Angeles Chargers 5 7 0 1-1 3-4
Las Vegas Raiders 5 7 0 1-2 3-5

Las Vegas Raiders @ Miami Dolphins

Final score: 13-20

Recap: Most people, even many Raider fans, were not expecting this game to be as tight as it was. The Raiders managed to keep things close for the entire game and even lead at a couple points in the first half, but things would crumble for them come the third quarter.

After trading touchdowns and the Raiders kicking a couple of field goals, Miami would go into halftime up by one point. But the Dolphins would go on to keep Vegas scoreless over the last thirty minutes of play. This was thanks to rookie Aiden O’Connell putting on his best Jimmy G. Impression as he threw three interceptions in the second half.

Even without Achane playing for most of the game, the Dolphins were still able to rush for nearly 100 yards, with Raheem Mostert leading the way. This is just the first loss that the new coaching staff has suffered since taking over after the firing of Josh McDaniels.

Injuries: S Marcus Epps injured his neck in the second quarter and did not return.

Week 12 matchup: Kansas City Chiefs @ Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Chargers @ Green Bay Packers

Final score: 20-23

Recap: For the first time in his young career, the Packers relied almost solely on the arm of Jordan Love, and he delivered in this one. The Chargers are still trying to figure out ways to win close games this year, as they have now lost five of six games by just one score or less.

The game started out weird as both teams turned the ball over on downs on their opening drives. Something I don’t think I’ve ever seen before. It wasn’t until the start of the second quarter that the points would really start to flow with the Packers topping off a 69-yard drive with a 32-yard rushing score by Jayden Reed. The Chargers would respond with a touchdown on the following drive with a 51-yard touchdown pass by Herbert. The next touchdown would be scored by the Packers in the third quarter; a passing TD by Love. Both teams would, once again, trade touchdowns early in the fourth.

The game would ultimately come down to the last offensive drive by L.A., one that would end in some drama. The Chargers would get the ball with just 1:27 to go in the game from their own 20-yard line and they needed a field goal to tie things up. They would manage to gain just 15 yards on this drive and were unable to convert a 4th & 1 from their own 35-yard line, even after the Packers jumped offsides and gave the Chargers five fewer yards to have to gain to convert.

Injuries: EDGE Joey Bosa suffered an ankle injury in the first quarter and will likely be placed on the IR. LB Tanner Muse left the game with a knee injury.

Week 12 matchup: Baltimore Ravens @ Los Angeles Chargers

Minnesota Vikings @ Denver Broncos

Final score: 20-21

Recap: The Broncos are officially the hottest team in all of football following their second consecutive win in primetime. This was a game that needed a whole-team effort to pull off but also showed that Denver is finally in a spot where they can win football games even while not playing anywhere near perfectly.

The game started off strong as Denver forced an opening-drive turnover for the second game in a row as Baron Browning stripped Josh Dobbs and still-surging Ja’Quan McMillian recovered. The only issue is that they are still having problems with the offense converting turnovers into touchdowns, rather than just settling for field goals. This is something Denver did a lot on Sunday, with Will Lutz setting a career-high for most in a game with five.

The Vikings would put up a couple of touchdowns over the course of the night and held on to a 5-point lead late in the fourth quarter, but then Russell Wilson ran onto the field. With the offense being kept out of the end zone all night and needing a touchdown to take the lead, there was a lot of pressure on Wilson to make something happen. All he would do is lead his 39th career game-winning drive which is the 2nd most among active quarterbacks. Courtland Sutton came up huge with a one-handed snag to convert a 4th down, and then securing a touchdown in double coverage. He now has five touchdowns in his last five games and trails just Tyreek Hill for the most in the league.

Injuries: No reported injuries.

Week 12 matchup: Cleveland Browns @ Denver Broncos

Philadelphia Eagles @ Kansas City Chiefs

Final score: 21-17

Recap: In the Super Bowl rematch and another edition of the Kelce Bowl, the Eagles were able to escape Kansas City with a win and a little bit of revenge. It was a closely fought game and ultimately came down to the hands of one receiver.

Both teams would start the game by punting but then would trade touchdowns on the following drives. One came off of a Patrick Mahomes touchdown when he made defenders miss in the pocket, and then the Eagles drove down and capped off their drive with a smooth D’Andre Swift touchdown. The real point swing would come right before halftime when Travis Kelce caught a touchdown, the Eagles went three-and-out on the following drive, and then Kansas City put up a field goal as time expired.

But then the Eagles were able to put up two touchdown drives that were both capped off by a Jalen Hurts run. And, of course, one of them was from the Brotherly Shove. Ultimately, the Cheifs would have a couple of chances late to take the lead, but Marquez Valdes-Scantling had his hands replaced with bricks and dropped a perfect pass that would’ve gone for a 51-yard touchdown. The Chiefs also failed to convert a 4th & 25 after Mahomes was flagged for intentional grounding.

Injuries: WR Mecole Hardman injured his thumb in the first quarter but returned to the game.

Week 12 matchup: Kansas City Chiefs @ Las Vegas Raiders

Week 12 predictions

My season record now sits at 24-16 following Week 10. It was the Chargers losing to the Packers that was my only wrong prediction.

This week I’ll be taking the Broncos over the Browns, the Chiefs over the Raiders, and then the Ravens over the Chargers. Drop your predictions in the comments!