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AFC West Roundup, Week 12: Broncos remain second in the division

The division is still up for grabs in the AFC West, but it is becoming just a two-team race

NFL: Cleveland Browns at Denver Broncos Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

After twelve weeks of football, the Denver Broncos now have a winning record, the Kansas City Chiefs are leading the division by just two games, and the Los Angeles Chargers are the only last-place team in the league that has a positive point differential.

Let’s take a look at what went down in the AFC West.

AFC West Standings

Team W L T Div. Conf.
Team W L T Div. Conf.
Kansas City Chiefs 11 6 0 4-2 9-3
Las Vegas Raiders 8 9 0 4-2 6-6
Denver Broncos 8 9 0 3-3 5-7
Los Angeles Chargers 5 12 0 1-5 3-9

Cleveland Browns @ Denver Broncos

Final score: 12-29

Recap: After taking down the Browns at home, the Broncos now ride a five-game winning streak and are just one game out of the wild card. Sean Payton should be a leading candidate for Coach of the Year, and Vance Joseph is running one of the top defenses in the league over the five-game span.

Denver started the game off strong with the defense forcing a three-and-out and the offense and then driving down 80 yards in nine plays, which was capped off by a Samaje Perine 3-yard rushing touchdown. The Browns would fumble the snap on a 4th down attempt on the following drive and Mike Purcell would recover it. But Denver would give it right back after Russell Wilson fumbled the ball after scrambling for a 1st down. Luckily Cleveland wouldn’t do anything with that and would only manage two field goals over the span of the first half.

The second half was almost all Denver too. The Browns were held to just 127 total yards and gave up a safety, while the Broncos were able to put up a couple of field goals and a touchdown. The defense stepped up big, sacking the Browns four times and forcing two fumbles.

It was a complete team effort that won them this one, and their chances of making playoffs now sit at 41% according to playoffstatus.com.

Injuries: No new injuries were reported.

Week 13 matchup: Denver Broncos @ Houston Texans

Kansas City Chiefs @ Las Vegas Raiders

Final score: 31-17

Recap: Early on it looked like the Raiders would do the Broncos a huge favor and beat the Chiefs, but not even an early 14-0 helped accomplish that.

After being forced to punt on their first two drives, the explosive Chiefs offense was able to get things rolling and would score a touchdown on their following three drives. They would take the lead for good after their third score, which was Pacheco’s second of the game. The only thing that the Raiders would be able to do the rest of the game was kick a field goal in the third quarter that made it a 21-17 ball game.

Kansas City would ultimately put the game firmly out of reach after a 39-yard touchdown pass to Rasheed Rice. Proving after last week that their wide receivers do in fact have hands. The last three Raider drives would end in a punt and then consecutive turnovers on downs.

Injuries:

Chiefs: WR Skyy Moore suffered a knee injury, OT Donovan Smith suffered a neck and shoulder injury, and OG Trey Smith suffered a foot injury. Andy Reid said none were serious.

Raiders: S Marcus Epps suffered a neck and shoulder injury but returned to the game.

Week 13 matchup: Kansas City Chiefs @ Green Bay Packers

Baltimore Ravens @ Los Angeles Chargers

Final score: 20-10

Recap: The good news for the Chargers is that they managed to not lose a game with a margin of three points or less for the second time this year. The bad news is that happened because they lost the game by ten points. It was a tightly contested game throughout most of the contest and maybe had less offense than most were expecting there to be. There was just one touchdown scored in the first half of play.

The real story of the game was the turnover battle and just how poorly the Chargers failed that test. If we were to not include turnover on downs, the Chargers turned the ball over four times to the Ravens’ zero. And if you were to include turnover on downs, then the Ravens still would have won it 6-2. Even though the Ravens only managed to score just three points off of those four turnovers, it killed their chances of putting up points on the board. One drive in particular was stopped at the Ravens’ 16-yard line after a strip sack.

Los Angeles did have a chance to tie the game up after Justin Tucker did the unthinkable and missed a 44-yard field goal, but they only managed a six-play, 10-yard drive that would end on a turnover on downs after two straight incompletions.

Injuries: WR Quentin Johnston suffered a rib injury in the second half and did not return.

Week 13 matchup: Los Angeles Chargers @ New England Patriots

Week 13 predictions

My season record now stands at 28-16 after my first perfect week of predictions.

This week I’ll be taking the Chargers over the Patriots, the Chiefs over the Packers, and the Broncos over the Texans. Drop your predictions in the comments!