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AFC West Roundup, Week 16: Underdog disappointments

It was a bad week for most of the AFC West, unless you’re the Las Vegas Raiders.

Las Vegas Raiders v Kansas City Chiefs Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

For the Las Vegas Raiders, this week was a Christmas miracle. For the Denver Broncos, Los Angeles Chargers, and Kansas City Chiefs, it was like the Grinch stole everything. Week 16 has to be the most disappointing week of the season. And that’s saying something.

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

New England Patriots @ Denver Broncos

Final score: 26-23

Recap: This game was a tough watch. Not only did a large amount of Broncos Country have a feeling that this was a trap game, but a large majority of us were right. The lowly Patriots came into Denver on Christmas Eve and embarrassed the Broncos, who were fighting for their playoff lives.

The game started poorly. Even with the Broncos getting a strip-sack on the first play of the game and giving the offense the ball at the New England six-yard line. The offense was unable to get any points off of this turnover after letting Javonte Williams run the ball three times. Each team would trade three-and-outs on the following three drives, and then the Broncos managed a touchdown drive that briefly sparked some optimism. But that all was ripped away in the second half.

The Broncos started the half with three punts, and then after a New England touchdown drive, Marvin Mims would fumble the kickoff and the Patriots would score another touchdown off of that massive mistake. Their 23-7 lead would end up being an insurmountable hill for the Broncos. Even with two 4th quarter touchdowns, it was not enough for Denver. Playoff odds now sit at just 5% and it feels like all hopes on the season have been lost. Time to start paying attention to draft positioning.

Injury concerns: WR Courtland Sutton left the game in the 1st quarter with a concussion and is currently in concussion protocol.

Week 17 matchup: Los Angeles Chargers @ Denver Broncos

Buffalo Bills @ Los Angeles Chargers

Final score: 24-22

Recap: It seemed like the Chargers were going to be able to pull off the impossible and upset the streaking Bills, but in true Charger fashion, they managed to choke it all away in the end. Even with the change in coaching, the dark clouds still hover over this sad franchise.

This was a pretty back-and-forth game with the Chargers taking an early 10-0 lead, and then the Bills responding to go up 14-10 at halftime. The scoring in this half was made possible mostly by big plays and not long drives. The Chargers’ touchdown came off of a short field following a muffed punt by the Bills, and the Bills’ first touchdown came from a 57-yard bomb to Gabe Davis on a one-play drive.

The second half looked like the Chargers were going for the “death by 1,000 cuts” method with them taking the lead following four field goals and going up by one point with a little over five minutes to go in the game. They were in prime position to score a touchdown because they started the drive at the Buffalo 32-yard line following a fumble, but they managed to gain -3 yards and had to settle for just the three points. Bills were then able to respond with a field goal of their own with 28 seconds to go in the game and that secured their win.

Injury concerns: No new injuries were reported.

Week 17 matchup: Los Angeles Chargers @ Denver Broncos

Las Vegas Raiders @ Kansas City Chiefs

Final score: 20-14

Recap: I think the Broncos broke the Chiefs. Or, at least, I’m going to give the credit to the Broncos even if it is not completely warranted. Since the Chiefs lost to the Broncos for the first time in forever back in October, they have lost four of seven and are scoring an average of just 16.4 ppg. Before that loss, they were averaging 25.5 ppg and had a record of 6-1.

This game was a summation of everything that has been wrong with the Chiefs as of late. Their offensive line was not giving Mahomes much time to get the pass off. They had only 32 rushing yards from their running backs. And they lost the turnover battle by a margin of 2-0. This loss was entirely due to their offensive ineptitude and no blame should be going to their defense. A stat that helps prove this is that Aidan O'Connell didn’t complete a pass after the first quarter and finished the game with just 62 yards. The Raiders also scored two defensive touchdowns in seven seconds off of a Pacheco fumble and Mahomes pick-six, but I wanted to share that wild stat.

The Chiefs are currently riddled with ineptitude and anger. This was the perfect year for the Broncos to finally take back the division, but I guess it wasn’t meant to be. And to give the Raiders some credit, they are completely unable to properly hire head coaches, but they sure know how to get a great interim coach.

Injury concerns: Chiefs - RB Isaiah Pacheco is in concussion protocol after being kicked in the head in the 3rd quarter. RG Trey Smith suffered a leg injury in the 4th quarter.

Week 17 matchup: Las Vegas Raiders @ Indianapolis Colts, Cincinnati Bengals @ Kansas City Chiefs

Week 17 predictions

Following 16 weeks of football my prediction record stands at a measly 34-25 after only correctly predicting the Chargers’ loss.

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