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Around the AFC West: Two teams emerge as playoff contenders

(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

The Broncos have a bye in Week 10, but the rest of the division is playing this week – with two of those teams facing each other on Thursday night. While the Broncos only have three wins on the 2019 season, they are catching up to another team within the AFC West that is stumbling down the stretch.

This division never ceases with interesting storylines and this week is no different. The Broncos are on a break, but there is a ton to get to with the teams that are closest to them.

Let’s take a spin around the AFC West to see what the competition is up to.

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Kansas City Chiefs

This is the week that Patrick Mahomes should be back for the Chiefs. That is not yet decided as of this writing, but Mahomes has been practicing fully as the week has gone on.

“It’s going to be day to day,” Chiefs head coach Andy Reid said Wednesday. “He didn’t take a ton of reps last week. We’ll try to increase him a little bit and see how it works out.”

Mahomes was practicing last week, but things have ramped up this week. They won last week at home against the Vikings with Matt Moore as their quarterback. This week, the Chiefs are on the road to face the Titans. It’s a good week to get Mahomes back out there even though the game is on the road.

The Chiefs are trying to win home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. They are on the outside looking in when it comes to being the No. 1 or No. 2 seed in the AFC. The Patriots and Ravens would have a first-round bye if the playoffs started today. We’ll see if the Chiefs can get Mahomes back out there this week and start to gain ground on the two teams ahead of them – while also staying ahead of the team they’re currently tied with (record-wise) the
Texans.

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Los Angeles Chargers

The Chargers window is likely closed for the 2019 season. After losing to the Raiders on Thursday night by a score of 26-24, they now have a 4-6 record and are on the outside looking in when it comes to the race for a wild card berth.

They are always a team that starts off slowly but can surge towards the midway point of the season. It looks like that’s exactly what they were doing – again – when they beat the Packers in Week 9. However, this game against the Raiders just might be too much to overcome. This team looks done, even though every loss they’ve had this year was within one score.

These plays have many wondering if Rivers is almost at the end of his career. He certainly hasn’t looked quite the same this season. Rivers has always had a weird throwing motion, but things look even worse this year. Some are speculating Rivers may be playing with an injury, but it just might be Father Time catching up with him.

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Oakland Raiders

Don’t look now, but the Raiders are surging. They are No. 2 in the AFC West with a 5-4 record and would be in a wild card spot if the playoffs were to begin today. There’s still plenty of football left, but this Raiders team looks like they could overcome their deficiencies on both sides of the ball to continue their winning ways.

It’s often said that in the NFL a team will take on the personality of their head coach or their quarterback. Derek Carr is a nice quarterback, but there is no doubt that all of the personality resonates from head coach Jon Gruden.

All of us in Broncos Country hate the Raiders, but this “SportsCenter” video is pretty cool.

The Raiders are moving on in 2020 to their new home in Las Vegas. At least they are trying to give their fans in Oakland an exciting team to watch in their final season in the Bay Area.

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