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Derek Carr #4 of the Oakland Raiders celebrates after a touchdown by Josh Jacobs #28 during their NFL game against the Denver Broncos at RingCentral Coliseum on September 09, 2019 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Robert Reiners/Getty Images)
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Around the AFC West: Looking shaky for the stretch run

(Photo by Robert Reiners/Getty Images)

The Broncos are likely to go with a new quarterback in Week 13 against the Chargers. The biggest news in the division is rookie Drew Lock possibly (and likely) starting for Denver on Sunday.

However, the Broncos are out of it and trying to get a look at their future. With players Denver passed on, like Josh Allen (Bills) and Lamar Jackson (Ravens), shining for their respective teams, the Broncos are hoping they have a franchise quarterback of the future in Lock.

This division never ceases with interesting storylines, and this week is no different. The Broncos aren’t going anywhere this year, but they want to build something that can first be competitive within their division and then the rest of the league.

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


Kansas City Chiefs

There are some injury concerns for the Chiefs entering Week 13. The main worry for them is at the running back position.

Starter Damien Williams is banged up with a ribs injury and is unlikely to play on Sunday. Williams has been gotten 45 of the backfield’s 55 total touches since LeSean McCoy lost a fumble in the third quarter of their Week 8 loss to the Packers up until Monday night in Week 11.

McCoy has been in the doghouse a bit for the Chiefs coaching staff, but he could be thrust back into a featured role this week. He knows the offense well and is not known as a fumbler, so the Chiefs should have no hesitation to turn things over to the seasoned veteran.

In my opinion, the best back on their roster is Darrell Williams. He was mostly a backup on college behind Leonard Fournette at LSU, but Williams has skill as a powerful runner and a quality receiver out of the backfield. With Damien Williams banged up, we could see the team turn to Darrell Williams a bit more.

Rookie Darwin Thompson is also on their roster, and earlier this week the Chiefs signed Eli McGuire to their practice squad.


Los Angeles Chargers

The Chargers are preparing to travel to the Mile High City to play against the Broncos on Sunday and there are some players to watch in this game. The season has gone off the rails for Los Angeles and they don’t seem like they can make their usual late-season run to respectability this year.

It will help greatly if star safety Derwin James can return to the field this week against the Broncos. He has been out of action since having foot surgery back in September. The second-year pro has not played a game yet in 2019, but he has been practicing, running at full speed and is expected to get back for this game against Denver. Last year as a rookie, James graded out as a top-10 safety and it will be a boost to get him back.

Mike Williams is a big-bodied receiver who could be a problem for the Broncos on Sunday. Williams is unlikely to see much coverage from Chris Harris Jr. (who should be on Keenan Allen most of the game), so he could be someone the Chargers use to attack early and often.

Devontae Harris was playing well until the last two games when he has been exposed by opponents. Williams is difficult enough to cover anyway, and with Harris struggling it could be a big day for the Chargers receiver.


Oakland Raiders

The Raiders benched quarterback Derek Carr last week at the end of the third quarter when they were down by 31 points to the Jets. This week, Carr is the starter, but things seem to be a bit shakier for his future with the team after getting benched. The Raiders were riding high before their embarrassing loss to the Jets and they might have even been pushing the Chiefs for the AFC West title.

Instead of being tied with the Chiefs at 7-4, the Raiders fell to 6-5 and are trying to get back on track this week on the road in Kansas City. The two teams faced each other earlier this year, with the Raiders falling by a score of 28-10 in Oakland.

Things seem different now for the Chiefs as their defense is getting exposed and they’re getting outshined by the Ravens when it comes to Super Bowl favorites. The Raiders have fought hard this year, but all that effort came crashing down last week against the Jets. We’ll see if they can bounce back against a division rival or fall behind in the playoff race.

If the playoffs were to start today, the Raiders would be in as a wild card team. However, they are going to have to win a majority of their games from here on out to insure that spot.