The Kansas Metropolis Chiefs and Los Angeles Chargers confirmed on Sunday why the AFC West was a well-liked preseason choose to be the very best division within the NFL.
From the opening quarter, each beginning quarterbacks launched dazzling passes throughout SoFi Stadium, the kind of play that was anticipated from each Patrick Mahomes and Justin Herbert, in addition to Russell Wilson and Derek Carr.
In Denver, Wilson and Carr placed on fairly the forgettable efficiency in the course of the late afternoon slate. That 22-16 Las Vegas Raiders’ time beyond regulation victory was a stark reminder of the place the AFC West is. Whereas the Chiefs’ 30-27 victory over the Chargers was an instance of what many thought the division would appear like all through 2022.
The tone on Sunday evening was set after Herbert responded to the Chiefs’ opening drive with a 50-yard landing go to Josh Palmer. Everyone on that area wanted to be able to run, as a result of two of the NFL’s greatest quarterbacks had been able to squeeze the turbo button all evening.
Each Herbert and Mahomes averaged greater than 9 yards per try and threw for a number of touchdowns. The sport was thrilling practically your complete evening, even after Keenan Allen’s pricey fumble within the fourth quarter. The Chiefs fumbled it proper again on the following drive, and Allen redeemed himself with a 46-yard catch to arrange a landing. However it took the Chiefs simply one minute and 15 seconds to retake the lead.
By comparability, the fireworks present in Denver was two sparklers and a field of snap and pops. Neither workforce scored a landing within the second half. It took a busted protection from the Broncos in time beyond regulation for Davante Adams to get free on the largest play of the sport, a walkoff TD.
The Broncos have scored greater than 20 factors in a recreation solely twice this season. Nonetheless, their protection has been excellent. It was ranked third within the NFL in weighted DVOA going into Week 11. Utilizing the identical metrics, the Raiders’ protection was the worst within the NFL, and their offense was seventeenth. Neither workforce is anyplace close to the division lead, or a wild-card spot.
By NBC flexing the Sunday Evening Soccer matchup from Cincinnati Bengals vs. Pittsburgh Steelers, to Chiefs-Chargers, your complete AFC West was in motion in opposition to one another, and in separate home windows. This fashion, it wasn’t needed for Scott Hanson to relate the distinction within the two halves of the division. The folks might see it for themselves.
The more healthy, however nonetheless injured, Chargers have some fireplace energy, and may push a great workforce just like the Chiefs. There was good purpose to imagine earlier than the beginning of this season that the Chargers can be a playoff workforce. They’re at present a recreation out of the wild-card and can get some, however not all, of their injured gamers again this season.
Wilson and Adams had been purported to be the key distinction makers that will push their new groups excessive, and make the AFC West the very best that it has been because the Eighties. Adams has been nice, however the Raiders have been getting crushed in shut video games, with a protection that may’t cease a runny nostril. This new Broncos offense, led by Wilson, has appeared like it could be higher with Teddy Bridgewater behind middle. Additionally, each groups’ head coaches have completed a job that’s worthy of them not being given the chance to proper the ship in 2023.
Week 11 was purported to be a showcase of essentially the most gifted division within the NFL. As an alternative, it affirmed that the AFC West has one nice workforce, one other one on the rise, and two which might be steadily sinking.