AFC West Wednesday: Are the Raiders and Broncos a real threat to the Chiefs and Chargers?

After three weeks, the AFC West seems upside down. Are the two teams at the top pretenders or contenders?

Well, two straight losses are not ideal for the Kansas City Chiefs as they needed to win the crucial game vs the Chargers. It doesn’t help when the Chargers are the more physical football team and are a contender in the same division as you, but the problem is, it was the battle between the 3rd and 4th place teams in the division. 

The Raiders and Broncos both are undefeated as we head to week 4 and the questions are “What’s wrong with KC?” instead of “How are these teams leading the AFC West?” 

The Raiders are coming off of an overtime win against the Tua-less Miami Dolphins and almost gave the game away to Jacoby Brissett. Derek Carr has looked incredibly solid this season and has pushed the ball downfield to Henry Ruggs and Zay Jones in late-game situations. Carr has been able to carry them offensively while the defensive line for the Raiders has been doing a lot of the dirty work with Maxx Crosby leading the way. But the biggest problem with the Raiders is the lack of consistency on both sides of the ball.

The Raiders are not a real threat, in my opinion, they are a team that has a lot of problems and a hot start can help them as we enter week 4, but they have yet to play a team playing their best football. They have played three teams who were dealing with major injuries to their best player or to key players, the Ravens played without their starting RB and CB, Steelers without TJ Watt Joe Haden and Devin Bush, and Dolphins without Tua.

They play the Chargers this week and we’ll get to see them play a team with all of their major stars healthy. I just don’t trust them as we move on in the season and they have to play Chicago, Washington, Cleveland, and Dallas alongside playing the Chiefs and Chargers. They are going to have to play some real competition in the coming weeks and it should prove if they belong in the playoff hunt.

The Broncos are a very different story, they have an incredible defense and Teddy Bridgwater is a reliable quarterback who doesn’t make a lot of mistakes. The defensive edge rushers of Bradley Chubb and Von Miller are healthy along with Patrick Surtain and Kyle Fuller and corner.

They look incredibly solid as they are a team that is not to be messed with on the defensive side of the ball. They have played three bad teams but have been able to show they are much better by winning each game by double-digits and Teddy Bridgewater has helped to steer the ship on the offensive side of the ball. 

Bridgewater has been able to prove why he’s still in the pros by not having a single turnover in three games and has made the right reads in most situations. Having Jerry Jeudy and Courtland Sutton on the outside with tight end Noah Fant in the middle is making Bridgewater’s life a lot easier. They also have been able to use Melvin Gordon in both the running and passing game to great success. 

The Broncos will be a pain in the side of both the Chargers and Chiefs as the season continues, but they are the most serious contender outside of Los Angeles and Kansas City in the division. I really do think the Broncos will be in the hunt for a Wild Card spot while the Raiders will probably be on the outside looking in as they play tougher competition as the season moves on. 

I think the biggest pretender in the league right now is the Las Vegas Raiders while the Broncos are probably the third-best team but could push the Chargers in the division.