2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Chiefs, Broncos in heated race out West

    2013-11-06 12:15

(Eds: With AP Photos.)
By ARNIE STAPLETON
AP Pro Football Writer

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) - Denver cornerback Chris Harris couldn't get away from football during the Broncos' bye, eagerly tuning in to watch the unbeaten Kansas City Chiefs face the Buffalo Bills last weekend.

Zzzz.

''It was kind of boring, man. So, I was like all right, I'm just going to watch the RedZone,'' Harris said. ''It wasn't an offensive game. I'm looking for the points.''

You'd think a defensive player would appreciate a good defense, and nobody's been better at stemming this league-wide proliferation of points than the Chiefs (9-0).

Kansas City is the first club to allow 17 or fewer points in each of the first nine games of a season since the 1977 Atlanta Falcons.

''Naw, come on,'' Harris said, laughing. ''Who wants to watch that? Who wants to watch just a defensive game all the time? On a bye week, I want to see some points.''

Maybe Harris is just spoiled.

His Broncos (7-1) scored an astonishing 343 points in the first half of the season for an average of 42.9, which would obliterate the NFL record of 36.8 set by the 2007 New England Patriots.

The Chiefs and Broncos meet twice in the next four weeks, beginning with a Sunday night showdown in Denver on Nov. 17.

Here are five things that make the AFC West such an intriguing division in 2013:

WORST TO FIRST I: The division was once derided as the ''AFC Worst'' for sending mediocre teams to the playoffs, like the Broncos, who won the West in 2011 with Tim Tebow and an 8-8 record.

Now, the Chiefs, Broncos, Chargers (4-4) and Raiders (3-5) have a combined 23-10 record for a .697 winning percentage. That's the highest by a division through nine weeks of the season since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger.

No division has been this good this late since 1984, when the AFC West had a cumulative 31-14 mark for a .689 winning percentage.

''The nice thing for us is there's a team in the division getting a lot of attention as well, so there's no room to relax at all,'' Chiefs QB Alex Smith said. ''We're neck and neck, and we have two big games left with them. You kind of keep your nose down, keep to your task.''

WORST TO FIRST II: There's an old saying that it's better to be lucky than good, and the Chiefs have been both so far.

They've faced backup quarterbacks in four of their last five games, and the only one who wasn't a backup, Oakland's Terrelle Pryor, won the starting job in training camp.

So what? The Chiefs are the first team in NFL history to start 9-0 after posting the worst record in the league the previous season (2-14).

The Chiefs have put themselves in prime position to return to the playoffs for the first time since 2010. In the Super Bowl era, all 18 teams that won their first nine games qualified for the postseason party. Eleven of those advanced to the Super Bowl and seven of them won it.

DOMINANT DENVER: With Wes Welker, Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker and Julius Thomas, it's easy to see why John Elway says he's jealous of the targets Peyton Manning has.

The Broncos' 343 points are the most by a team through the first eight games of a season, and Manning's 29 TD throws and 2,919 yards passing are also the most through the first eight games in NFL history.

The Broncos have kept on rolling despite many roadblocks on the Super Bowl expressway. Elvis Dumervil left via a fax foul-up. Von Miller tried to game the NFL drug-testing system. Two team executives were suspended following drunken driving arrests. Ryan Clady went on IR.

And now coach John Fox is recovering from heart surgery and will miss several weeks.

''We all wish him a speedy recovery,'' interim head coach Jack Del Rio said. ''The best way that we could honor him is to go out and play great football.''

RECHARGED CHARGERS: Mike McCoy burnished his coaching credentials by tearing apart Denver's offense to account for Tebow's strengths and weaknesses in 2011 then crumpled that blueprint to adapt to Manning's arrival a year later.

Now, he's helped revive Philip Rivers' career in San Diego.

Rivers' 106.5 passer rating is the third-best mark in the league, trailing only Manning (119.4) and Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers (108.0).

RAIDERS REBOUND: After an awful decade for the ''Team of the Decades,'' the Raiders are showing signs of turning things around under Pryor, who regularly stars in both the highlight and blooper reels.

Pryor's enigmatic ways were on full display in Oakland's 21-18 win over Pittsburgh two weeks ago when he darted 93 yards on the first snap for the longest TD run by a quarterback in NFL history, then threw for just 88 yards the rest of the afternoon.

The Raiders prevailed despite gaining one first down and 35 yards of offense in the second half.

Just win, baby.

---

PREDICTED WINNER: Broncos.

---

AP Sports Writer Dave Skretta contributed.

---

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org

---

Follow AP Pro Football Writer Arnie Melendrez Stapleton on Twitter: http://twitter.com/arniestapleton

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Adrian PetersonApr 16 02:22p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson has been informed that he will be reinstated from the commissioner exempt list starting Friday, April 17.

Sammy WatkinsApr 15 11:33p

Buffalo Bills WR Sammy Watkins (hip) is able to work out in some capacity during the team's offseason program, although head coach Rex Ryan indicated Wednesday, April 15, that [ More ]

Kai ForbathApr 15 10:53p

Washington Redskins restricted free-agent PK Kai Forbath posted on social media Wednesday, April 15, that he has re-signed with the team. The club has not yet confirmed the signing.

George JohnsonApr 15 08:33a

Detroit Lions DE George Johnson was acquired by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Wednesday, April 15. Tampa signed Johnson to an offer sheet that was disputed by Detroit, but the [ More ]

Philip RiversApr 15 12:13a

San Diego Chargers QB Philip Rivers is under contract for one more season, and he has expressed a desire to play out his deal. However, the Chargers might be [ More ]

Josh GordyApr 14 06:03p

Free-agent CB Josh Gordy (Colts) signed a veteran minimum deal with the New York Giants Tuesday, April 14, according to a source.

Ricardo LocketteApr 14 05:23p

Seattle Seahawks WR Ricardo Lockette signed his exclusive-rights tender Tuesday, April 14.

Ike TaylorApr 14 09:32a

Free-agent CB Ike Taylor (Steelers) announced his retirement Tuesday, April 14.

Wade SmithApr 14 02:12a

Free-agent OG Wade Smith (Eagles) announced his retirement after 12 years in the National Football League.

Michael CrabtreeApr 14 01:13a

The Oakland Raiders are giving free-agent WR Michael Crabtree (49ers) a one-year, $3 million deal with another $2 million in incentives, a source said Monday, April 13.

Eben BrittonApr 14 01:03a

Free-agent OT Eben Britton (Bears) has been suspended four games by the NFL for an unspecified violation.

Matt ForteApr 13 08:02p

Chicago Bears RB Matt Forte was not present for the start of the offseason workouts Monday, April 13, according to sources. Forte is entering the final year of his [ More ]

Cody LatimerApr 13 08:02p

Denver Broncos WR Cody Latimer, who is expected to line up across from WR Demaryius Thomas in 2015, has been praised by WR Emmanuel Sanders, who figures to move [ More ]

Joe MaysApr 13 04:32p

Free-agent LB Joe Mays (Chiefs) signed an undisclosed deal with the New York Jets Monday, April 13.

Zackary BowmanApr 13 02:22p

Free-agent CB Zack Bowman (Giants) signed an undisclosed deal with the Miami Dolphins Monday, April 13.

Sean RichardsonApr 13 02:02p

Green Bay Packers restricted free-agent SS Sean Richardson will remain with the Packers after the team decided to match the one-year, $2.55 million offer he signed with the Oakland Raiders, according to a source.

Sean RichardsonApr 12 10:02a

Green Bay Packers restricted free-agent SS Sean Richardson signed an offer sheet with the Oakland Raiders, and the Packers have until Monday, April 13, to inform him if they [ More ]

Jason CampbellApr 12 07:02a

Free-agent QB Jason Campbell (Bengals) is considering retirement, according to sources close to the team. Campbell has rejected multiple opportunities to sign a contract for 2015, including offers from [ More ]

James CaseyApr 11 01:02p

Free-agent TE James Casey (Eagles) agreed to terms on a one-year deal with the Denver Broncos Saturday, April 11. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Johnny ManzielApr 11 12:22p

Cleveland Browns QB Johnny Manziel has been released from his rehab facility.

Victor ButlerApr 10 03:22p

New York Giants LB Victor Butler has been suspended for the first four games of the 2015 season for violating the NFL's policy on performance enhancing drugs.

Anthony SpencerApr 10 01:12p

Free-agent DE Anthony Spencer (Cowboys) signed a one-year deal with the New Orleans Saints Friday, April 10. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Charles TillmanApr 9 04:02p

Free-agent CB Charles Tillman (Bears) signed a one-year deal with the Carolina Panthers Thursday, April 9. Terms of the contract were not disclosed.

Rob HouslerApr 9 12:42p

Free-agent TE Rob Housler (Cardinals) has agreed to terms with the Cleveland Browns on a one-year deal, according to a source. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Le'Veon BellApr 9 09:52a

Pittsburgh Steelers RB Le'Veon Bell was suspended three games and fined an additional game check after violating the league's substance abuse policy, according to league sources. He has appealed.

Stevan RidleyApr 8 07:53p

New York Jets RB Stevan Ridley signed a one-year deal with the team.

Amobi OkoyeApr 8 04:53p

Dallas Cowboys DT Amobi Okoye was released Wednesday, April 8.

Emmanuel LamurApr 8 03:43p

Cincinnati Bengals LB Emmanuel Lamur officially re-signed Wednesday, April 8, to a one-year, $2.356 million deal.

Adrian PetersonApr 8 01:33p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson is 'highly unlikely' to face more suspension from the league when he's finally off the Commissioner's Exempt List, according to a source. Peterson's next [ More ]

George JohnsonApr 7 10:23p

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers signed restricted free-agent DE George Johnson (Lions) to a three-year offer sheet Tuesday, April 7. Financial terms are undisclosed. The Lions have five days to match the offer.

Le'Veon BellApr 7 05:23p

Pittsburgh Steelers RB Le'Veon Bell is expected to be suspended for the first two games of next season, according to sources. Bell is being suspended following an arrest last [ More ]

Erin HendersonApr 7 05:13p

Free-agent LB Erin Henderson (Vikings) agreed to terms on an undisclosed deal with the New York Jets Tuesday, April 7, according to a source. Henderson didn't play last year [ More ]

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2015 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group