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

Eric DeckerSep 19 03:07p

New York Jets WR Eric Decker (hamstring) did not participate in practice Friday, Sept. 19. Head coach Rex Ryan suggested that Decker would not have to practice to be [ More ]

Jamaal CharlesSep 19 03:05p

Kansas City Chiefs RB Jamaal Charles (ankle) was practicing with the team for the second straight day Friday, Sept. 19, after missing practice Wednesday, Sept. 17, with a high [ More ]

Josh GordonSep 19 03:02p

Cleveland Browns WR Josh Gordon's suspension has officially been reduced from 16 games to 10 games, according to the NFL and NFL Players Association.

Josh McCownSep 19 03:02p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Josh McCown (thumb) will start Week 4 if he is healthy enough to play, according to head coach Lovie Smith.

C. WhitehurstSep 19 03:02p

Tennessee Titans CB Jason McCourty (groin) was limited in practice Friday, Sept. 19, and is questionable for Week 3. QB Charlie Whitehurst (finger) and LB Wesley Woodyard (ankle) fully [ More ]

Colin ColeSep 19 02:52p

Carolina Panthers RB Fozzy Whittaker (thigh) is listed as doubtful for Week 3. WR Jason Avant (thigh) and WR Jerricho Cotchery (thigh) are listed as questionable, while OT Byron [ More ]

Keith RiversSep 19 02:52p

Buffalo Bills LB Randell Johnson (knee) did not participate in practice Friday, Sept. 19, and has been ruled out for Week 3. LB Keith Rivers (groin) was limited in [ More ]

Jordan CameronSep 19 02:42p

Cleveland Browns TE Jordan Cameron (shoulder) will be a game-time decision in Week 3 against the Baltimore Ravens. Head coach Mike Pettine said he was 'cautiously optimistic' that Cameron [ More ]

Wes WelkerSep 19 02:42p

Denver Broncos WR Wes Welker (concussion) has practiced with the team all week and is ready to play in Week 3 against the Seattle Seahawks. He practiced in full [ More ]

DeAngelo WilliamsSep 19 02:32p

Carolina Panthers RB DeAngelo Williams (thigh) was limited during practice Friday, Sept. 19, and is listed as questionable for Week 3.

Todd HerremansSep 19 02:22p

Philadelphia Eagles LB Mychal Kendricks (calf) has been ruled out for Week 3. WR Josh Huff (shoulder) is listed as doubtful, OT Matt Tobin (ankle) and SS Earl Wolff [ More ]

DeSean JacksonSep 19 02:22p

Washington Redskins WR DeSean Jackson (shoulder), who was limited in practice Friday, Sept. 19, didn't look 100 percent fluid in individual drills, but he was able to catch the [ More ]

Steve WeatherfordSep 19 02:12p

New York Giants LB Jon Beason (foot) and LB Devon Kennard (hamstring) both did not participate in practice Friday, Sept. 19, and have been ruled out for the team's [ More ]

Odell Beckham Jr.Sep 19 02:12p

New York Giants WR Odell Beckham Jr. (hamstring) did not participate in practice Friday, Sept. 19, and has been ruled out for Week 3.

Ben TateSep 19 01:32p

Cleveland Browns RB Ben Tate (knee) did not participate in practice Friday, Sept. 19, and has been ruled out for Week 3.

Josh McCownSep 19 01:22p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Josh McCown (thumb) is scheduled to have an MRI on a thumb injury Friday, Sept. 19. The belief is that the thumb is sprained.

DeSean JacksonSep 19 12:42p

Washington Redskins WR DeSean Jackson (shoulder) is listed as questionable for Week 3 against the Philadelphia Eagles. Head coach Jay Gruden said Jackson made steps in a 'positive direction,' [ More ]

Jordan ReedSep 19 12:42p

Washington Redskins TE Jordan Reed (hamstring) has been ruled out of Week 3 against the Philadelphia Eagles.

John AbrahamSep 19 12:32p

Arizona Cardinals LB John Abraham (concussion) was placed on the Reserve/Injured list Friday, Sept. 19.

Jonathan DwyerSep 19 12:22p

Arizona Cardinals RB Jonathan Dwyer, who was charged in a domestic violence case involving his wife and young son, may not return to the team unless he's exonerated from [ More ]

Josh McCownSep 19 12:02p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Josh McCown (thumb) doesn't yet have a defined timetable to return, head coach Lovie Smith said. Smith also didn't address whether QB Mike Glennon would [ More ]

Paul KrugerSep 19 11:42a

Cleveland Browns LB Paul Kruger has two sacks, eight tackles (three for a loss) and a pass defensed. He's having a breakthrough in the new system designed by head [ More ]

A.J. GreenSep 19 10:52a

Cincinnati Bengals WR A.J. Green (toe) said he feels good Friday, Sept. 19, and is ready to play in Week 3.

Shaun HillSep 19 09:42a

St. Louis Rams QB Shaun Hill (thigh) will be a game-time decision in Week 3.

Cam NewtonSep 19 09:32a

Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton (ribs, ankle) is unlikely to be 100 percent the rest of the season. He experiences pain the night after the games and receives treatment [ More ]

Julio JonesSep 19 09:12a

Atlanta Falcons WR Julio Jones, who was probable entering Week 3 of the NFL season, hauled in nine catches for 161 yards and scored twice in a 56-14 win [ More ]

Bobby RaineySep 19 09:02a

Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB Bobby Rainey, starting in place of injured RB Doug Martin (knee), led the team with seven catches for 64 yards Thursday, Sept. 18, against the [ More ]

Josh McCownSep 19 03:22a

Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Lovie Smith said it is too soon to tell how long QB Josh McCown (thumb) may be out following his thumb injury suffered Thursday, Sept. [ More ]

Shelby HarrisSep 19 02:32a

Although the Oakland Raiders waived DE Shelby Harris, the team may still re-sign him back to the practice squad.

Emmanuel AchoSep 19 12:42a

Philadelphia Eagles LB Mychal Kendricks (calf) is considered very doubtful for the team's Week 3 game, according to head coach Chip Kelly. LB Emmanuel Acho likely would start at [ More ]

Derek CoxSep 19 12:32a

The Chicago Bears worked out free-agent WR Damian Williams (Dolphins), WR Kyle Williams (Chiefs), CB Derek Cox (Ravens) and CB Brandon Ghee (Chargers) this week.

LaMichael JamesSep 18 11:32p

The Miami Dolphins have expressed interest in free-agent RB LaMichael James (49ers) and it is believed that he has some interest in the team. James is expected to take [ More ]

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2014 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group