June 22, 2024

AFC West Roundup, Week 18: The final standings

The AFC West finishes the year as the second-worst divison in the NFL

For all but one AFC West team, the season is over. For Denver and Los Angeles, the year ends in disappointment and the Las Vegas Raiders finish the year on top of the Denver Broncos once again. That sucks.

Well, let’s put a bow on the 2023 regular season.

AFC West Standings

Team W L T Div. Conf.
Kansas City Chiefs 11 6 0 4-2 9-3
Las Vegas Raiders 8 9 0 4-2 6-6
Denver Broncos 8 9 0 3-3 5-7
Los Angeles Chargers 5 12 0 1-5 3-9

Denver Broncos @ Las Vegas Raiders

Final score: 14-27

Recap: The hard part about this game is that it started close and the Broncos had some hope of finally beating the Raiders for the first time since they moved to Las Vegas. But then that all went away in the second quarter.

The game started with three consecutive punts, two from the Broncos and either team with a three-and-out. The Raiders would then drive 78 yards on their second offensive possession, capping it off with a Jakobi Meyers touchdown. The Broncos would respond on the following drive with a 24-yard touchdown reception by Jerry Jeudy that featured 19 yards after the catch. The Raiders would follow that drive up with a field goal, and the then Broncos would punt on their following two drives. The half would end with a 12-play, 98-yard touchdown drive that would essentially ice the game.

NFL: Denver Broncos at Las Vegas Raiders

Denver had plenty of opportunities in the second half to win, but they would fail to do so. They had a drive that ended with a turnover-on-downs at the Vegas 36-yard line and an interception at the Vegas 43-yard line with a minute left to go. They did manage a touchdown at the beginning of the fourth quarter, but that came after another Jakobi Meyers touchdown by the Raiders. There’s a lot of issues on the Broncos defense. We’ll see if they’re able to solve that in the offseason.

Injury concerns: WR Courtland Sutton had an ankle injury during the game. TE Nate Adkins had a concussion during the game. LB Nik Bonitto and RB Jaleel McLaughlin had a calf injury during the game.

Kansas City Chiefs @ Los Angeles Chargers

Final score: 13-12

Recap: You could tell that one team was resting their starters and the other team was down to a bunch of backups with an interim coach. This game was awful. There was only one touchdown scored the entire game and it wasn’t even scored by an offense.

That lone touchdown came on the second drive of the game. After the Chargers drove down to the Kansas City 5-yard line, Easton Stick would be strip-sacked on a 3rd and goal, and the Chiefs would recover and run it back for a touchdown. The half would end with five straight punts, a Chiefs and then a Chargers field goal, and then a Chiefs interception that the Chargers would turn into another field goal.

The second half would be another 30 minutes of offensive inability (pun intended). The Chiefs would have five drives on offense in the half. Their first three ended in punts, and then they managed a field goal. Their last drive would be a kneel-down to end the game. The Chargers also had five drives on offense, with their first ending in a punt and then their second ending with a field goal. They would then punt and kick another field goal. Los Angeles had a chance to win the game when they took possession with 46 seconds remaining, but they would turn the ball over on downs after four plays that went for eight yards.

2023 predictions

Apparently, I never had a good feel for the division as my season prediction record ends at just 39-28 following the Broncos’ loss. I hope your predictions faired better than mine did.

READ MORE:

A couple of defensive coordinators have landed on the list of candidates for the Chargers head coaching job.

According to multiple reports, the Chargers have requested interviews with Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn and Raiders defensive coordinator Patrick Graham. The Chargers fired head coach Brandon Staley and General Manager Tom Telesco during the regular season.

Quinn has been a popular name in the last couple of head coaching cycles, but he’s pulled his name from consideration and returned to Dallas both times. It looks like he’ll be popular again this offseason as reports indicate the Panthers and Commanders have also put in for a chance to interview him.

Graham’s current employer is looking for a permanent head coach, so he could win up on the interview list there and could remain on the staff if interim head coach Antonio Pierce winds up with the position.

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