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AFC West Race Up for Grabs After Week 3 in the 2012 NFL Season: Fan's Take

Yahoo Contributor Network

The AFC West has finished Week 3, and so far there is no clear leader in the division. With the San Diego Chargers at 2-1 and the Denver Broncos, Kansas City Chiefs, and the Oakland Raiders just a game behind, it's anyone division to win.

San Diego Chargers

The Chargers have benefited from an early schedule that involved playing both the Oakland Raiders and the Tennessee Titans. They were 2-0 against those teams before playing the Atlanta Falcons at home in Week 3. The Chargers had a bit of a reality check in their 27-3 loss to the dominant NFC team. Quarterback Philip Rivers' performances have so far mirrored those of his team's. So far this season he's earned a quarterback rating of 86 with a 67% completion percentage, four touchdowns, and three interceptions. It's difficult to tell just how good the Chargers are yet considering their uneven season, but scoring just three points at home against a quality opponent should be disturbing to Chargers fans.

Denver Broncos

The Broncos have had the hardest schedule so far of their divisional rivals. Finishing first in 2011 ensures that you play all the divisional winners the following season. A win against the Pittsburgh Steelers at home was followed by a close loss in Atlanta to the Falcons (despite four first quarter turnovers). On Sunday the Broncos lost another close finish to the Houston Texans despite the Texans dominating the majority of the game. New quarterback Peyton Manning has had mixed results so far, but it's been clear that he can bring the Broncos back from a deficit against anyone. What might end up preventing the Broncos from winning the division will be their very difficult schedule.

Kansas City Chiefs

I'm fairly sure that just about every NFL fan expected the Chiefs to lose on Sunday to the New Orleans Saints. Starting the season off with an 0-2 record and demonstrating an over-matched defense in those losses against the Atlanta Falcons and the Buffalo Bills, the Chiefs knew they were going to need to find a way to control the potent offense of the Saints in order to win. Of course, getting 233 rushing yards from Jamaal Charles was a major deciding factor in that victory, and the Chiefs are going to win many more games if Charles can continue to produce like a top-10 running back.

Oakland Raiders

The Raiders' season so far has been fairly similar to that of the Chiefs. After a Week 1 loss to the San Diego Chargers and a somewhat embarrassing blowout loss to the Miami Dolphins in Week 2, the Raiders looked like the same old Raiders that everyone picks on. However, the entire team came together with an inspired game against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 3 for an overtime victory. If the Raiders can get consistent performances from quarterback Carson Palmer and running back Darren McFadden, they could make a run in the wide-open AFC West.

Julie is a featured NFL contributor for the Yahoo Contributor Network. A lifelong football fan, she started following the Denver Broncos after moving to Colorado in 2001.

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