Audibles: AFC West Week 15 preview

December, 12, 2008
12/12/08
4:00
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson

San Diego Chargers (5-8) at Kansas City Chiefs (2-11), 1 p.m. ET

  

If the Chargers believe they are going to get an easy victory in Kansas City, they should think again.

The Chiefs may be 2-11, but they are not just playing out their schedule. Working the Chiefs' locker room after their 24-17 loss at Denver last weekend, it was very clear the Chiefs still have a lot of fight remaining in them.

They aren't giving up. The Chiefs want to finish strong and make this brutal season worth something.

Herman Edwards could be coaching for his job. Quarterback Tyler Thigpen is definitely playing for his position as a starter. All of the Chiefs' youngsters are playing for the future.

Kansas City has been very competitive in the past seven weeks, yet it has won just one game during that stretch, blowing late leads in four games.

"We have to start winning," Chiefs' tight end Tony Gonzalez said. "We have to stop blowing games. We have to finish strong."

The Chargers should know Kansas City means business. The Chiefs blew a halftime lead in San Diego last month and they nearly beat the Chargers in the final minute. The Chargers need to beat Kansas City to keep their faint playoff hopes alive.

Denver Broncos (8-5) at Carolina Panthers (10-3), 4:15 p.m. ET

  

After the Broncos selected offensive tackle Ryan Clady at No. 12 in last April's draft, the Panthers snatched up running back Jonathan Stewart with the next pick.

While Denver could surely use Stewart these days after losing six tailbacks to injury this season, the team wouldn't give up Clady. He has been terrific, allowing just half a sack all season.

In 13 starts, Clady has been as good as any tackle in the NFL.

He will get a big test Sunday in the form of Carolina defensive end Julius Peppers, who has 12.5 sacks this season. However, Clady has played against other NFL sack-masters and he's fared beautifully. Clady shut down both NFL sack leader Joey Porter, who has 16.5 sacks, and Atlanta's John Abraham, who has 12.5 sacks.

While Denver could use a runner these days, they absolutely need Clady, who is keeping standout quarterback Jay Cutler upright heading into this game. If the Broncos win, they can clinch the AFC West title.

New England Patriots (8-5) at Oakland Raiders (3-10), 4:15 p.m. ET

  

We just have a feeling about Randy Moss.

It's just a feeling. But we expect Moss to torch the Raiders.

Moss is a prideful player and he turns it on when it counts. It will count for him Sunday in his first return to Oakland since the Raiders traded him in 2007 to the Patriots.

Moss had two mostly disappointing seasons in Oakland after the Raiders acquired him in a pricey trade with Minnesota in 2005. The Raiders cut their losses and dispatched Moss, who was being disruptive in his final days in Oakland.

In New England, Moss was reborn. He was rejuvenated by being on a quality team, setting a record for receiving touchdowns last season. Moss was a disappointment in Oakland but we get the feeling he'll show Raiders fans what he can do on Sunday.

Bill Williamson | email

ESPN Oakland Raiders reporter

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AFC WEST SCOREBOARD

Saturday, 12/20
Sunday, 12/21
Monday, 12/22