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AFC West mailbag

11/17/2010

Weekend mail call:

Ryan Friar from Mankato, Minn., wants to know what I thought of the replay machine malfunction during the Denver-Kansas City game on Sunday.

Bill Williamson: Just to recap: Kansas City challenged a long touchdown pass from Kyle Orton to Jabar Gaffney that gave Denver a 21-0 lead near the end of the first quarter. The Chiefs argued that Gaffney didn’t have control of the ball. It was close, but it would have been difficult to overturn. After a long delay, the official announced that the replay machine was inoperable and the play on the field would stand. This happened in Denver in 2008 (the infamous Ed Hochuli game) and a call went Denver’s way. The NFL has to look at this situation. There has to be a backup plan. There are all kinds of replay opportunities in the stadium. If the official machine doesn’t work (it did work late in the game Sunday) there has to be a secondary machine. One of these days this is going to cost a team game and the league is going to be embarrassed.

Jeff from Surprise, Ariz., wants to know if I think the Raiders can win the AFC West.

BW: Sure, why not. The Raiders control their own destiny. They are 5-4 and tied for first place with Kansas City. Yet, Oakland has beaten Kansas City and is 3-0 against the AFC West, so it has a tiebreaker. If the Raiders stay the course, they have a strong chance of winning the division. The key games remaining for Oakland are two road tests. If the Raiders win at San Diego on Dec. 5 and at Kansas City in the season finale on Jan.2, they have a real good chance of winning their division for the first time in eight years.

Jimmy from San Francisco wants to know what I think of Oakland fullback Marcel Reece.

BW: He’s been a real find for the Raiders. A college receiver at Washington, Reece is an athletic player who has adjusted well to playing fullback. He is improving as a blocker and he has nice hands out of the backfield. He gives Oakland’s offense an interesting wrinkle. I think this is an ascending player.