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AFC West Stock Watch

10/10/2011

FALLING

1. Kyle Orton, Denver quarterback: This is two-fold. As Orton falls, Tim Tebow rises in Denver. There is virtually no way Denver will go back to Orton as the starter. He is 6-22 in his last 28 starts as the Broncos' quarterback, and Tebow -- much to the delight of the home crowd -- nearly brought the Broncos back from a 13-point deficit Sunday. Tebow’s rise is Orton’s fall.

2. The Chargers in the red zone: San Diego has no problem moving the ball -- until the Chargers hit their opponent’s 20-yard line. The Chargers have turned the ball over or had to settle for field goals in the red zone all season. They were 1-for-5 in the red zone in Week 5. The wasted scoring opportunities are going to hurt this team now that the schedule toughens unless the Chargers figure out their red-zone woes.

3. Talk that Kansas City coach Todd Haley is on the hot seat: There were reports that Haley was on the hot seat after the Chiefs were beat by a total of 89-10 in the first two games. However, the Chiefs have won two straight games -- including coming back from 17-0 at Indianapolis on Sunday -- and they are fighting hard despite their spate of early-season injuries. Haley is a good coach and neither he nor his team will quit.

RISING

1. Positive momentum in Oakland: The Raiders are coming off arguably their most special regular-season win in history as they secured a win at Houston the day after the death of owner Al Davis. The Raiders are 3-2 and go home for three straight games against Cleveland, Kansas City and Denver. The Raiders have a real chance of being 6-2 at the midway point.

2. Jackie Battle, Kansas City running back: It looks like the Chiefs have their top running option with Jamaal Charles out for the year. Battle had 119 yards on 19 carries in a comeback win at Indianapolis. The Chiefs love to run and they will give Battle plenty of options to duplicate his success after their Week 6 bye.

3. Darrius Heyward-Bey, Oakland receiver: Heyward-Bey has put together two solid games in a row. He had a big touchdown Sunday at Houston and he had a team-high 99 yards on seven catches in the Oakland win. The No. 7 overall pick of the 2009 draft is starting to pay dividends.