Midseason report: AFC West MVPs

November, 9, 2011
11/09/11
1:00
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Midseason MVPs: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South

Here are my picks for midseason most valuable player for each team in the division:

Denver Broncos: Willis McGahee

McGahee is turning out to be a fine free-agent addition for the Broncos. He leads the AFC West with 623 yards rushing. McGahee, 30, is averaging 5.1 yards a carry. Signed to be a complementary back, McGahee has been, by far, more productive than expected starter Knowshon Moreno. McGahee, who had a combined 209 carries in the past two seasons with Baltimore, took over a Week 9 game in Oakland with 163 yards on 17 carries, including touchdown runs of 60 and 24 yards in the second half as the Broncos stunned the Raiders. Denver is 3-5 and one game off the pace in the AFC West. McGahee is a big reason the Broncos are in the race.

[+] EnlargeDwyane Bowe
Mike Carter/US PresswireDwayne Bowe has 39 catches for 646 yards and four touchdowns for the 4-4 Chiefs.
Kansas City Chiefs: Dwayne Bowe

Bowe is continuing to show he is one of the NFL’s better receivers. He leads the AFC West with 646 receiving yards. Bowe makes the rest of the offensive players in Kansas City better and he is the Chiefs' top offensive weapon with Jamaal Charles out for the season. Bowe is a prospective free agent and he is again showing Kansas City management he needs a contract extension.

Oakland Raiders: Darren McFadden

We are seeing McFadden’s true value to the Raiders with him on the sideline. He has been out with a foot injury since early in Week 7 and Oakland has not been competitive since he's been out. He was an early candidate for the NFL MVP award and is averaging 5.4 yards a carry with 614 rushing yards. This is the second straight season in which McFadden has been a dominant force. If he can quickly come back and stay healthy, the Raiders will have a strong chance of emerging as division champions.

San Diego Chargers: Eric Weddle

This was my toughest decision. Quarterback Philip Rivers has put up big yardage and he has his share of big plays. Yet Rivers has thrown 14 interceptions and he has made key mistakes in all four of the Chargers’ losses. If he would have cut his mistakes in half, the Chargers would be 6-2 or 7-1. Plus, several other key weapons, such as receiver Vincent Jackson, tight end Antonio Gates, running backs Ryan Mathews and Mike Tolbert and linebacker Shaun Phillips have been dealing with injuries. But Weddle has been a steadying force for this team. The San Diego secondary has been mostly stable and the play-making Weddle has been a strong anchor. He has five interceptions, which is tied for the NFL lead. Weddle is justifying the big-dollar contract extension the team gave him this summer.

Bill Williamson | email

ESPN San Francisco 49ers reporter

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