How I See It: AFC West Stock Watch

October, 6, 2009
10/06/09
11:00
AM ET

NFC Stock Watch: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South

Posted by ESPN.com’s Bill Williamson


Falling

1. Oakland’s passing game: Oakland coach Tom Cable said the team dropped nine passes from JaMarcus Russell in a 23-point loss to the Texans. Cable was protecting his quarterback a bit. Russell still wasn’t good Sunday, but he does need help from his receivers. Russell called out his receivers somewhat after the game. Yes, he needs help, but he needs to help his receivers as well.

2. Kansas City Chiefs: The Chiefs appear to be getting worse. They competed in their first two games. Kansas City has been blown out of its last two games.

The Chiefs are not playing winning football in any phase right now and they look like they are a candidate to lose 14 to 16 games.

3. San Diego Chargers defense: The Chargers allowed 497 yards of total offense in a 38-28 loss at Pittsburgh Sunday night. The San Diego defense had been playing fairly well, but it was ravaged by the Steelers in both the passing and running game. San Diego has a bye this week. It has to tighten the defense during its time off.

Rising

1. Denver Broncos: The skeptics thought Denver would implode once a tough 10-game stretch began in Week 4 against Dallas.

But the Broncos began the difficult stretch with a 17-10 win over the talented Cowboys. Denver not only showed it can hang with a solid team, but it showed it could make the big plays on both sides of the ball to win.

 Marshall
2. Brandon Marshall, wide receiver, Broncos: Marshall showed Sunday that he is one of the most talented receivers in the NFL. He helped Denver win with a 51-yard catch and run in the final moments to beat Dallas.

Marshall does things few receivers can do in the NFL. He is special. He got off to a slow start in new coach Josh McDaniels’ system because of off-field issues. But Marshall proved Sunday that he can be a big help to the Denver offense.

 Orton
3. Kyle Orton, quarterback, Broncos: Yes, this category is a Denver sweep. But what do you want? Every other AFC West team lost by double digits Sunday and the Broncos are 4-0. Orton, believe it or not, is a big reason why Denver is unbeaten.

A throw-in in the Jay Cutler trade with Chicago, Orton is not spectacular. But he gets the job done and he is a good fit for McDaniels’ offense. Orton has not thrown an interception in four games and just keeps chugging along.

Bill Williamson | email

ESPN San Francisco 49ers reporter

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