AFC West Stock Watch

September, 12, 2012
9/12/12
8:00
AM ET
Falling

Oakland backup long-snapper Travis Goethel: Goethel was put in a tough spot, but he will forever live in infamy in the Raider Nation. After Pro Bowl long-snapper Jon Condo left the game with a head injury Monday night, Goethel had three bad snaps in a row in the third quarter that directly resulted in nine points for San Diego in a 22-14 Chargers win. Goethel will likely never snap another ball for the Raiders.

Kansas City defense: The Chiefs allowed Atlanta to score 40 points on Sunday in a 40-24 loss. Granted, the Chiefs were without four defensive starters. But allowing 40 points is simply not giving your offense a chance to win the game. The Chiefs should get healthier soon, but the defense was a big problem to start the season.

Chargers’ red zone offense: The Chargers were given great field position on four Oakland turnovers. Yet, the Chargers couldn’t do much with them. San Diego was 1-for-5 in the red zone. Yes, the Chargers won, but red zone offense is an area this team must improve on.

Rising

Denver quarterback Peyton Manning: Manning didn’t look like he didn’t play in 19 months. He didn’t look like he had four neck surgeries and he didn’t look 36. He looked brilliant in his Denver debut, a 31-19 win over Pittsburgh. He looked like himself. That is great news for Denver and not-so-great news for the rest of the NFL.

Chargers defense: The Chargers focused on improving the defense in the offseason after a second straight playoff-less season. The defensive concentration paid off. San Diego was terrific against the run and against the pass. It dictated the game and was very physical. This unit has real potential.

Denver’s defense: Denver’s defense made great strides in 2011 after being the worst defense in the NFL in 2010. Against Pittsburgh, in the debut of new defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio, Denver looked better than last season. It sacked Ben Roethlisberger five times and it held the Steelers to 75 yards rushing. That combination can win a lot of games.

Bill Williamson | email

ESPN Oakland Raiders reporter

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