AFC West Stock Watch

September, 26, 2012
9/26/12
8:00
AM ET
Falling

San Diego Chargers' status as a top team: Last week, the Chargers were one of six 2-0 teams. They looked terrific on both sides of the ball after early-season wins over the Oakland Raiders and the Tennessee Titans. However, now they look ordinary team after being whipped 27-3 at home by Atlanta. The Falcons are one of the best teams in the NFL and they toyed with the Chargers. San Diego did not belong on the same field as Atlanta.

Outside belief in Peyton Manning: Manning has lost two straight games in Denver and there are whispers that he is far from the quarterback he was. But the truth is Denver is thrilled with Manning. They think he is fine and he will only get healthier and more comfortable. The talk about Manning being over the hill will persist if the losing continues.

Chargers' trust in Ryan Mathews: San Diego coach Norv Turner said he may limit some of Mathews’ carries in certain situations. Mathews has had fumble issues in his short NFL career and lost the ball near the goal line in his season debut on Sunday. Mathews is a talent, but injuries and ball control issues is keeping him from fully blossoming.

Rising

Jamaal Charles' relevance: The Kansas City Chiefs' running back is back. He tore his ACL in his knee in Week 2 last season and was being slowly brought along until Sunday. He had 233 yards on 33 carries as the Chiefs beat New Orleans in overtime. Charles became the fourth running back in NFL history -- joining Jim Brown, O.J. Simpson and Corey Dillon -- to have two 230-plus yards games. Charles is a special player and it is clear he has his speed back.

Raiders’ offensive scheme: The Raiders offense, under new coordinator Greg Knapp, was heavily scrutinized after Oakland struggled as it fell to 0-2. Many folks questioned whether the Raiders had the right personnel for the West Coast offense and the zone-blocking scheme. After Oakland scored 34 points in a Week 3 win over Pittsburgh, fans may be soothed a bit. Both quarterback Carson Palmer and running back Darren McFadden excelled in the win.

Atlanta’s dominance of the AFC West: The Falcons are 3-0 and looked like an elite team. All three of their wins have come against AFC West opponents. They blew out Kansas City and San Diego and survive a late comeback from Denver. The Chiefs end their AFC West schedule in Week 5 against visiting Oakland.

Bill Williamson | email

ESPN Oakland Raiders reporter

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AFC WEST SCOREBOARD

Saturday, 12/20
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