AFC West Stock Watch

October, 9, 2012
10/09/12
8:00
AM ET
FALLING

The division as a whole: It was a bad weekend for the AFC West. All three teams that played lost. Oakland had the best week ... well, because it was on a bye. At some point, some team in this division is going to need to step up and show it can be a force.

The Chargers’ ability to run away: If the San Diego Chargers don’t make the playoffs -- which would likely spur the end of the Norv Turner era -- their Week 5 loss at New Orleans will be remembered. The Saints scored the final 17 points to win 31-24. Had San Diego not blown its double-digit lead, the Chargers could be leading the division by two games with the chance to lead by three games with a home win against Denver in Week 6.

Sanity in Kansas City: Brady Quinn will likely get his chance to replace Matt Cassel. Eric Winston blasted the home fans for what he said was cheering Cassel’s head injury he suffered in a 9-6 loss to the Ravens. Also, the 1-4 Chiefs had to deal with the fact some fans paid for a plane to fly over the working lot with a banner asking ownership to fire general manager Scott Pioli and bench Cassel. Things are falling apart in Kansas City.

RISING

Peyton Manning, Denver quarterback: The Broncos may be 2-3, but it’s not because Manning is struggling. He has thrown for 683 yards and six touchdowns in the past two games. He hasn’t thrown an interception in the past 15 quarters.

Jamaal Charles’ work load: There was a school of thought the Chiefs would limit Charles’ work load since he is coming off a torn ACL. But Charles has been one of the biggest workhorses in the league. He has 102 carries through five games. He had 30 carries at New Orleans in Week 3 and 30 carries Sunday against Baltimore. On one hand, it's good to see Charles being able to handle the load so soon after his injury, but it is also worrisome that he may be getting too much work.

Confidence in Ryan Mathews: There has been a lot of talk about whether Mathews was even the Chargers’ primary back anymore. Sure, Jackie Battle has been ahead of him at times, but there is no doubt the Chargers want Mathews to carry the load, and they know they will be better shape if he does. Mathews had 80 yards on 12 carries Sunday at New Orleans and he had some big runs. He is digging himself out of the doghouse.

Bill Williamson | email

ESPN San Francisco 49ers reporter

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