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Thursday, December 18, 2008
AFC West areas of improvement

By Bill Williamson
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson

Here is one area each AFC West team needs to improve upon in Week 16:

Denver Broncos

Stop the pass: With Denver keying on stopping Carolina's run attack, the Panthers smoked Denver in the passing game. Panthers receiver Steve Smith had nine catches for 165 yards. The Broncos need to tighten their pass defense against Buffalo while making sure Marshawn Lynch doesn't kill them. Perhaps star cornerback Champ Bailey will return Sunday after missing seven games with a groin injury. It wouldn't hurt Denver's chances that's for sure.

Kansas City Chiefs

Finish games: Same old story in Kansas City. Nothing changes. The Chiefs blew an 18-point lead last week to San Diego. The Chargers scored two touchdowns in the final 79 seconds to stun Kansas City. It shouldn't be stunned any longer, though. It was Kansas City's fifth blown lead in the past eight games. Can it change against Miami?

Oakland Raiders

Pass defense: Houston could have a big game Sunday. The Patriots passed the ball at will against Oakland as they compiled 49 points. The Patriots probably could have scored two or three more times. Rob Ryan's defense has to improve this week.

San Diego Chargers

Running game: Much like the Chiefs and their persistent problems blowing games, the Chargers have had issues running the ball all season. Running back LaDainian Tomlinson is just not getting it done. He had 39 yards on 15 carries. If the Chargers are going to win at Tampa Bay, Tomlinson and his run blockers must step it up.