AFC West: 2013 NFL Week 8 Power Rankings

Power Rankings: No. 3 Denver Broncos

October, 22, 2013
10/22/13
2:00
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A weekly examination of the Broncos’ ESPN.com Power Ranking:

Preseason: 3 | Last week: 1 | ESPN.com Power Ranking since 2002

It took seven games, a pile of staggering offensive numbers and one bad week, but the Broncos are right back where they started in ESPN.com’s Power Rankings. With their 39-33 loss to the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday night in Lucas Oil Stadium, the Broncos fell out of the top spot, to No. 3.

The game marked quarterback Peyton Manning’s return to Indianapolis, complete with a pregame tribute, and linebacker Von Miller’s return to the Broncos' lineup after a six-game suspension. Neither worked out quite as the Broncos had hoped, with Manning looking unsettled at times against an aggressive Colts defense that consistently flustered the Broncos wide receivers and forced a Manning fumble as well as an interception.

Miller, too, looked sluggish and rusty at times in his return to the lineup -- he finished with two tackles and did not have a sack. And the extra 10 to 15 pounds he said he added during his time out of the lineup didn’t appear, at least in his first game back, to have helped him. He was not as explosive as he’s been, or as the Broncos need him to be moving forward.

The Broncos face the Redskins on Sunday before a much-needed bye week. They have yet to field their full starting defense because of injuries -- to cornerback Champ Bailey (left foot) and linebacker Wesley Woodyard (neck) of late -- and Miller’s suspension.

“I’m a believer in you get better every week, hopefully, you’re learning all the time, regardless of game outcomes,’’ Broncos coach John Fox said. “Not too many teams go through these seasons unscathed. I think it’s only been done once in 35 years. ... I expect us to learn just like all mistakes -- you admit them, you’ve got to fix them and do your best not to let them happen again.’’

Power Rankings: No. 12 San Diego

October, 22, 2013
10/22/13
2:00
PM ET
A weekly examination of the Chargers' ESPN.com Power Ranking:

Preseason ranking: 23 | Last Week: 15 | ESPN.com Power Ranking since 2002

Continuing their ascent up the Power Rankings, the San Diego Chargers moved up three more spots to No. 12 after handling winless Jacksonville on the road over the weekend.

The Chargers now head into the bye week above .500 for the first time this season at 4-3. If the playoffs were to begin today, San Diego would be the No. 6 seed in the AFC. The last time the AFC West had three teams in the postseason was 1993.

But San Diego has a lot of work ahead if it wants to remain in the playoff conversation. The Chargers have three of their next four games on the road, including trips back East to Washington and Miami.

San Diego also faces its first home AFC West divisional matchup when the Chargers host Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos on Nov. 10. The Chargers travel to Kansas City two weeks later. San Diego’s next four opponents are a combined 18-8.
A weekly examination of the Raiders' ESPN.com Power Ranking:

Preseason: 29 | Last Week: 26 | ESPN.com Power Ranking since 2002

There is no truth to the rumor that the Raiders’ bye week was favored over the Raiders ... even if Oakland fell two spots in our weekly Power Rankings without playing a game. Such is life for a team that could just as easily be 4-2 or even 5-1 rather than 2-4 and preparing to play host to a Pittsburgh Steelers team that has seemingly righted itself with two straight victories.

This much is true, though: Oakland has not won its first game coming out of a bye since 2002, when the Raiders pummeled Tennessee 52-25 en route to the Super Bowl. Since then? The Raiders have gone 0-10 and lost by an average score of 27-14 in post-bye regular-season games.

Talk about your hangovers. Who comes close to such futility? Per Elias Sports Bureau, the Seahawks are 3-7, while the Bengals, 49ers and Rams are all 3-6-1 in that same time frame coming off a bye.

The Raiders are also hinging many hopes on the health of their offensive line, especially centers Stefen Wisniewski and Andre Gurode and right tackle Tony Pashos. Looking for a positive? Pittsburgh has not won in Oakland since 1995 -- the Steelers lost in the East Bay in 2006 and 2012.
A weekly examination of the Packers’ ESPN.com Power Ranking:

Preseason: 19 | Last Week: 2 | ESPN.com Power Ranking since 2002

To the NFL’s last unbeaten team goes certain privileges. One of them is that the 7-0 Kansas City Chiefs are No. 1 in this week’s ESPN Power Rankings.

The Chiefs have a lot going for them, most importantly a defense that has choked off seven opponents for long stretches. But have we seen enough of them to say definitively they are the league’s best team?

They certainly have to be in the discussion, along with the Denver Broncos, Seattle Seahawks, New Orleans Saints and Indianapolis Colts. Much of the discussion is subjective, but this is fact: The Chiefs and Saints are the only teams from this group that haven’t played any of those other top-ranked teams.

So we’re not sure how they would stand up if they, say, had to go to Indianapolis to play the Colts, as the Broncos did last week. Kansas City’s best win, according to ESPN’s rankings, was its 17-16 victory over the Dallas Cowboys last month at Arrowhead Stadium. The Cowboys are No. 10 now.

The Colts have wins over the Seahawks and Broncos, but also a home loss to the Miami Dolphins. Seattle has that loss to the Colts, but a win over the San Francisco 49ers. The Saints and Broncos have, like the Chiefs, played weak schedules except for their single defeats (New Orleans at New England, Denver at Indianapolis).

So if I’m voting, I have the Chiefs at No. 2, behind the Seahawks and ahead of -- in order -- the Colts, Broncos and Saints.

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