AFC West: 2013 NFL Week 9 Power Rankings

A weekly examination of the Chiefs’ ESPN.com Power Ranking:

Preseason: 19 | Last Week: 1 | ESPN.com Power Ranking since 2002

With a home victory last week against the Cleveland Browns, the Kansas City Chiefs did nothing to show they didn’t deserve the top spot in this week’s ESPN Power Rankings.

So the Chiefs remain at No. 1, and as long as they keep winning, it’s going to be difficult to unseat them from that top spot. They’re on the road this week against the 3-5 Bills, and a win there should keep the Chiefs at No. 1.

Then things get interesting for the Chiefs. They’ll face the Denver Broncos, currently ranked No. 2, twice in a three-week period. The other game in that stretch will be against the San Diego Chargers, currently No. 11.

If the Chiefs can somehow sweep those three games (two of them will be played at Arrowhead Stadium), they’ll be tough to knock from the No. 1 spot the remainder of the season unless they collapse in December.

Power Rankings: No. 2 Denver Broncos

October, 29, 2013
10/29/13
2:00
PM ET
A weekly examination of the Broncos’ ESPN.com Power Ranking:

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

After scoring at least 41 points in game for the fifth time this season (this time in a 45-21 win against the Washington Redskins), the Denver Broncos wheeled into a much-needed bye week and moved up a spot in the ESPN.com Power Rankings.

And with their 343 points in tow, they are the highest-scoring team in league history after eight games, while quarterback Peyton Manning’s 2,919 yards passing are the most by a quarterback after eight games. Manning’s 29 touchdown passes are already more than he had in six of his previous seasons as an NFL starter and the second-highest total after eight games, behind Tom Brady’s 30 at the halfway mark in 2007.

But what could be some additional bad news for others in the league? The Broncos finally showed a little of the defensive edge this past Sunday that they had in 2012, when they finished among the league leaders in virtually every defensive category. The Broncos held the Redskins to just 266 total yards, while Washington quarterback Robert Griffin III rushed for just seven yards on five carries while throwing for 132.

It was exactly the kind of effort defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio had been waiting for, and one Broncos coach John Fox declared as the unit’s best outing in a season that has been a struggle at times on that side of the ball.

"Without a doubt. ... I think for whatever reason we hadn’t executed as well up to that point," Fox said. "We have some real high-character guys in there and they decided they were going to get it right. That was as right as we’ve been up to this point."
A weekly examination of the Raiders' ESPN.com Power Ranking:

Preseason: 29 | Last Week: 28 | ESPN.com Power Ranking since 2002

A hang-on-for-dear-life 21-18 win over the visiting Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday -- the Raiders’ third straight defeat of their ancient rivals in the East Bay dating back to 2006 -- has Oakland riding high ... and at its highest point in our Power Rankings this season.

The Raiders jump six spots and, with six straight games coming up against teams that do not currently have winning records, they’re looking to make a little noise, even as they sit at 3-4. Still, they’ve been in every game save one, at Denver.

Plus, Oakland’s defense is rounding into shape as the No. 10 ranked unit in the league under a coordinator not afraid to let an official know how he, um, feels. And after quarterback Terrelle Pryor’s 93-yard gallop to open the game set an NFL record for longest touchdown run by a quarterback and eclipsed Bo Jackson’s 92-yard sprint from 1989 as the franchise’s longest run from scrimmage, the Raiders are feeling good about themselves. And why not? The challenge, then, is to maintain the momentum against a beaten-up Philadelphia Eagles team and for the offense to not go stagnant in the second half.
SAN DIEGO -- A weekly examination of the Chargers' ESPN.com Power Ranking:

Preseason: 23 | Last Week: 12 | ESPN.com Power Ranking since 2002

Idle for Week 7, the San Diego Chargers moved up another spot to No. 11 in this week's Power Rankings, the highest the team has been this season.

But the real question is, will San Diego remain in the top 15 in four weeks? The Chargers play three of their next four games on the road, facing opponents with a combined 18-8 record.

The first test in that tough stretch is a road contest at Washington, traveling across the country to the East Coast to face a team that is more talented than a 2-5 record indicates. The Chargers will need a game plan defensively to deal with the running ability of quarterback Robert Griffin III, along with the bruising running style of Alfred Morris.

Plus, San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers understands that Washington defensive coordinator Jim Haslett likes to show a lot of different looks and bring pressure in his 3-4 defensive front.

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