AFC West: AFC Stock Watch 2011 Week 1

AFC West Stock Watch

September, 13, 2011
9/13/11
1:00
PM ET
NFC Stock Watch: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South

FALLING

1.Kansas City Chiefs: The whole darn team. The Chiefs were awful in the preseason, and they were terrible in the regular-season opener. This team has lost its last three games that count (including the playoffs). All three of the games were at home. The Chiefs lost the three games by a combined score of 102-24. Throw in Sunday’s season-ending loss of safety Eric Berry, and Week 1 was a disaster for Kansas City.

2. Jamaal Charles’ hands: The Chiefs running back had trouble holding onto the ball in the preseason, and he lost a fumble Sunday. Charles is a fabulous talent, but he is going to undermine his game with sloppy play.

3. John Fox’s plan: Fox came to Denver with the plan of running the ball on offense and stopping the run on defense. Neither plan worked in his Denver debut, a 23-20 loss to Oakland on Monday night. Denver had 38 yards rushing and allowed Oakland 190 yards on the ground. So much for Fox’s plan.

[+] EnlargeRyan Mathews
Jeff Gross/Getty ImagesRyan Mathews was a threat running and receiving the ball out of the backfield on Sunday.
RISING

1. Chargers’ running backs: Second-year running back Ryan Mathews had 73 yards receiving and 45 yards rushing. He ran hard and looked like a solid pro. Mike Tolbert scored all three of San Diego’s touchdowns. This could become one of the better running back combinations in the league.

2. Takeo Spikes: After one game, he looks like a great free-agent signing. Spikes had a game-high 11 tackles against Minnesota, and he led the way as the Chargers’ defense held the Vikings to 26 yards in the second half. He may be 34, but this vocal leader still has something left in the tank.

3. Oakland running back Darren McFadden: We have a legitimate star on our hands, folks. After a breakout year in 2010, McFadden busted out for 150 yards on 22 carries Monday night. What is so scary about McFadden is that he is going to get his big play eventually. He is too explosive not to. His 47-yard run to the Denver 1 sealed the win in the fourth quarter.

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