<
>

What AFC West teams need to do to improve

Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson

A look at what AFC West teams need to improve on this week:

DENVER
Safety play: Marlon McCree has struggled much of the season. He has struggled in coverage and in run support. In the Broncos' two losses this season, against Kansas City and Jacksonville, the Broncos' run defense was porous. McCree struggled in particular. Calvin Lowry, signed in early September, could play against New England.

KANSAS CITY
Quarterback play:
Pick your problem. The Chiefs were hammered, 34-0, by Carolina in their last game before the bye. We'll go with quarterback play because Damon Huard and Tyler Thigpen were not effective. Brodie Croyle returns Sunday to face the visiting Titans for the first time since being hurt on opening day at New England. Croyle needs to show improvement but it won't take much to improve upon the recent quarterback play in Kansas City.

OAKLAND
Quarterback play:
Like Kansas City, the Raiders struggled in every phase in their last game, a 34-3 loss at New Orleans on Sunday. But Russell's struggles stood out. He completed just 13 of 35 passes. He was intercepted once and the Saints had six other near interceptions. Russell has not been accurate and that is the biggest issue he needs to fix Sunday against the visiting New York Jets.

SAN DIEGO
Run game:
It is difficult to pick a problem in what the Chargers' did Sunday in a 30-10 win over New England. It was the Chargers best overall performance of the season by far. But we will go with the running game. The Chargers are banged up in the backfield and they don't have the typical spark. The biggest problem is star LaDainian Tomlinson has been bothered virtually all season with a turf toe. He hasn't been the same and neither has the run game.