Best AFC West Rivalry: Broncos vs. Chargers

September, 11, 2008
9/11/08
2:03
PM ET
Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson

This is a good time to talk division rivalries. The four teams in the AFC West are facing off this weekend. Oakland is at Kansas City in a battle of two old AFL teams, and San Diego visits Denver in a meeting of two teams have had solid success in recent seasons.

What is the best rivalry in the AFC West? Well, there are plenty of ways to answer this question. But the format here is on the field, over the course of the last five or six seasons.

In that case, I have to go with San Diego and Denver. These have been the most consistent teams in the division during that time. If the format was longevity of the rival and what rivals affect the fans most, my answer would be different. I'd probably go with Denver and Oakland, but Oakland and Kansas City is also a good one. Both of those sets of rivalries had heated battles on the field in eras past.

But on the field, in recent years, it has to be the Broncos and Chargers.

This week's installment is going to be fairly juicy. The Chargers, who entered the season expected to walk away with the division, are 0-1 after being stunned by Carolina. Denver is the only 1-0 team in the division after smoking Oakland on Monday night. San Diego can't let the upstart Broncos take a two-game lead over them.

There is intriguing sidebars to add to the rivalry this week. Last Christmas Eve in San Diego, Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers taunted Broncos QB Jay Cutler during the game. The next week, Denver star cornerback Champ Bailey criticized Rivers for the action and said he never liked Rivers.

These have been the two best teams in the division in recent years, but San Diego crushed Denver by a combined score of 64-6 last season. The Broncos are looking for payback.

Just like in any good rivalry.

Intensity Rating: 4.

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