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Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Around the AFC West: Raiders need to run


Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson

Denver

Jay Cutler is hurting the Broncos.

My take: Cutler has to limit his mistakes. He has thrown eight interceptions during a five-game stretch in which Denver has gone 1-4. The Broncos have lost eight fumbles during that time. The turnovers are simply killing the team. The Broncos committed three turnovers against Miami on Sunday -- all three were interceptions thrown by Cutler. In the first three games of the season, in which Denver scored 114 points, Cutler was near flawless. He doesn't need to be flawless but he can't be this sloppy, either. He needs to be near-perfect for the Broncos to win. The Broncos' defense needs all the help it can get. Cutler has to come to grips with his issues and improve quickly, or the Broncos' problems will continue to mount.

Kansas City

The Chiefs' secondary is young.

My take: The entire Kansas City roster is young. All of this experience will pay off eventually. The Chiefs will be better off in the future for all of the lumps they are taking this season. This team will be good someday. It just may not seem worth it in the present. But the Chiefs and their fans need to stay patient. It will be worthwhile at some point.

Oakland

The Raiders' run game has suffered while the team tries to pass.

My take: Oakland needs to go back to what it does best. It needs to run the ball. Look, the Raiders don't have much going for them. But the run game is solid, or at least, it used to be. The Raiders needs to force the issue on the ground, force Justin Fargas and Michael Bush. Yes, rookie Darren McFadden is hurt and the Raiders aren't at full speed at tailback. But JaMarcus Russell is struggling and he needs some help. He needs pressure to be taken off of him. And the best way for Oakland to do that is to run the ball. It may not be what some in the organization want, but it may be Oakland's best way of winning.

San Diego

The Chargers know the AFC West is winnable.

My take: San Diego is 3-5 and it is right in the thick of the division race. Yes, the Chargers reside in the AFC West, a division in which the four teams have a combined 10-22 record. San Diego trails Denver, 4-4, by one game. This is still the Chargers' division to win. They have the best talent in the division. If San Diego can find some consistency they should win this division despite its poor start. And yes, they should be thankful they are in the AFC West.