Even with the winless Chargers (0-3) finding new ways to lose, the AFC West might just be the toughest division in football. The Chiefs (3-0) beat the Patriots in Foxborough and look like legitimate Super Bowl contenders, the Broncos (2-1) are finally doing more on offense to complement their all-world defense, and the Raiders (2-1) are coming off a 12-win season.
Just how good is this division?
“The AFC West is one of the tougher divisions in the AFC, if not the toughest, even in the NFL possibly,” former All-Pro safety and two-time Super Bowl champion Steve Atwater said on CBS Sports Radio’s After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “I think if the Broncos or Raiders had won their games this past weekend, that would certainly be the conversation: that this is the best division in the NFL.”
Instead, the Broncos lost to the Bills, 26-16, in Buffalo, while the Raiders lost to the Redskins, 27-10, also on the road. Now Denver and Oakland will face each other this Sunday at Mile High.
“I know both teams are looking forward to this game because they had losses the past weekend,” said Atwater, who played for the Broncos from 1989-98. “I know the Broncos feel like although the Bills did some wonderful things on the field, the Broncos – if they could have played better and if they had done a few things differently – could have won that ball game. I’m sure the Raiders feel the same way.”
Von Miller definitely feels that way. He received a unsportsmanlike conduct penalty in the fourth quarter for offering to help Tyrod Taylor up – only to pull his hand back when Taylor reached for assistance. The Bills, who already led 23-16, went on to kick a field goal and put the game out of reach.
“I think Von learned a valuable lesson,” Atwater said. “When you have a serious situation, a serious point in the game, we can’t mess around like that.”
Miller hopes to atone for his blunder this Sunday. Kickoff is at 1 p.m. ET.