The AFC West is the only division in the NFL featuring three teams with at least eight wins this season: the Kansas City Chiefs, the Oakland Raiders, and the Denver Broncos. As of today, it would be very surprising if both wild card teams in the AFC playoff race didn't come out of the West. But before we figure that part out, the more interesting question will be: over the next two or three Sundays, who wins the race for the AFC West division championship?
Kansas City Chiefs (10-3)
With their thrilling victory over the Raiders on Thursday evening, the Chiefs not only completed a season-sweep of their current top rivals in the AFC West, but also leapfrogged them for first place in the division. The increasingly stout Kansas City defense held the Raiders to only 13 points, which was their second-lowest scoring output all season; coincidentally, the lowest scoring output by Oakland was also against
Kansas City Chiefs earlier this season.
It's not the sexiest style of play in the world, but the Chiefs are getting just enough offense from quarterback Alex Smith throwing the football to tight end Travis Kelce and rookie wide receiver Tyreek Hill (the latter of whom has scored five touchdowns in the last three games he's played in). With two of their last three games taking place at home (where Kansas City is 5-1 this year), the Chiefs could very well have a shot at finishing the season with a 13-3 record.
Oakland Raiders (10-3)
On the losing side of the game Friday night, the high-flying Raiders looked far from their best against Kansas City. Oakland quarterback Derek Carr, who many believed might be a dark horse MVP candidate, was limited to only 117 passing yards against the Chiefs defense; that's the second-lowest total in NFL history by any quarterback who threw 40 attempts in such a game. Carr and the Raiders did manage to cut the 21-3 lead that Kansas City held down to 21-13, but their final fourth-quarter rally attempt fell short. Even with the loss, the Raiders are the overwhelming favorite to secure the top wild card spot in the AFC playoffs (assuming they don't win the division), as long as they don't blow one of their next two games against teams that don't have a winning record (at San Diego, then home for Indianapolis).
Denver Broncos (8-5)
The defending Super Bowl champion Denver Broncos started the 2016 season with a 4-0 record, but have a .500 winning percentage over their last eight games (going 2-2 over their last four games as well). Their modus operandi since before the season even started hasn't really strayed: playing conservative offense that will (hopefully) score just enough points to win the game, and letting their star-studded defense suffocate opponents and force turnovers. Denver's offense produces the sixth-fewest yards per game of any team in the NFL; they're 23rd in rushing yards per game, and 24th in passing.
The fact that Denver's defense is ranked fifth in the NFL right now -- and #1 in passing defense -- isn't the slightest bit surprising to anyone who watched what they defense is capable of, during the 2015-2016 postseason. What's somewhat eyebrow-raising is the fact that Denver's rush defense is the fifth-worst in the NFL. Their next two games are against teams with running backs who are both ranked among the top five in the NFL in rushing yards this year (DeMarco Murray and LeGarette Blount), so it will be very interesting to see how the Broncos defense performs in that time period.
San Diego Chargers (5-8)
There was a brief moment, about a month ago, where it looked like the
San Diego Chargers could sneakily make a run at one of the wild card spots in the AFC. They had a 4-5 record through nine games, and were coming up on a point in their schedule where they had games against teams they had a reasonable chance of beating. Alas, they couldn't really do much from there, going 1-2 over their next three games, giving them a 5-7 record heading into the last quarter of the season.
San Diego's offense, yet again, has been one of the more dynamic units in the game. Quarterback Philip Rivers is still playing as well as ever, currently sitting at sixth place in yards thrown this season (he's on pace to throw for more than 4,400 yards this year), and second-year running back Melvin Gordon currently sits in fourth place among all running backs in rushing yards. The defense isn't necessarily to blame, either, as the Chargers have gotten Pro Bowl-caliber seasons from cornerback Casey Hayward and rookie defensive end Joey Bosa. But whether it's time for a coaching change, or whether the specter of leaving San Diego after this season is over has hung over them, the Chargers won't be playing in the postseason for the third year in a row.
With four weeks left in the 2016-2017 season, the question is: does anyone actually want to win the AFC South? Just a few weeks ago, the division looked like it belonged to the Houston Texans. But through the first week of December, there's a three-way logjam of teams with a 6-6 record. Who is going to emerge from this proverbial Battle Royale? Honestly, the first team to win nine games -- or even as few as eight -- might be the one who walks away with the division crown.
If the objective of football is to score more points than the opponent, then Houston: you have a problem. The increasingly anemic Houston Texans offense has only scored four touchdowns in their last three games (all losses). Three-quarters of the way through the season, they're the fifth-lowest scoring team in the NFL. They're averaging four points less per game than they were in 2015, when they won games in spite of the hodgepodge they had at the quarterback position.
At least through year one, Brock Osweiler's four-year, $72 million contract he signed with Houston this past offseason looks like it could go down as one of the worst free agent signings in NFL history. Houston's biggest saving grace is the fact that they don't have to face an opponent with a winning record over their remaining four games. Still, with the way they've been playing recently, if they're not careful, their current backslides could take them from atop the division to out of the postseason entirely.
It hasn't been pretty for much of this season, but Indianapolis has won three of their last four games, and now sits in second place in the AFC South. The Colts are seventh in the NFL in points scored per game (25.9), and as long as they can keep quarterback Andrew Luck upright -- he's been sacked more than any quarterback in the NFL -- he gives them a chance. Luck has thrown for over 250 yards in nine of the 11 games he's played in this year, and a touchdown pass in every game he's played in this year.
Wide receiver T.Y. Hilton is having a spectacular year, currently sitting in second place in the entire NFL in receiving yards (1,088). The Colts defense, however, has some serious question marks. They have the 10th fewest sacks of opposing quarterbacks, they give up the eight most points per game to opponents, and they're a bottom-five team in terms of yards allowed per game. A win against Houston this Sunday would give them a much-needed split in their two head-to-head games. They’ll hold any tiebreaker over the Tennessee Titans, since they won both games against them this year.
The Tennessee Titans finished with the worst record in the NFL last year, butnow they're the third team in the three-way race for the AFC South title. Behind head coach Mike Mularkey's self-anointed "exotic smash mouth"-style of offense, the Titans have the third best rushing offense in the NFL. Over the last eight games, quarterback Marcus Mariota is second in the NFL with a 117.7 passer rating, thanks largely to throwing 21 touchdown passes and only three interceptions. Running back DeMarco Murray, unceremoniously discarded by the Philadelphia Eagles last season, has the second most rushing yards in the NFL right now, only behind rookie Ezekiel Elliott. With bookend tackles Taylor Lewan and Jack Conklin (both of whom were first round picks by Tennessee), the Titans have one of the best offensive lines in the NFL. Wide receiver Rishard Matthews, an unheralded free agent acquisition this past offseason, has caught seven touchdown passes in the last eight games.
Tennessee's problem comes from the other side of the football; namely, their pass defense that's given up the fifth-most touchdown passes in the NFL to date, and gives up the sixth-most passing yards to opponent on average. Their secondary has been an enormous problem for them all season, but the silver-lining for Tennessee is that they won't face a team with a high-powered passing attack for the remainder of the season.
Finally, there's the Jacksonville Jaguars. There's not much else you can say about this team besides the fact that they went from being one of the teams with the most excitement and potential at the start of the 2016 season, to one of the most under-performing and disappointing teams this year. They're currently riding a seven-game losing streak; their last win took place midway through October. Head coach Gus Bradley's career head coaching record of 14-46 gives him the worst winning percentage of any head coach (who's coached in 50 or more games) in NFL history. Instead of taking a step forward in his development as an NFL quarterback, Blake Bortles has seemingly taken multiple (big) steps backward. The only thing left for this team is playing out the rest of the season, and awaiting the inevitable head coaching change that will take place in early January of 2017.
The Detroit Lions are having a great season so far with an 8-4 record going into the 13th week. They are in first place for the NFC North division with the Minnesota Vikings trailing behind by two games. The Lions’ success has been mainly attributed to the outstanding job that Mathew Stafford, Lion’s quarterback, has been doing. With four games to go, the Lions have a good chance of clinching the NFC North division and being in the playoffs.
Despite having only one playoff win in 1999 since l957, the Detroit Lions have had several outstanding players. They have also had many coaches leading the team.
Famous Players of all time
Barry Sanders - Running Back
He is listed first on the list of the Best Detroit Lions of all time.
Calvin Johnson - Wide Receiver
Calvin Johnson is listed #2 on the list of the Best Detroit Lions of all time.
Dick Lane - Cornerback
Dick Lane is listed #3 on the list of the Best Detroit Lions of all time.
Herman Moore - Wide Receiver
Herman Moore is listed #4 on the list of the Best Detroit Lions of all time.
Bobby Layne - Quarterback, Placekicker
Bobby Layne is listed #5 on the list of the Best Detroit Lions of all time.
Lem Barney - Cornerback, Return Specialist
Lem Barney is listed #6 on the list of the Best Detroit Lions of all time.
Billsy Sims is listed #7 on the list of the Best Detroit Lions of all time.
Dick LeBeau is listed #8 on the list of the Best Detroit Lions of all time.
Alex Karras - Defensive Tackle
Alex Karas is listed #9 on the list of the Best Detroit Lions of all time.
Joe Schmidt - Linebacker
Joe Schmidt is list #10 on the list of the Best Detroit Lions of all time.
On January 8, 2016, thе Lіоnѕ hired Bob Quinn аѕ gеnеrаl mаnаgеr. Lions rеlеаѕе Jоіquе Bеll аnd Stерhеn Tulloch.
In thеіr hіѕtоrу, the Detroit Lions hаvе had 24 hеаd соасhеѕ.
All-Tіmе Hеаd Coaches
NAME YEARS SEASONS
Hаl Grіffеn 1930 1
Potsy Clark 1931-36 7
Dutсh Clark 1937-38 2
Gus Hеndеrѕоn 1939 1
Bіll Edwаrdѕ 1941-42 1+
John Kаrсіѕ 1942 - 1
Gus Dorais 1943-47 5
Bо MсMіllіn 1948-50 3
Buddу Pаrkеr 1951-56 6
Gеоrgе Wilson 1957-64 8
Harry Gіlmеr 1965-66 2
Jое Sсhmіdt 1967-72 6
Don McCafferty 1973 1
Rісk Fоrzаnо 1974-76 2+
Tommy Hudѕреth 1976-77 1+
Monte Clаrk 1978-84 7
Dаrrуl Rоgеrѕ 1985-88 3+
Wayne Fоntеѕ 1988-96 8+
Bоbbу Ross 1997-2000 3 +
Gаrу Mоеllеr 2000 - 1
Mаrtу Mоrnhіnwеg 2001-02 2
Stеvе Mariucci 2003-05 3
Dick Jauron 2005 - 1
Rod Mаrіnеllі 2006-08 3
Jim Sсhwаrtz 2009-13 5
Jim Cаldwеll 2014- present 2+
Tоtаlѕ (24 Cоасhеѕ)
If you are a Detroit Lions fan, consider sporting a custom Lions jersey for gameday.