Finally, the first shake up in the AFC West.

We are now through five weeks of the NFL season, and the Denver Broncos have company atop the AFC West: The Oakland Raiders join the Broncos at 4-1, tied for first place, and they look good.

As I’ve talked about throughout these Around The AFC West articles, the Raiders and Broncos appear to be the two best teams in the division. Denver and Oakland are both 4-1 on the year, while the Chiefs sit at 2-2 and the San Diego “Choke Job” Chargers sit at the bottom of the division at 1-4.

It is a big week for the AFC West, as the Broncos and Chargers kick off the NFL week tonight and the Chiefs and Raiders match up in Oakland on Sunday. With a Broncos win and a Raiders loss, Denver could find themselves leading the division by a couple of games come Monday.

Normally the short week hurts NFL teams, but I believe both the Chargers and Broncos are happy their short week came now. For the Chargers it comes after yet another blown game. When a mistake is made at work or my meaningless rec league basketball games, I want to get back out there and show what I can do as soon as possible. For the Chargers, that’s how they’ve felt for four weeks now, but it’s still a good feeling to get back on the horse and give it another go.

For the Broncos, you obviously never want to have to deal with a situation where your head coach has to miss time due to a health issue. But if it has to happen, the short week is when you want it to. Let your team do nothing but worry about the opponent, because playing two football games in four days is a ridiculous demand from the NFL, despite what Von Miller says he can do. There is also the “win one for the gipper” approach the team now gets to use with Gary Kubiak missing the game.

Come Monday, if Kubiak is able to return and the Broncos are coming off a win over the Chargers, which they should be, Sunday’s loss will be a distant memory.

Nothing comes easy in the NFL, but with the likely return of Trevor Siemian, Virgil Green and Donald Stephenson, Denver should pick up a win Thursday night.

We have yet to see the Broncos’ running game and passing game be in sync on the same day this season. The Chargers defense gives up 291.6 yards per game through the air while the run defense holds opponents to 83.4 yards per game on the ground. The Broncos should be able to move the ball downfield through the air Thursday, but Denver is going to need C.J. Anderson and Devontae Booker to step up this week. The rushing game had over 100 yards in Weeks 1 and 2, but followed that up with 52 yards against the Bengals, 89 against the Bucs and 84 last week against the Falcons.

As far as the Raiders and Chiefs game, if Oakland’s passing attack continues to improve each week, the Kansas City cornerbacks could be in for a long afternoon. I will say it once again, I am rooting for the Raiders to be good. Not because I am a Raiders fan but because I want Raider week to mean something again in the Mile High city!