Broncos, Chargers and Raiders highlight the best division in the NFL

Dec 2 2012; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos fan holds a sign in reference to the team clinching the AFC West following the win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Sports Authority Field. The Broncos defeated the Buccaneers 31-23. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The Denver Broncos are going into their bye week with a 7-3 record after beating the New Orleans Saints 25-23 on Sunday! With the win, they keep themselves right in the mix of things in the AFC West, the best division in all of the NFL.

The bye week could not be coming at a better time for this Broncos team. A week off will give the guys a chance to recharge not only their minds, but their bodies as well. A week off of football will give guys like Kayvon Webster, Brandon Marshall and Trevor Siemian a chance to get the rest they need to heal the nagging injuries they’ve been dealing with. It will also give Aqib Talib and Derek Wolfe another week to get right with their injuries (back for Talib; elbow for Wolfe).

Denver should be coming off their bye mentally and physically rested, ready to make a push during the second half of the season.

The Broncos did exactly what they needed to do Sunday down in New Orleans. The win was not pretty, but have any of them really been this year? The defense, in particular Darian Stewart, played outstanding. And then, of course, there was that huge special teams play made by Justin Simmons and Will Parks. Simmons came up with the block on the extra point attempt that would have put the Saints up by one point with under 90 seconds to go in the game, and then Parks returned the football for two and the win for the Broncos.

I never expected a change to be made at quarterback during the bye, no matter what happened in the Big Easy on Sunday, but coming off a win and with a record of 7-3 at the bye, there’s no chance we see Paxton Lynch this season, barring an injury or the team being eliminated from the playoffs.

Siemian is who he is, and he probably won’t ever be an elite option behind center, but he has shown that he can be a guy that won’t lose you the game — key term there is “can be,” because he also shown at times that he can make the wrong choice and at some point that will cost the Broncos a game. To be fair, though, there are about 20 other NFL quarterbacks that have the same problem.

Survive and Advance was a great 30 for 30 documentary about the NCAA tournament, but it can also be the motto for this year’s Broncos offense. If they can survive, the defense will allow them to advance each week as the victor.

The division-leading Raiders had a bye week after beating Denver last week. It’s not what Broncos Country wants to hear, but a Week 10 bye for a team that is already in first place is exactly what a team would ask for. See you Week 17, Raider Nation!

The Chiefs picked up another win on Sunday, beating the Carolina Panthers 20-17 to improve to 7-2 on the year. The Chiefs did not play great on Sunday but found a way to fight back from a 17-point deficit to win the game. Again, it might not be something that you want to hear, Broncos fans, but that is what good teams do: They beat teams even when they aren’t firing on all cylinders.

The Chargers continue to be a different team week in and week out. One week they seem to have figured things out and might look as if they will make a push, only to come out the next week and fall flat on their faces. This week they did just that, courtesy of Phillip Rivers, who threw four interceptions in the 31-24 loss to the Dolphins.

I will say it again, the AFC West is the best division in the entire NFL, if things keep up the way they have been with the Broncos, Raiders and Chiefs playing good football, this division could represent half of the playoff teams in the AFC.

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