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Around the AFC West: Breaking Down the Division in 2017

Here’s a look at the AFC West by the numbers this season

The Kansas City Chiefs won the AFC West for a second-consecutive season in 2017, marking the first time in franchise history that the Chiefs have captured back-to-back division titles.

Kansas City went 5-1 against divisional opponents this season, with the only loss coming on a short week on the road against Oakland. It was just the second loss in the Chiefs' last 18 divisional contests dating back to the beginning of the 2015 season – the fewest of any team against their own division in the NFL over that span.

Here's a look at how the rest of the division played out this season as the offseason gets underway.

Los Angeles Chargers


Offensive Rank (Scoring):13th (22.2 points per game)

Offensive Rank (Yards):4th (376.7 yards per game)

Passing Offense:1st (276.9 yards per game)

Rushing Offense:24th (99.7 yards per game)

Defensive Rank (Scoring):3rd (17.0 points allowed per game)

Defensive Rank (Yards):15th (328.4 yards allowed per game)

Passing Defense:3rd (197.2 yards allowed per game)

Rushing Defense:31st (131.1 yards per game)

It was a tale of two seasons for the Chargers in 2017.

They began the year with four consecutive losses, losing three of those games by a combined seven points, with the one outlier being a 14-point loss to Kansas City in Week 3. The Chargers proceeded to catch fire soon after, going 9-3 over their next 12 games. They lost just once in their last seven contests – again to Kansas City – in what turned out to be the difference between first and second place in the AFC West.

Quarterback Philip Rivers assembled yet another impressive season for the Bolts, passing for 4,515 yards and 28 touchdowns with just 10 interceptions. His 96.0 passer rating was his highest since 2012. Interestingly enough, six of Rivers' 10 picks on the year came at the hands of the Chiefs.


On the other side of the ball, defensive ends Joey Bosa (12.5 sacks) and Melvin Ingram (10.5 sacks) formed one of the best pass-rushing tandems in all of football. Cornerback Casey Hayward was also among the best in the league, finishing the year as Pro Football Focus' top rated corner.

Los Angeles struggled mightily against the run, however, surrendering at least 140 yards on the ground on seven different occasions.

Oakland Raiders


Offensive Rank (Scoring):23rd (18.8 points per game)

Offensive Rank (Yards):T-17th (324.1 yards per game)

Passing Offense:16th (226.9 yards per game)

Rushing Offense:25th (97.1 yards per game)

Defensive Rank (Scoring):20th (23.3 points per game)

Defensive Rank (Yards):23rd (350.1 yards per game)

Passing Defense:26th (241.1 yards per game)

Rushing Defense:12th (108.9 yards per game)

The Raiders began the season with high hopes coming off a 12-4 campaign last year, and started off well with victories in each of their first two games. They managed to find the win column just four more times in their next 14 contests, culminating in the firing of Head Coach Jack Del Rio.

Quarterback Derek Carr had an up and down season for Oakland, throwing for 3,496 yards and 22 touchdowns with 13 interceptions – seven more than he had in 2016.


Entrusted with turning Carr and the Raiders around is former Raiders and Tampa Bay Buccaneers Head Coach Jon Gruden, who spent the past several years calling Monday Night Football for ESPN before taking the reins in Oakland once again.


Denver Broncos


Offensive Rank (Scoring):27th (18.1 points per game)

Offensive Rank (Yards):T-17th (324.1 yards per game)

Passing Offense:20th (208.3 yards per game)

Rushing Offense:12th (115.8 yards per game)

Defensive Rank (Scoring):T-22nd (23.9 points per game)

Defensive Rank (Yards):3rd (290.0 yards allowed per game)

Passing Defense:4th (200.6 yards per game)

Rushing Defense:5th (89.4 yards per game)

The Broncos rushed out to a 3-1 start before enduring an eight-game losing streak – the franchise's longest drought without a win since 1967.

At the root of Denver's problems were turnovers – only the Cleveland Browns gave the ball away more often than the Broncos did (34). All three quarterbacks that started games for Denver were to blame in that area, as Trevor Siemian (11 starts), Brock Osweiler (6 starts) and Paxton Lynch (2 starts) each threw as many interceptions as they did touchdowns on the year.


That tendency to turn the ball over wore on the Broncos' defense, one of the best in all of football over the past few years, that performed well statistically in terms of yards allowed but sank to 22nd in the league in scoring defense. 

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