The regular season has ended and only two AFC West teams—the Kansas City Chiefs and Oakland Raiders—have advanced to the NFL playoffs.
Here's a look around the AFC West as the Raiders approach the postseason and the Denver Broncos and San Diego Chargers approach the offseason:
Oakland Raiders (12-4)
Wild Card Opponent: The Raiders travel to take on the Houston Texans in the Wild Card round of the playoffs this Saturday at 3:35 p.m. CT.
The Raiders failed to defeat the Broncos in the regular season's final week, so they dropped from the AFC's No. 2 seed to its No. 5 seed, meaning they must head on the road to take on the AFC South champion Houston Texans in the first round. Starting quarterback Derek Carr, who was having an MVP-caliber season, fractured his fibula in the Raiders' Week 16 game against the Indianapolis Colts, and his backup, Matt McGloin, injured his shoulder last week, so rookie QB Connor Cook, who has never started a game in his career, will start against the Texans.
Some relevant links:
- Via the Mercury News, Cook will be the first quarterback in NFL history to make his first career start in the playoffs.
- Derek Carr reflected on his injury with 95.7 The Game's Greg Papa.
- Raiders will look to reignite the run game against Houston.
- Raiders signed Garrett Gilbert to the practice squad.
Denver Broncos (9-7)
The Broncos ended their season by defeating the Raiders, 24-6, helping the Chiefs clinch the AFC West division. After the game, Broncos head coach Gary Kubiak stepped down as head coach of the team. This ends the Kubiak chapter as the search for a new Broncos head coach begins.
Some relevant links:
- Via Sports Illustrated's MMQB, Broncos star Von Miller pens a tribute to Kubiak.
- Via the Denver Post, the Broncos' coaching search creates an uncertain future for their two young QBs.
- Sports Illustrated's Chris Burke calls Denver the NFL's most desirable coaching vacancy.
- Via ESPN, Broncos may take "may the best man win" approach at quarterback next season.
San Diego Chargers (5-11)
The San Diego Chargers finished their season with a 37-27 loss to the Chiefs and dismissed head coach Mike McCoy after the game. Now, their search for a new head coach begins.
- Via the San Diego Union Tribune, McCoy was grateful for the opportunity and awaits the next.
- What QB Philip Rivers is looking for in a new head coach.
- LaDainian Tomlinson is among this year's Pro Football Hall of Fame finalists.