Posted on: April 18, 2009 12:50 pm
Edited on: April 21, 2009 8:03 pm

Needs vs Wants

 2009 Broncos Draft – Needs vs Wants

The Broncos have a real opportunity this year to improve the team with ten picks overall, including five in the first three rounds.  The sediment in Bronco nation is that the offense is in decent shape and the draft will focus on improvements to the defense.  Several mock drafts have suggested the Broncos will trade up or keep the number 12 pick for a Quarterback.  The Broncos schedule a work out for Mark Sanchez.  Interestingly, several of these mock drafts that were updated on Friday now have Sanchez as the Broncos first selection.  What is interesting is that only a few (very few) prior to Friday had Sanchez available when the Broncos make their first pick.  Makes me wonder what changed.  Just because he scheduled a work out doesn’t mean his value changed.  I understand the Broncos wanting to evaluate him in case he is available.  But, I seriously doubt this will happen in the 2009 draft, but don’t rule it out for the 2010 draft.    I think this will depend entirely on how well Kyle Orton plays and how Chris Simms performs as his reserve.  Optimally, if Orton works well in the new offensive scheme, perhaps we don’t select a QB in 2010.

Mock drafts speculate who will be taken when based a person’s opinion of what the needs are for a particular team and who is available.  The Broncos war room just like every other NFL team is going through this same drill.  What position(s) do we need to improve, how do the individual players rank in our system and what impact they will have?  Then, who are the likely players to fall to the team when it’s time to make a selection?  That’s the need.  If the war room consensus is a targeted play will be off the board before it time to select, then that’s a want and the team will package a deal with one or more teams to trade up to select a targeted player.  Take the Sanchez situation for example.  Do we need a quarterback or do want a quarterback?  I contend that if we select quarterback first it’s a want because we already have two quarterbacks and we need to shore up the defense.

I have to admit that I have enjoyed reading the Broncos message boards concerning who to take when.  It confirms my belief that the Broncos fans are passionate about their team and like to defend their selections to the end.  As a matter of fact, even though we may want a player, we are not in the war room evaluating the needs of the team.  For the first time in a long time the war room participants are new.  We don’t know much about the new staff only what tendencies they carry with them from a former team.  For example, will the Broncos trade up to pick a targeted “must have” player or will they stand pat?  As stated above, the Broncos have a number of draft picks to package a deal.  So as much as I would like to jump into the mix and speculate on who the Broncos select, it’s not up to me.  It will be what it will be.  I can only sit back and watch as the draft unfolds.  I like to be able to say that we will all get what we want or need but in the end it is what it is.



Category: NFL
Tags: Broncos
Posted on: April 12, 2009 11:36 am
Edited on: April 12, 2009 11:36 am

Broncos & Bears Trade Outcome

The Broncos traded Jay Cutler to the Bears for Kyle Orton, a first and third round pick this year, and a first round pick next year.   It’s natural to look at the deal and speculate who came out on top.  The Bears received a Pro Bowl quarterback and have something to build around.   The problem is they sold their draft picks to Denver for the next few years.  The Bears still can add some protection for Cutler and pick up quality receivers through free agency or late round draft picks.

What the Broncos received will depend on how they use their draft picks this year and next.  It also depends on how Orton fits into the new offensive game plan.  So the result of the trade may not be realized for a few years.  The speculation on how each team did depends on your perspective.  The Bears could have just added the player that gets them to the playoff.  The Broncos have enough draft picks to retool a Defense that was near the bottom to the league last year.  If Orton works out then they can spend even more draft pick next year on Defense.  If he doesn’t then they have enough fire power to pick up a quality quarterback in the first round.  If history has taught us anything its that not every Pro Bowler is a first round draft pick.

While I think Cutler was a quality quarterback, relationships deteriorated with the Broncos and ultimately he didn’t want to play in Denver any longer.  With that in mind, the Broncos received quite a bit from the Bears in the trade.  I think in the short term the Bears are better than last year due to the trade.  But until the Broncos make their draft picks, I don’t think we can evaluate them.  The Broncos Offense was ranked fairly high in the NFL last year.  I can only assume we were going to put in a new Offensive game plan with the new head coach.  How Cutler, now Orton will adjust and execute that game plan will determine if there has been a slip in the Offense.  The draft pick the Broncos make in the first few rounds of the draft should tell the fans how long something about where the organization is going.  If they bundle draft pick and trade up for a quarterback I think we are in for a long rebuilding period.  If we get some quality Densive players, the road to recovery should be shorter. 

What I’m going to miss is the Jay Cutler and Philip Rivers rivalry.  Now the Bears fans have that with Aaron Rodgers and the Packers. 






Category: NFL
Posted on: March 12, 2009 12:53 am

Cutler & McDaniels Conflict Thoughts

It has been well publicized in the media that Broncos quarterback Jay Cutler is not happy about the thought of being traded.  The follow up teleconference nearly two weeks later, between the Cutler camp and Broncos management left Cutler feeling the discussion didn’t go well.  However Coach McDaniels thought it did go well.  So like many Broncos fan it was difficult to understand why McDaniels would trade their Pro Bowl QB for Matt Cassel.  The terms of the deal just didn’t add up.

We all understand the NFL is a business, and any one can be traded for the right deal.  Still the deal didn’t make since out side of the obvious, that Cassel has run the Patriots offensive scheme we believe McDaniels plans to run.  But still, why wouldn’t you expect Cutler to learn, understand, and run a new offense?

I came to two plausible conclusions.  First, McDaniels doesn’t have a clue as to Cutler’s value in a trade, has no interpersonal skills, or is in way over his head.  Second, maybe he is Mastermind II.  That’s probably a big leap from what you have been reading lately so let me elaborate.  McDaniels is young and in his first head coaching job.  He is replacing a coach who had a long tenure with the team and who had brought the Broncos two Super Bowl Championship.  That is a big task in itself to live up to and filling those expectations.  So, one of the things he has to do is establish credibility with the team.  What better way to establish who is in control than to take on the highest profile member of the team with his first act.  What McDaniels is doing is challenging Cutler.  It’s likely that out side of a few QB competitions, Cutler has not been treated this way before.  McDaniels has a management style that is much different than Shanahan’s and he is expecting Jay to step up to the plate and show everyone that he is the franchise player we all hope and expect him to be.  McDaniels is going to break down individuals and build a team concept from the ground up.  He’s telling Cutler the train has left the station; you are either on it or going to be run over by it. 

I've seen this management style before, it works on some but not all people.  Will Cutler take the challenge?  Only time will tell.  If he sulks around like a spoiled kid and under performs, we could see Chris Simms late in season.  If he lives up to his billing, then I see a nice long term contract coming his way and all this nonsense will be ancient history. 

As a Bronco fan all I can say is I hope the second conclusion is the probable out come and not the first.  I would like to see these two professionals work out their difference, preferably behind closed doors and not in front of the media.




Category: NFL
Posted on: December 23, 2008 12:39 am

AFC West Show Down

Its prime time Sunday night where the 8-7 Denver Broncos having lost their last 2 games take on the 7-8  San Diego Chargers winners of their last 3 games.  The winner will most like face the Indianapolis Colts in the first round of the playoffs and the loser gets to think about the season that could have been.

Stats:  The Broncos have scored 349 points and given up 396 while the Chargers have scored 387 points and given up 326 points.  The Broncos are 4-3 on the road where they have beat the Browns, Jets, and Falcons.  The Chargers are 4-3 at home.   The Chargers have a one game advantage against divisional opponents while the Broncos have fared better against non-conference opponents.

Matchups:  Offensively the Broncos scored an average of 23.3 (17th) with 395 yards of total offense ranking 2nd in the NFL (277 yards passing and 118 yards rushing).  Defensively the Broncos give up an average of 26.4 points a game with 366 yards which ranks them 28th in the league (230 yards passing 136 yards rushing).  For the Chargers offensively they average 25.8 (7th) points a game with 339 yards of total offense (13th).  The Chargers pass for 243 (7th) yards and rush for 95 (28th) yards a game.  Defensively, the Chargers give up 21.7 (17th) points a game and 346 (25th) yards.  The Chargers yield 242 (31st) yards passing and 103 (11th) yards rushing a game.

Individual Matchups:  Jay Cutler is ranked 3rd in passing yards and Philip Rivers is ranked 5th.  Rivers has thrown 5 more TD and 6 less interception than Cutler.   At the Wide Receiver position the Broncos have Brandon Marshall (3rd) and Eddie Royal (9th) ranked in the top 10.  The top Chargers receiver is Vincent Jackson (32nd).  The Broncos have Tony Scheffler (21st) ranked Tight End while the Charger have Antonio Gates who is ranked 6th in the NFL.  The Chargers have LaDainian Tomlinson who is ranked as the 16th leading rusher this year.  It is difficult to rank the Broncos running backs since they have started 5 or 6 back due to the injuries.  (See also Key Injuries)

Analysis:  The Broncos should have the edge in the passing game against the 31 rated Chargers pass defense.  The Chargers have a good matchup too against the 28 ranked Broncos defense.

Key injuries:  Selvin Young was placed on IR Monday.

The Bottom Line:  Chargers are favored by 9 points.  Accuscore.com projects the final score to be Broncos 17 Chargers 30


 – Boozers.

Category: NFL
Posted on: December 17, 2008 9:23 pm
Edited on: December 19, 2008 6:19 pm

Bills at Broncos Pregame Thoughts

The Broncos can lock up the AFC West with a win this week or a Chargers loss.  Personally, I would like to see the Broncos win the title vs. backing into it.  Playing conditions this week in Denver are expected to be in the 20’s.  Snow is in the forcast on Saturday, but that shouldn’t be an issue for either the Bills or the Broncos.  One issue for the Bills is who will be starting at QB, Gibram Hamdan or J.P. Loseman?  If it’s Hamdan I wouldn’t expect a whole lot of passing yards even against the Broncos Defense.  But now we find out that Trent Edwards will start.  I think he's the best bet for the Bills.  He may be a little rusty in the first half but I would expect to see him turn it on in the 2nd half.  Lee Evans and Josh Reed should get the majority of the 150-200 yards.  Marshawn Lynch should get 17-20 touches this week but I don’t expect him the break 100-yards.  More likely to see Lynch in the 70-85 yard range.  When the Bills get to the Red Zone, Lynch will likely be their best option to score.

For the Broncos, I expect Jay Cutler to pass for 220-250 yards with 1-2 TD and an INT.  Brandon Marshall and Eddie Royal will get most of the looks with the majority of the yards going to Brandon.  Tatum Bell, Selvin Young, and P.J. Pope will all split carries this week and total around 120 yards.  Tatum, Selvin, and Brandon should be the favorites to score once the Broncos hit the Red Zone.  It is time for Pro Bowler's Brandon Marshall and Jay Cutler to step it up a notch.

Final score:  Broncos 24 Bills 17

Category: NFL
Posted on: December 2, 2008 6:19 pm

AFC Breakdown - Week 13

Overview:  Let me begin with a rant.  The three games played on Thanksgiving had to be the worst games of the week in terms of routes.  The Lions proved that 0-16 is possible, and in my opinion should not be automatically given the opportunity to play in front of a national audience.  Who scheduled this game, the best and the worst?  In Weeks 8-10 this post has compared the AFC West to the other divisions.  For the remainder of the season the entire AFC will be reviewed from a head to head perspective.    

The AFC North’s two top teams Steelers and Ravens continued to play well and posted some big scores.   The Steelers soundly defeated the Patriots who are still contending for the AFC East lead.  The Steelers snapped Matt Cassel’s 400 yard passing streak holding him to 169 yards.  Cassel was sacked 5 times and picked for 2 INTs.  The Ravens played the Bengals and crushed them.  Derrick Mason had one TD on the day from WR Mark Clayton.  Clayton had a great day as well as he finished with 164 yards receiving and a TD.  The AFC North as a division is 22-25-1 and has scored 925 points with 917 point scored against them.  The Ravens have scored the most points in the AFC North with 292 points while the Steelers have given up the least amount of points at 170. The Ravens WR Mark Clayton was top performer with 169 yards on just 5 receptions one being for a TD.     

The AFC South front runners are the Titans, who have a strangle hold on the top spot in their division with only one lose.  The Colts are still making a push but can’t make up any ground.  They still have a reasonable chance to obtain a Wildcard position.  The AFC South as a division is 28-20 and has scored 1,084 points with 1,005 point scored against them.  The Titan led their division in points for and against.    

The AFC East front runners, Jets were soundly defeated at home by the AFC leader in a cold wet game.  The Patriots could not make up any ground as they were pounded by the Steelers.  The AFC East as a division is 28-20 and has scored 1,146 points with 1,039 point scored against them.  The Jets have scored the most points in the AFC East with 340 points while the Patriots have given up the least amount of points at 255.  Thomas Jones was the leading rusher in the NFL last week with 138 yards and 2 TDs.

The AFC West front runners Broncos had a road game against the Jets who were on a long winning streak, and had just beaten the Titans in the previous week.  Jay Cutler lead the Broncos to a 17 point win over the Jets passing for 357 yards and 2 TDs as was the NFLs leading passer for the week.  The Chargers dropped one at home.  This game featured the return of Michael Turner to SD.  The Chiefs won for only the second time this year over the rival Raiders.  The division as a whole has the weakest records at 16-32.  The AFC West has scoring a total of 970 points and giving up 1,098 points.  The Broncos led the division scoring a total of 292 points and the Raiders have given up the least amount of point with 265.

Top Performers.  To be considered a top performer the player must be rated within the top 3 at the position.  The Offensive and Defensives unit will be noted in the “Stats at a Glance” section below and not included in this area.  At the QB position, Jay Cutler (3) is the only top performers with 3,393 yards passing.  No AFC RB rated in the top 3 for rushing yards in the NFL.  Andre Johnson is the NFLs leading WR with 1,196 yards.  Tony Gonzalez leads all TE with 806 yards.

Playoff Analysis.  The following predictions are from Accuscore.com and are considered the percent chance the team has to obtain a playoff position.  The teams in the playoff hunt include the Titans (100), Steelers (94), Colts (91), Broncos (91), and Ravens (64).  The Jets (64), Patriots (43), and the remaining teams have less than a 43% chance and are sitting outside the playoff picture at the end of Week 13.

Stats at a glance                       Defense                                                           Offense

                        Pts             Total YPG      PYds/G        RYd/G              Pts          Total  YPG     PYd/G     Rush Yds/G

AFC West

SD (4-8)         22.8 (21)      367 (27)       260 (31)      107 (15)        24.2 (12)     329 (15)       236 (9)        93 (27)

KC (2-10)       28.3 (30)      395 (32)       231 (32)      163  (31)      18.0 (25)      307 (25)      189 (23)      117 (12)

DEN (7-5)      26.6 (29)      380 (28)       236 (27)       144 (28)       24.3 (11)      390 (2)        280 (3)        110 (19)

OAK (3-9)      22.1 (17)      351 (25)      192 (8)          158 (29)      14.3 (30)      263 (29)      139 (32)       123 (10)

AFC North

PIT (9-3)       14.2 (1)          238  (1)      166  (1)         71 (1)           22.4 (20)     308 (24)       201 (19)      106 (22)

BAL (8-4)      15.8 (3)         253  (2)       175 (2)         78   (3)          24.3 (11)     323 (19)      180 (27)       143  (3)

CLE (4-8)       20.6 (19)      356 (26)       215 (17)      141 (26)       17.8 (27)     275 (27)       169 (29)      105 (23)

CIN (1-10-1)  25.8 (25)      349 (24)       217 (20)       131 (24)       12.6 (32)     232 (32)       154 (30)      78 (31 )

AFC East

NE (7-5)        21.2  (12)      317 (13)       211(16)       105 (14)        23.1 (18)    355 (9)         224 (11)      130 (9)

MAI (7-5)       21.4 (13)      330 (18)       233 (26)       97 (11)          21.1 (23)    354 (10)       238 (8)        115 (13)

BUF (6-6)      21.6 (14)       314 (12)       205 (14)      109 (17)        23.0 (19)    322 (20)       211 (15)       110 (20)

NYJ (8-4)       22.3 (18)      331 (19)       249 (30)      82 (4)            28.3 (2)       346 (11)       214 (13)      132 (8)

AFC South

TEN (11-1)    14.6  (2)        281 (5)        185 (4)         97 (12 )        25.3 (7)       325 (18)       186 (21)      138 (6)

IND (8-4)       20.8 (11)      322 (15)      188 (6)          138 (25)       21.4 (22)     318 (22)       239 (7)        79 (29)

JAX (4-8)       22.5  (20)     319 (14)       204 (13)       115  (20)      20.1 (24)     320 (21)       209 (17)      111 (15)

HOU (5-7)      25.8  (25)    338 (21)        209 (15)      128 (23)        23.5 (15)    367 (5)          252 (5)       115 (15)

(**) League Rank Source NFL.com

Category: NFL
Posted on: November 3, 2008 7:36 pm

AFC East vs AFC West

AFC East Break Down Against AFC West  

Overview.  The AFC East has no clear cut favorite at the end of Week 9.  Three teams have 5-3 records with the Dolphins only one game back.  The perennial favorites Patriots have competition this year and certainly face challenges with Tom Brady out for the season.  The AFC East as a division is 19-13 and has scored 729 points with 699 point scored against them.  The Jets have scored the most points in the AFC East with 208 points while the Patriots have given up the least amount of points at 150.  The Jets and Dolphins are riding a two game winning streak while the Bills have dropped two and the Patriots have dropped one game.

The AFC West is quickly become known as the AFC Worst.  The division’s record is 10-22 as all three active teams this week lost.  The AFC West has scored a total of 647 points while giving up 844 points.  As with last week, the Chief who are currently in last place are only three games back of the Broncos, and the Chargers picked up a game on the Bronco with a bye week.  It’s becoming more probable that this division will have a 9-6 or 8-8 division leader by the end of the season.

Top Performers.  Though Week 9 the Chargers and the Jets lead their respective divisions with total number of points scored.  The Broncos and Dolphins are in the top 10 offensively for yards per game.  The Broncos, Chargers, and Dolphins are in the top 10 for passing yards per game.  The Patriots and Raiders are among the NFL top 10 in rushing yards per game.  Philip Rivers, Jay Cutler, Chad Pennington, and Brett Favre are among the NFL’s top 10 in total passing yards.  Only Thomas Jones was in the NFL’s top 10 rushing leader.  Lee Evans and Brandon Marshall are among the 10 in receiving yards. Defensively, Joey Porter leads the NFL with 12 sacks, and Shaun Ellis (8) has 7 sacks.  Darrelle Revis leads the NFL in interceptions returning one for a TD.  DeAngelo Hall and Brandon Meriweather both are ranked number 7 with 3 INTs.

Top to Bottom Analysis.  The AFC East certainly has the upper hand over the AFC West through week 9.  The Dolphins have beet both the Broncos and Chargers, Bills have beat the Raiders, Patriots have beat the Broncos and Chiefs, but lost the Chargers, and the Jets have beat the Chiefs but lost to the Raiders and Chargers, Collectively the AFC East is 7-3 against the AFC West.  Defensively the AFC East yields fewer points and offensively are putting more points on the board than the AFC West.  The Broncos (3) and Dolphins (10) are in the top 10 for total yardage per game while the Chiefs (26) and Raiders (29) are in the bottom of this category.   The Chargers (3) and Jets (8) are among the top teams for average points per game.  Surprisingly, the Dolphins (2) and Chiefs (3) lead in turnover ratio while the Broncos are last with the Bills and Jet in the bottom 10 as well.  Six of the eight teams are the least penalized in the NFL, while the Raiders have the dubious honor of being ranked 7 in this category.  The Broncos (4), Dolphins (6), and Chargers (7) lead the NFL in total passing yards per game.  The Chargers lead the NFL in passing TD with 19 followed by the Broncos (5) and Jets (6) both of whom have 15 TDs.  The Chargers (1), Dolphins (5), and Bills (7) lead the NFL in QB rating.  The Patriots are (7) with 1,053 total yards rushing and the Raiders (8) have 972 yards.  Defensively the Bills (10) are in the top 10 yielding just over 301 yards/game while all four teams in the AFC West are in the bottom 10.   The Patriots only give up 18.8 points/game making them the 9th ranked team in the NFL.  The Chargers have given up the most passing yards (2,121) while the Broncos (6), Dolphins (7), and Jets (9) also have been vulnerable to the pass.  The Chiefs (1) have yielded a league leading 1,459 rushing yards.  The Raider (3) and Broncos (8) are also on this list and have been the easiest teams to run on through Week 9.

Outlook.  Both divisions remain undetermined as who will emerge as the champion with no clear cut leader at this point.

Stats at a glance               Defense                                                           Offense

                     Pts       Yds/G        Pass Yds    Rush Yds          Pts         Yds/G         Pass Yds     Rush Yds

AFC West

Chargers    24.9  (23)   371 (26)     2121 (32)    852 (16)        29.2 (3)     343 (12)        246 (7)        97 (24)

Chiefs         27.9 (29)    407 (31)    1797 (22)   1459 (32)       15.8 (29)    282 (26)      168 (28)      114 (14)

Broncos      27.6 (28)    387 (29)   1946 (27)    1157 (26)       23.8 (12)     371 (3)         268 (4)      105 (18)

Raiders       25.1 (24)    373 (28)    1730 (16)   1261 (30)       13.4 (32)    264 (29)       142 (31)     121 (10)

AFC East

Patriots       18.8  (9)    317 (14)    1701 (14)     840 (15)        21.0 (22)    322 (18)      191 (23)         131 (7)

Dolphins     20.4 (12)    331 (22)    1938 (26)      717 (9)        21.4 (19)    349 (10)        249 (6)       100 (21)

Bills             21.1 (13)   301 (10)     1622 (12)    791 (12)        22.8 (13)    320 (20)      227 (12)        93 (27)

Jets             23.4 (19)   312 (13)     1891 (24)      608 (4)        26.0 (8)      327 (17)      214 (14)      113 (15)

Note.  Source NFL.com.  Stats were before the MNF game and may be subject to change. 

Posted on: October 28, 2008 12:05 am
Edited on: October 28, 2008 6:50 pm

AFC South Break Down Against AFC West

Overview.  The AFC South certainly looks to be as good as last year, but it’s not the Colts who are dominating this year it’s the Titans.  The Titans have an unblemished 7-0 record.  The Colts are four games back and need to make up a lot of ground with only a few weeks remaining.  The AFC South as a division is 16-12 and has scored 645 points with 585 point scored against them.  Surprisingly, the team in last place (Texans) has scored the most points in the AFC South.  However, the Texans defense has given up the most point leading to their poor record.  Conversely, the Titans are averaging 12 points a game by their defensive unit.

The AFC West is under performing as compared to this time a year ago.  The division’s record is 10-19 scoring a total of 603 point and giving up 764 points.  By comparison the Chief who are currently in last place are only three games back of the Broncos, which is the a better position than the Colts.  So it’s anybody’s division to win or loss at this point.

Top Performers.  Though Week 8 the two divisions have some high flyers.  The Chargers (3) and the Texans (10) lead their respective divisions with total number of points scored in the NFL.  The Broncos (2) and Texans (4) are in the top 10 for yards per game.  The Broncos, Chargers, Colts and Texans are in the top 10 for passing yards per game.  The Titan (3) and Raiders (7) are among the NFL in rushing yards per game.  Philip Rivers leads the NFL with an impressive QB rating of 107.8.  Matt Schaub and Jay Cutler are also in the top 10.  Rivers (3rd - 2,038 yards), Cutler (4th - 1,862 Yards), and Manning (9th - 1,740) are in the top 10 for total yards passing.  Rivers leads the NFL with 19 TDs, followed by Cutler (6th) totaling 13, then Manning and Schaub with 10.  Chris Johnson ranks 4th in rushing with 626 yards rushing followed by LaDainian Tomlinson who ranks 8th in the NFL with 551 yards rushing.  LenDale White leads the NFL with 10 rushing TD this season.   Andre Johnson leads the NFL with 772 yards receiving.  Brandon Marshall and Vincent Jackson are in the NFL’s top 10 as well.  Kevin Walter and Chris Chambers each have 5 TD and are in the NFL’s top 10.  The TE position is filled with quality players.  All four TE in the AFC West are ranked in the NFL’s top 10 for total yardage along with the Texans and Titans.  Antonio Gates leads the group with 5 TD and 403 yards followed by Tony Gonzalez who has 3 TD and 369 yards on the year. The Bronco Tight End tandem of Daniel Graham and Tony Scheffler have combined for 4 TD and 479 total yards.  Dallas Clark  is in the top 10 for receiving yards and has 2 TD on the season.

Top to Bottom Analysis.  The AFC South certainly has the upper hand over the AFC West through Week 8.  Defensively the AFC South yields fewer points, and have out scored the AFC West.  The AFC South has run the ball better as referenced by the dynamic duo of Johnson and White.  The AFC West has two of the NFL’s leading passers with Rivers and Cutler while the AFC South’s Schaub and Johnson have been among the elite this year as well.  It’s no secret that playing from behind favors the passing game while playing from the lead favors the rushing game.  Top to bottom the AFC South has a better record and their last place teams would be second if they played in the AFC West.  Injuries have played a big part in both the AFC South and West’s performances.  Payton Manning got off to a slow start recovering from off season knee surgery.  Also, Joseph Addai has been out much of the season putting more pressure on the Colts.  The Broncos have been hit by the injury bug on both sides of the ball losing Boss Bailey, Champ Bailey, Tony Scheffler, Brandon Stokley, and Selvin Young.  The Titan lost Vince Young early in the season, but have maintained with Kerry Collins at the helm.  The Chiefs have been disseminated at QB, working with the third string QB now and without the service of Larry Johnson for past two games, maybe more.  The Chargers started the regular season banged up but seem to be on the mend offensively.  Defensively, the Chargers took a big hit when Shawne Merriman went out.

Outlook.  Barring injuries look for the Titan to keep a lock on the AFC South, while the reaming teams fight for a Wild Card spot.  Look for this division to mix it up going into the last half of the year.  In the AFC West it’s any ones division right now and too early to make projections.  However, my guess is that the Wild Card will not be coming from the AFC West this year.

Division Stats

                     Pts/G             Passing             Rushing

Broncos       24.7 (12th)       263 (3rd)             118 (13th)

Chargers      28.0 (3rd)         264 (7th)              97 (27th)

Raiders       15.3 (30th)        161 (29th)           129 (7th)

Chiefs         14.1 (31st)        163 (28th)           103 (20th)

Titans         24.8 (11th)         160 (30th)           154 (3rd)

Colts          21.3 (20th)         244 (9th)              70 (32nd)

Jaguars      20.1 (25th)         201 (20th)            116 (14th)

Texans       25.0 (10th)         253 (5th)             118 (11th)

Source NFL.com 10/27/08.  Note some data from the MNF was not available at the time of this post and rankings are subject to change. 

What do all these stats mean?  Some times they can tell a story and some times they don’t.  Statistically, the Raiders and Chiefs are nearly dead last and their record reflects the story.  The Texans are statically better than anyone in their division but are in last place.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com