Audibles: AFC West Week 10 preview

Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson

Carolina Panthers at Oakland Raiders, 4:05 ET This is what happens after you gain 77 yards of offense and three first downs in a 24-0 home defeat. This is what happens after you lose three games by a total of 87-13 under your interim head coach.

People wonder if firing the head coach really was the right idea. After weeks of intense speculation, Raiders owner Al Davis fired coach Lane Kiffin on Sept. 30. The Raiders had a 1-3 record, but the team was playing hard and competing under Kiffin.

Kiffin was replaced by offensive line coach Tom Cable. The Raiders aren't playing as hard.

They have the same 1-3 record under Cable as they did under Kiffin. But the Raiders haven't competed in the games they lost. They have been embarrassed. The team is going backward.

Was Oakland better off with Kiffin? This is the type of question that is asked when disasters happen.

Kansas City Chiefs at San Diego Chargers, 4:15 ET It is all on Ron Rivera. Or at least it seems that way.

There is a new air of enthusiasm around the San Diego Chargers as they emerge from their bye week. For a preseason Super Bowl contender that floundered to a 3-5 record in the first half of the season, there is renewed hope.

And it's in the form of Rivera. All eyes will be on his defense when the Chiefs visit. The Chargers shook their foundation early in the bye week by firing defensive coordinator Ted Cottrell. Rivera, the team's inside linebacker coach and former defensive coordinator in Chicago, is now in charge of the defense.

Under Rivera, the Chargers promise to be more aggressive than they were under Cottrell. The Chargers haven't had an interception or a sack in their last nine quarters. San Diego also is ranked last in the NFL in pass defense.

There is too much talent on this defense for the follies to continue. The Chargers' offense is playing well enough to win. The team's Super Bowl run is being halted by the defense.

If San Diego makes it to the playoffs, it will be because Rivera turns around the defense.