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AFC West areas of improvement

Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson

The following is one area each AFC West team needs to improve in:

Denver: Allowing the big play -- Denver allowed Cleveland seven plays of 15 yards or more. The Denver defense is battered and it is playing without five starters, including star left cornerback Champ Bailey and all three starting linebackers. This is a young, flawed defense that is headed to Atlanta where the Falcons are all about big plays. If Denver has any chance of winning, the defense will have to tighten and not allow so many big plays. It could be tough. Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan is red hot and Falcons' tailback Michael Turner was a Bronco killer as a backup in San Diego.

Kansas City: Finish -- This has been the Chiefs' story the past three weeks. The Chiefs' inability to finish is killing this team. If the Chiefs had just done a few simple things, they'd actually be 4-5 at this point and just one game out of first place in the AFC West. At 1-8, Kansas City isn't going anywhere this season, but it could finish the season on a strong note if it only learns how to close out games when it has the chance.

Oakland: Adjust to the East Coast -- Teams flying from the West Coast to the East Coast are 0-12 this season. The Raiders are 0-2 on the East Coast. They have two more games on the East Coast this season, including Sunday in Miami. If the Raiders are going to break their three-game skid, they must get used to playing earlier. The game will start 10 a.m. Oakland time.

San Diego: No interceptions -- Philip Rivers' two interceptions didn't, ultimately, hurt the Chargers on Sunday against Kansas City. But he can't be as sloppy against Pittsburgh. If the Chargers are going to upset Pittsburgh, Rivers is going to have to play a clean game. He categorized his mistakes against the Chiefs as "silly." Rivers has been very good with ball protection this season. He has to make sure his miscues against Kansas City was an isolated issue.