AFC West Stock Watch


Takeo Spikes' postseason dreams: You have to feel bad for Spikes. The San Diego linebacker has been one of the NFL’s great competitors in his 15-year career. Yet it has been a career that has never seen postseason play. When the Chargers were officially eliminated from the playoff chase in Week 15, Spikes saw his mark go to 15-for-15 in playoff-less seasons. It is an NFL record. He deserves better.

Rolando McClain's status: McClain is back on the Oakland Raiders’ active roster after a two-game suspension for conduct detrimental to the team. But the middle linebacker is far from active. The No. 8 pick of the 2010 draft was relegated to being a scout-team running back in practice and he was not active for the Raiders’ victory over the Chiefs on Sunday. His days in the Silver and Black appear numbered.

Job security of Kansas City offensive coordinator Brian Daboll: It hasn’t been a banner year for Daboll’s offense sans for the running of Jamaal Charles. But Daboll’s unit hit a new low Sunday when it managed just 119 total yards and was shut out by an Oakland’s defense that entered the game allowing more points than any in the NFL. If head coach Romeo Crennel is somehow kept, Daboll likely won’t be. Either way, Kansas City looks likely to see another offensive coordinator in 2013.


Denver Broncos' reputation: The Broncos earned themselves some respect in Week 15 with their smashing victory at Baltimore. Had the Broncos lost to the Ravens, they would have gone into the playoffs with people thinking they can’t beat a good team. Winning convincingly in a tough place like Baltimore answers those questions. I think the league views Denver as a legitimate Super Bowl contender with two weeks left in the regular season.

AFC West speculation: There will likely be wholesale changes in both San Diego and Kansas City in the next few weeks, with an outside chance of a coaching change in Oakland. So naturally, speculation is high. We’ve heard about interim Indianapolis coach Bruce Arians as a candidate in San Diego and about former Indianapolis general manager and current ESPN analyst Bill Polian potentially being a candidate to run the Chiefs. My reaction? I think everything is on the table, and I expect plenty more names to emerge in the coming weeks.

Chances of defensive coordinator Jason Tarver staying in Oakland: There have been a lot of rumblings that the first-year defensive coordinator could be in trouble. The Raiders’ defense has been abysmal this season. But the shutout victory over Kansas City coupled with major personnel issues could help Tarver stuck around.