AFC West games to watch

Here’s a list of some of the most compelling 2012 NFL games involving AFC West teams:

Sept. 9

Atlanta at Kansas City

Tony Gonzalez comes back to Kansas City.

Pittsburgh at Denver

The Steelers lost to Tim Tebow in their last game; they return to Denver to help the Broncos usher in the Peyton Manning era.

Sept. 10

San Diego at Oakland

I just love these season-opening Monday nighters.

Oct. 7

Denver at New England

Manning-Tom Brady has a new look. Still a classic.

San Diego at New Orleans

Philip Rivers-Drew Brees isn’t too shabby, either.

Oct. 15

Denver at San Diego

Early-season statement game on a Monday night.

Oct. 28

New Orleans at Denver

Manning faces the team that kept a Super Bowl ring from him.

Nov. 1

Kansas City at San Diego

Second half of the season starts on a Thursday night.

Nov. 12

Kansas City at Pittsburgh

Chiefs face Todd Haley, their former coach turned Steelers offensive coordinator, on a Monday Night. Should be fun.

Nov. 25

Oakland at Cincinnati

Carson Palmer goes back to Cincy to see Hue Jackson, the man who brought him to Oakland.

Dec. 6

Denver at Oakland

Rivalry gets a Thursday-night taste.

Dec. 23

San Diego at New York Jets

The AFC West’s lone crack at Tebow gets prime-time slot.

Dec. 30

Kansas City at Denver, Oakland at San Diego

If this division is as tight in 2012 as it was in 2011, this day will be crucial.