AFC West Q&A: What is the division's best rivalry?

Today's question: What is the division’s best rivalry?

Adam Teicher, Kansas City Chiefs reporter: One of the great things about the AFC West is that the four teams were born at the same time (1960) and in the same place (Western Division of the old AFL), so each franchise doesn’t know any of the others as anything but a hated rival. That’s what makes a rivalry great. These teams have had more than 50 seasons to hate on each other, so all of the rivalries are special. Picking one above the others is like picking a favorite child. They’re all good in their own way. The Chiefs and Raiders were the titans of the AFL in its final years, so historically that rivalry has the edge. But Denver is the five-time defending division champion, so any discussion about the hottest of the modern rivalries has to include the Broncos. The Chiefs, who finished in second place the past three years, are the most logical choice, but they had lost seven straight against Denver until breaking through with a big win last November. But the Chargers and Raiders each beat the Broncos just once during the same period, so they can’t claim any superiority in their recent rivalries against Denver.

Paul Gutierrez, Oakland Raiders reporter: Here’s the best thing about the AFC West: The Broncos, Raiders, Chiefs and Chargers have all been knocking heads with one another since 1960 with the dawn of the old AFL. No other division, as currently constructed, can claim the same. As such, let’s look at the question from the Raiders’ perspective. Every game they play, even as they have not had a winning record or been to the playoffs since the 2002 season, is the biggest game on their opponents’ schedule. Again, we’re talking about the Raiders and their "us against the world" syndrome. There’s a reason the NFL Network’s biggest feud in league history was ... (drum roll, please) the Raiders vs. the World. That’s the macro view, of course. In the micro view of the AFC West, it’s the Raiders and Chargers whenever they play (think Holy Roller); the Raiders and Chiefs whenever they get together (think Otis Taylor’s one foot in bounds in the 1969 AFL title game); and the Raiders and Broncos when they see each other (think Rob Lytle’s fumble). But for the purposes of this exercise, let’s say the best rivalry at the moment is Raiders-Broncos, if for no other reason than Oakland seems primed to challenge the defending Super Bowl champs for the division crown, a year after handing the Broncos their final home loss of their championship season.

Eric D. Williams, San Diego Chargers reporter: The Broncos have dominated the division the past five years, so I’m not sure there’s any real rivalry on the field. But I’ll go with the two California teams because the fan bases of the Chargers and Raiders genuinely dislike each other. San Diego has dominated the rivalry over the past decade, winning 14 of the 20 contests. However, the Raiders swept the series last year for the first time since 2010. Both teams compete in archaic stadiums that need to be replaced and could be playing in new cities in 2017. Plus, the hated rivals tried to actually partner on a deal to build a stadium in Carson, California, last year, so this creates a unique element to the rivalry when the two teams meet for the first time in 2016 in Oakland on Oct. 9.