AFC West Midseason Awards: Pryor, Manning, Rivers all team MVP's

By John Breech | CBSSports.com

Before the 2013 season started, the AFC West was viewed as the Denver Broncos and everybody else. Eight weeks later, the AFC West is shaping up as the only division in the NFL that could send three teams to the playoffs. As a matter of fact, if the season would've ended after Week 8, three AFC West teams would have made the playoffs.

Midseason Team Report Cards
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The undefeated Chiefs would be the No. 1 seed in the imaginary midseason playoffs. Also in the field would be the Broncos as the fifth seed and the Chargers as the sixth seed. Cincinnati (No. 2 seed), New England (No. 3) and Indianapolis (No. 4) would be the other three teams in.

Unfortunately, being in the imaginary midseason playoff field doesn't really mean much, but the midseason awards do. Quarterbacks dominated the team MVP award in the AFC West, except in Kansas City, where two of the Chiefs most valuable defensive players split the award.

Denver Broncos

MVP: Peyton Manning

Surprise: Knowshon Moreno

Disappointment: Von Miller (Keeps making headlines for the wrong reason)

Going Forward: The Broncos are 7-1, but if you look back at their schedule, no team that they beat through the first eight weeks is over .500. What does that mean? Well, we know the Broncos are good, but we're going to to find out how good real soon. After a bye in Week 9, Denver's next four games are at San Diego, home against Kansas City, then at New England and at Kansas City. The Broncos are almost certainly going to make the playoffs, but you have to figure that at Peyton Manning's age (37), he really, really, really wants a first round bye.

The first eight weeks in one GIF:

The Broncos are pounding every team they play. (NBC)
The Broncos are pounding every team they play. (NBC)

Kansas City Chiefs

MVP(s): Tamba Hali and Justin Houston

Surprise: Jamaal Charles (leading the team in rushing and receiving yards after eight weeks)

Disappointment: Dwayne Bowe

Going Forward: After going 2-14 in 2012, the Chiefs are all but guaranteed a playoff berth in 2013. Not counting Kansas City, 20 teams have started 8-0 in NFL history and all 20 teams made the playoffs. Like the Broncos, the Chiefs haven't beaten a team that currently has a winning record and like the Broncos, Kansas City's schedule gets substantially tougher over the second half of the season. The Chiefs still have to play the Broncos and Chargers twice, along with a home game against the Colts.

The first eight weeks in one GIF:

The first half of the season has been a thrill ride for Andy Reid and the Chiefs. (NFL Network)
The first half of the season has been a thrill ride for Andy Reid and the Chiefs. (NFL Network)

San Diego Chargers

MVP: Philip Rivers

Surprise: Keenan Allen

Disappointment: 26th ranked pass defense (18th in 2012)

Going Forward: The Chargers are definitely the dark horse in the AFC West. If San Diego can somehow sweep the Chiefs or Broncos -- they still have to play each team twice -- the Chargers could put themselves in the driver's seat for the division title. The Chargers do have two things going for them: they have an easier remaining schedule than Denver or Kansas City and they play four of their final five games at home.

The first eight weeks in one GIF:

Stay away from Philip Rivers or else... (NFL Network)
Stay away from Philip Rivers or else... (NFL Network)

Oakland Raiders

MVP: Terrelle Pryor

Surprise: Terrelle Pryor

Disappointment: Sebastian Janikowski

Going Forward: The Raiders were picked by many to be the worst team in the NFL this season, so it's almost a moral victory that they had already have three wins in eight weeks. The Raiders might be able to double that three win total over their final nine games. Oakland doesn't play a team that currently has a winning record until Week 15. Terrelle Pryor's been getting better each week and it's not out of this question for this team to reach .500 before all is said and done.

The first eight weeks in one GIF:

This has been the Raider way since Al Davis first bought the team. (CBS)
This has been the Raider way since Al Davis first bought the team. (CBS)

 
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