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Oakland Raiders have a shot in wide-open AFC West

There was nothing particularly thrilling about the Oakland Raiders26-16 win over the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday.


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Darren McFadden looked a bit more like himself with 29 carries for 119 yards, which was nice to see. Oakland's defense knocked Kansas City quarterback Brady Quinn out of the game, then kept Matt Cassell from authoring a story of personal redemption.

The victory moves the Raiders to 3-4, an ordinary record that's good enough to contend in the middling AFC West. The first-place Denver Broncos (4-3) defeated the New Orleans Saints, 34-14, on Sunday night, so the Raiders find themselves tied with the San Diego Chargers for second in the division.

The season essentially is at its halfway point, and the West still doesn't have a clear-cut favorite. The Broncos have built up some goodwill in recent weeks, but that could all be undone if Drew Brees goes off on The Cris Collinsworth Variety Hour.

Who knows what to make of the San Diego Chargers (3-4), who came off their bye and managed just six points in a ghastly road loss to the Cleveland Browns? We used to argue if Philip Rivers is elite. Now it's fair to wonder if he's serviceable.

The only team we clearly can count out is the Chiefs (1-6), who are frighteningly awful. How awful? The Chiefs haven't held a lead in regulation this season. They are the first team to own this distinction through seven games since 1940.

The Raiders might not be great, but they'll feel that way when they wake up Monday morning. The same cannot be said for poor Romeo Crennel and Co.

Follow Dan Hanzus on Twitter @danhanzus.

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