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NFL Picks Week Five: Raiders-Texans, Chiefs-Colts, Chargers-Broncos

Today could be a good day for the teams in the AFC West, especially the Raiders who will be playing with extra emotion.

It could be a good week for the AFC West. And that's good news for a division that could use a boost. The poor play so far of the AFC West has it looking like a contender for the worst division in the AFC. Certainly the AFC South is hurting without Peyton Manning leading the Colts and the Jags lagging predictably after the unexpected release of David Garrard. But the AFC West continues to feature a struggling Broncos team, a disappointing Chiefs franchise and a middling Raiders roster that shows signs of brilliance and frustration.

Today's games could change a lot of that, however. The division cannot go 4-0 today with the Broncos and Chargers facing each other, but 3-1 is a real possibility. Here are the predictions:

Oakland @ Houston
There's no discounting the emotion of the Raiders' roster after the passing of team owner Al Davis yesterday after several decades of ownership. Expect the team to immediately grab to onto the moment and dedicate the rest of the season to Davis' memory and legacy. That's bad news for the Texans, who are without Andre Johnson. If the Raiders play inspired ball, their defense can truly rise to the occasion. Darren McFadden, on the other hand, needs to introduction or inspiration. He's the real deal.
Raiders 21, Texans 20

Kansas City @ Indianapolis
The pundits are picking Indy because they refuse to believe the proud Colts franchise can fall to 0-5. The Chiefs played the Colts close last year, but both franchises have show themselves to be shadows of what happened last year. Yet the Chiefs found a spark last week and you can expect the momentum to carry them through this game. If new addition Jon Baldwin can stretch the field, the Colts secondary is suspect and Matt Cassel could have another strong outing. Tamba Hali should also have a field day with the Colts back-up left tackle.
Chiefs 24, Colts 10

San Diego @ Denver
The division leaders could move to 4-1 on the year by defeating the Broncos. That quick start burdens the rest of the division with the need to keep up with a Chargers squad that normally takes several weeks to find their rhythm. The Broncos have to be pleased with their draft class, but they could use another full off-season to expect much at all on the field. Chargers should walk away with a win despite playing on the road.
Chargers 30, Broncos 20