LA Chargers: What we learned about the AFC West in Week 7

Kansas City Chiefs v Tennessee Titans
Kansas City Chiefs v Tennessee Titans / Wesley Hitt/GettyImages
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Derek Carr, Casey Hayward Jr., Trent Sieg
Philadelphia Eagles v Las Vegas Raiders / Ethan Miller/GettyImages

The Las Vegas Raiders are a legitimate playoff contender

While the LA Chargers should still be regarded as the better football team, the Las Vegas Raiders have proven over the last two weeks that they are a legitimate playoff contender. This makes the Bolts' easy victory over the Raiders earlier in the season all the more impressive.

The Raiders started the season 3-0 and then went on a bit of a downhill slide that seemingly brought them back down to earth. They lost to the Chargers in humbling fashion and then were outclassed by the Chicago Bears of all teams.

However, Jon Gruden was still in the building and that seemed to be a massive distraction. With Gruden out, Derek Carr has really stepped up as the leader of this team and has put together two huge wins over the Denver Broncos and Philadelphia Eagles.

While those two teams are not the best that is what a playoff contender is supposed to do: beat up on the teams who are not going to be competing for a playoff position in two months.

The real ceiling of the Raiders will be determined when they have more tough games under their best. While the team is 5-2 and has a win over the Baltimore Ravens, the schedule has been fairly easy. The Ravens and Chargers are the only two other playoff contenders the Raiders have played. The other wins are over the Pittsburgh Steelers and Miami Dolphins. Not the best track record.

The Raiders have another easy test against the New York Giants in Week 8 and then enter a tough slate. The team has to play the Chiefs twice, the Bengals and the Cowboys in a five-week window. They could go 1-4 in those five games.

Right now, though, they should be considered as playoff contenders.