With the Cardinals and Seahawks having traded places in the standings from last season’s playoff bracket, the NFC West has been settled. The AFC West, suddenly, hasn’t, as the Chiefs are now one game back of the reeling Broncos and hold the tiebreaker.
Here’s what’s developing out of the Western teams’ locales as Week 15 concludes.
- Between six and 14 owners have yet to decide which way they’ll vote on the relocation issue in January, Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune writes. The majority of the six owners who comprise the Committee on Los Angeles Opportunities, however, are behind the Chargers‘ and Raiders‘ Carson-based project, and their opinion will have the most sway among the 32 voters, Acee offers. San Diego, in the NFL’s opinion, being unlikely to approve public funding to be allocated toward a new Chargers stadium provides a significant stumbling block in the city’s efforts to retain the team.
- Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio wonders if the Raiders, who have expressed no desire to replace the Rams in St. Louis, would consider a San Diego relocation if the city became serious about financing a new stadium. With the Chargers, in Florio’s view, not being inclined to wait on the city to decide on a stadium solution in order to find a more-lucrative landing spot in Los Angeles, the city won’t merely shut down football operations. Like Baltimore and St. Louis after the cities lost their teams in 1984 and 1988, respectively, Florio expects San Diego to keep pushing to land a team if the Chargers depart.
- Gary Kubiak is open to Peyton Manning returning next week at less than 100%, Troy Renck of the Denver Post reports. “Absolutely. We are trying to work him back to where he feels like he can go play, and go be himself,” Kubiak said. “That’s been the plan all along but we are not there yet.” The first-year Broncos coach’s view of Manning’s health led him to maintain the status quo of Brock Osweiler atop the depth chart going into this week’s practices. Osweiler failed to lead the Broncos to any second-half points in their past three games.
- 49ers first-year coach Jim Tomsula appears to be safe, with the team in full-on rebuilding mode, after a rocky debut, Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com writes. Although owner Jed York told media, “We’ll talk about everything at the end of the season,” CBS sideline reporter Jay Feely‘s conversation with 49ers COO Al Guido can be interpreted as the 49ers showing faith in Tomsula’s process. “They knew what they were getting into when they had all the defections,” Feely said, describing Guido’s view of the offseason chaos that consumed the team. “(Guido) said they underestimated a little bit the impact that it had in the locker room, specifically the lack of leadership. . . But I think they’re confident with Jim Tomsula going forward.”