AFC West Breakdown: Week 7

(Kim Constantinesco writes for Predominantly Orange, which is FSB’s Denver Broncos blog. Representing the rest of the AFC West are Arrowhead Addict, Bolt Beat and Just Blog Baby.)

The Broncos had a chance to go up two games on the Chargers, the Raiders stunned Brett Favre and the Jets, and the Chiefs looked like Linus from Charlie Brown carrying around a security blanket in hopes of being saved from something. The Broncos and Chargers are learning that there’s no such thing as a free lunch while the Raiders and Chiefs look to avoid embarrassment each week. The AFC West is a shit-show all around that only John McCain Barack Obama John Madden I can try to explain. So here goes:

Denver Broncos (4-3):

Looking Back: I swear the Broncos and the Cowboys have the same demise every week. Each team started strong and then injuries/stupid playmaking basically prepared their ashes for early cremation in week 7 of the season. At least the Cowboys can use the excuse of injuries suffered by their starting QB, running back, punter, and cornerback. Like last year, the Broncos cannot pick themselves up after a loss to the Jaguars. They barely got it together to put some points on the board and avoid the big fat glazed doughnut against the Pats. The Broncos were just trying to help New Englanders get over the Sox loss to Tampa in the ALCS. Yeah, that’s what I’ll tell myself to help me get to sleep. Michael Pittman performed decently with 20 carries for 88 yards and Brandon Marshall had 6 receptions for 77 yards. The Broncos defense allowed Matt Cassell 3 TDs and 404 total yards. Only the Broncos can make Matt Cassell look like god, er Tom Brady. Turnovers once again lead to the Broncos loss and until they learn to take care of the ball like a 3 week old baby, the loss column will fill continue to fill up.

Looking Forward: The Broncos are off next week which is a great thing for the injured guys on the team. Brandon Stokley (concussion), Eddie Royal (ankle), Selvin Young (groin), Ryan Torain (elbow) and Tony Scheffler (groin) will continue to mend as well as defensive guys Boss Bailey and Ebenezer Ekuban among others. The team will prepare themselves to start practicing for a tough Miami contest at home when they return from the bye. After Monday’s loss, this team needs all the rest and self discovery that it can get. Bring in Dr. Phil for the team’s psyche, the superglue for Andre Hall’s hands, and an insulin shot for Jay Cutler’s lackluster performance. This team obviously needs work that only a bye week can fix. Flu/cold season has already started, but I picked up my box of Kleenex for future Broncos games.

Kansas City (1-5):

Looking Back: Sticks and stones may break the Chiefs bones, yet words never seem to motivate this team. They played the only undefeated team in the league and managed to score some points on them, which is a step up from week 5 against Carolina. However, the Chiefs and the Lions now vie for the dubious title of “Worst NFL Team in 2008.” Brodie “Brokie” Croyle should probably start taking some calcium pills like a postmenopausal woman. He is likely out for the season with ligament damage to his knee, and the Chiefs were left slamming their heads against the walls of Arrowhead. Damon Huard replaced Croyle only to be cursed with Croyle’s luck by suffering a thumb injury. Third QB’s a charm. Right? Wrong! Tyler Thigpen took the reins and closed out the loss in the fourth quarter. The Chiefs managed 58 rushing yards with Larry Johnson inactive for disciplinary reasons. If you’re the Chiefs, why don’t you send him to the corner for a timeout instead of yanking your best player for the game? The only bright spot against the Titans was Tony Gonzalez’s 6 catches for 97 yards. Good thing the Chiefs didn’t get rid of him last week. If you had a problem determining which Missouri football team would emerge as the better team, then you can rest easy now. It’s the NFC East crushing (?) Rams of St. Louis.

Looking Forward:  The Chiefs visit Bretty and the Jets next week. One thing is certain: The Jets want revenge on an AFC West team after losing to the Raiders. The Chiefs will be that punching bag that the Jets need to stay in contention in the AFC East. Whether or not the Chiefs use one or two QBs next week, they will now need to make that position part of their rebuilding plan. Larry Johnson will be back in the lineup which will help against the Jets 4th ranked rushing defense. However, the Chiefs should look to take advantage of the Jets’ poor pass defense by going to the air more. Getting Tony G. involved would be a good thing since he is the only one willing to go to work on Sundays. Brett Favre should tear apart the Chiefs defense with ease and Herm Edwards defer the loss to his players once again. Some days you’re the pigeon and some days you’re the statue. If you’re a Chiefs fan, you’re a statue set in Central Park every day.

Oakland Raiders (2-4):

Looking Back: Way to stay cool in Cali, Tom Cable. You managed to get a win out of this team for the first time since week 2 when you played the Chiefs. You even got Javon Walker to make an appearance with 5 catches for 75 yards and a score. JaMarcus Russell made some headway with 203 yards and 1 TD, and the defense had 2 INTs and 1 fumble recovery. Still, the game was a nail biter as the Raiders called an un-timely timeout to give the Jets another chance to tie the game after they missed their first field-goal attempt in the fourth. In overtime, it was all Sebastian Janikowski as he hit a 57-yard field goal to win it. I haven’t seen Raider Nation that excited in a long time. They had the right to be after the Al Davis/Lane Kiffin soap opera that had taken the “ball” out of football and put the “foot” in a coach’s ass. Fans needed that in seasons that have seen everything go wrong nearly every week. Heartbreak was finally averted in the Black Hole and people left with smiles on their face.

Looking Forward:  The Baltimore Ravens welcome the Raiders to a bleak environment where opposing teams rarely see the endzone. A place where beer drinking dudes sport Barney purple like it’s going out of style. A place that can haunt young QBs for the rest of their careers. The Ravens are #1 in rush defense and #4 in pass defense. Needless to say, Al Davis will have a grimace on his face next week as the team will have trouble putting points on the board. The Ravens offense, however, leaves nothing to be desired. Defense wins championships anyway. Right NY Giants? Oakland always has a slim chance of winning games because they have talent on the team. It’s young talent, but it’s talent nonetheless. I think the stock market has a better chance of remaining stable than the Raiders offense does of picking apart the Ravens defense. Russell has 4 fumbles already, so the Ravens will look to take advantage of his carelessness. Whether or not Javon Walker shows up is always a question, and Darren McFadden is too inconsistent. It’s a good thing the Raiders wet their appetite in week 7 because they may not get another win for a while.

San Diego Chargers (3-4):

Looking Back: Buffalo was a rough layover for the Chargers. With power going out at the stadium and the play clock not working, the Chargers looked like they were playing in the dark despite ample sunshine. After crushing the Patriots last week, the Chargers Philip Rivers was plagued by turnovers. He had 3 with 2 of them coming at the end of the fourth when the team had a chance to get back in the game. The running game saw Ladanian Tomlinson rush 14 times for 41 yards. This team is more up and down than a set of elevators in a 10 story building. They are the most inconsitent team in the league which is surprising because the team is still relatively healthy. Sure, you can make the case that they are missing Shawn Merriman, but he would not have helped them in the loss to Buffalo. The Bills are a very good team, but the Chargers play was especially sloppy.

Looking Forward: The helium balloons that were caught in the power lines causing the power outage may be needed to lift the Chargers across the Atlantic to London where they will face the New Orleans Saints. Like I said, the Buffalo game was a rough layover. The team will not be able to return to the west coast until their bye week in week 9. Both teams will arrive in London trying to avenge their loss from the previous week. Playing in a country where playing football only requires cleats and a good set of legs should be interesting for both teams. The Saints only put up 7 points against the Panthers, and had 2 turnovers. However, the biggest loss came with Reggie Bush hurting his knee. He will be out for 2-4 weeks. Even with Bush out of the game, putting your money on the Chargers from week to week is about as safe as going to Honduras for a heart transplant.

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Tags: Denver Broncos Kansas City Chiefs Oakland Raiders San Diego Chargers

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