AFC West Breakdown: Week 2


Bring out the brooms because the division cleaned house with all four teams picking up wins. The Broncos, Raiders, and Chargers picked up their first win of the season while the Chiefs are still undefeated. The Raiders and Chiefs won their games on defense while the Broncos and Chargers lit up the scoreboard with both teams scoring more than 30 points. Week two was full of bone crushing action, so let’s take a closer look at each team from the AFC West.

Denver Broncos (1-1):

Looking Back: The Broncos won their 11th straight home opener, and they did it in fiery fashion. In 91-degree heat, the Broncos beat the Seahawks 31-14. With two first half interceptions by Champ Bailey and Brian Dawkins, the Seahawks failed to score before there was 10 minutes left in the 3rd quarter. Concrete and definite throws by Kyle Orton allowed the Broncos first 2010 draft pick to shine in his pro debut. Demaryius “Bey Bey” Thomas didn’t enter the game until there was 3:19 left in the first half, but he finished the day with 8 receptions for 97 yards and a touchdown. Forget Tebow-time. This was Bey Bey’s day.   

Looking Forward: Champ Bailey and Andre Goodman were both hurt after Sunday’s win. That spells bad news for a Broncos team who is about to play the best QB in the game. The Indianapolis Colts fly into Denver after their week two “brother vs. brother” matchup with the Giants. After losing in week one to the Texans, the Colts are back on the right track again, picking up a convincing 38-14 win over the G-Men. While this is a winnable game for Denver, they must pull out all the stops on offense and defense to beat this team who has been picked to return to the Super Bowl. The Broncos will have extra fuel to their competitive fire as they play to win for fallen teammate, Kenny McKinley, who committed suicide on Monday.

Kansas City Chiefs (2-0):

Looking Back: The Chiefs got their second win of the week after having a short week to prepare for the Cleveland Browns. This is big news for a team that only went 4-12 last year. Their bread and butter has been everything but the passing game. Their defense has forced 3 turnovers in the past two games and they held the Super Chargers to just 14 points. Their rushing attack has gained more than 100 yards in each of the last two games, and special teams has come up big with a 94-yard punt return for a TD by Dexter McCluster in week one and 3 Ryan Succop field goals in week two.

Looking Forward:  The Chiefs host the 49ers (0-2) in week three, and there’s no doubt that the Arrowhead advantage will be in full effect. The city is excited about their team once again and seats are being filled with red. The Chiefs main mission will be to contain deadly running back, Frank Gore. San Francisco is a mystery team this year. They’ve got the roster and the coaching staff to accumulate wins, but instead of remaining as cool as a Bay breeze, they’ve felt the heat from both Seattle and New Orleans. Once the Chiefs even out their ball distribution and Matt Cassel is able to find his rhythm, the Chiefs could be deadly.   

Oakland Raiders (1-1):

Looking Back: Let there be light in the black and grey city. The Raiders beat the St. Louis Rams in a nails-to-the-chalkboard type of game. Fans saw Jason Campbell take a seat on the pine when Tom Cable threw Bruce Gradkowski under center in the second half. When Gradkowski came in, he got the kind of reaction that Willis Reed got stepping onto the court at Madison Square Garden for game 7 against the Lakers. Gradkowski finished with 162 yards on 11-22 passing, 1 TD, and 1 INT. The most impressive Raiders performance of the week came from Darren McFadden who had 30 carries for 145 yards.  

Looking Forward: Oakland travels to Arizona to face a Cardinals team that’s coming off of a 41-7 loss against Atlanta. From that standpoint, it looks like the Raiders will be Mike Tyson’s punching bag in week three. Oakland’s offense and defense are ranked in the bottom tier, and their starting quarterback is a question mark at this point. Darren McFadden will need to have another productive outing. Louis Murphy, Zach Thomas, and Darrius Heyward-Bey will need to continue to help their QB, and the Oakland defense will need some playmakers. Otherwise these Birds will have a field day on this Raiders wreck.

San Diego Chargers (1-1):

Looking Back: Curiosity may kill the cat, but Chargers kill the Jaguar. The Chargers did what the Broncos could not do it week one; that’s knock off the Jacksonville Jaguars. As usual, the Chargers put up stellar offensive numbers with 477 total yards. Philip Rivers went 22-29 for 334 yards, 3 TDs, and 2 INTs. What was unusual for the Bolts was the number of turnovers they forced. In one way or another, the Jags coughed up the ball 6 times with David Garrard throwing 4 picks. The Chargers capitalized by banking 17 points off of those mistakes. Running back Mike Tolbert averaged 5.1 yards on 16 carries and got into the endzone twice.  

Looking Forward: The Chargers travel up the west coast to play Seattle. At home, Seattle was a thrilling team to watch as they crushed the 49ers 31-6 with a stout defense. Last week, the Seahawks let turnovers lead to Broncos points. Any opportunity that the Chargers are given, they will take full advantage with their arsenal of offensive weapons. Nothing makes Philip Rivers smile bigger than when his defense puts him in scoring range on 1st and 10. Seattle’s sky may be a breeding ground for lightning Bolts, so the question is can Pete Carroll bring a sunny vibe to the potential Chargers’ storm?

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