As week 11 ends, it appears that there’s some separation between the four teams in the AFC West. The Raiders are one game up on the second place Broncos with the Chiefs and Chargers falling behind in the division with a 4-6 record. Here’s a look at the week that was and what’s to come.
Denver Broncos (5-5):
Looking Back: Now at .500 and having won 4 of their last 5, the Broncos have hit their stride and hope to keep it for these next six weeks. The team took out the New York Jets in a 17-13 win that surprised many. “The Drive” part two saw Tim Tebow take the team 95 yards with less that five minutes remaining to score the game’s winning touchdown. More prominent, however, was the team’s defense that held the Jets to 13 points, and sacked Mark Sanchez three times. Andre Goodman had the first pick-6 of his career in the third quarter which really swung the momentum in the Broncos favor.
Looking Forward: The Broncos had the weekend off to recoup after playing three games in 12 days. They have had plenty of time to prepare for the struggling San Diego Chargers. The Broncos travel to San Diego for a game that could define their playoff hopes. Philip Rivers is always good for a pick or two these days which is very beneficial for the often times stagnant Broncos offense. If the Broncos win this one, people can start seriously talking about post season play.
Kansas City Chiefs (4-6):
Looking Back: It was all Tom Brady and the Patriots as they came out on top 34-3 in a non-contest. Monday Night Football turned into Snooze Fest Football when the Patriots jumped out to 17-3 lead in the 3rd quarter. In Tyler Palko’s first career start, he went 25-of-38 for 236 yards, but threw 3 interceptions. The lefty’s main target was Dwayne Bowe who had 7 catches for 87 yards. The Chiefs defense sacked Brady twice, but that’s about all they did. They gave up 96 receiving yards and 2 touchdowns to Rob Gronkowski.
Looking Forward: For the Chiefs, the road to the playoffs is rocky and treacherous. Next week the guys in red host the always dangerous Steelers team. The following five weeks include the Bears, Jets, Packers, Raiders, and Broncos. Enough said.
Oakland Raiders (6-4):
Looking Back: The Raiders fended off the charging Broncos by beating Minnesota 31-24 to remain a game up on Denver. Carson Palmer held steady by going 17-0f-23 for 164 yards and a touchdown. He also rushed for a touchdown. However, it was Oakland’s defense that intercepted Christian Ponder three times and kept the ball out of the Vikings’ hands for the most part. Minnesota controlled the clock and Michael Bush was a big part of that contributing 109 yards on 30 carries and a touchdown. This win makes it two and a row for the dark side.
Looking Forward: Looking too far forward is not all that pleasant for the Raiders. Up next is a Cutler-less Bears team in Oakland. While Cutler won’t be in action, the team will face former CSU Ram Caleb Hanie who went 13-of-20 for 153 yards and a touchdown in last year’s NFC Championship game. The Bears’ defense is 10th against the rush could holdup Michael Bush. While they are allowing quite a few passing yards this season, they are 3rd in interceptions with 15 on the year. This won’t be a walk in the park for the Raiders.
San Diego Chargers (4-6):
Looking Back: The Chargers can look all the way back to the Norv Turner hire to see where things really went wrong. In terms of this season, however, the team has lost five straight. The latest beneficiary to playing the Chargers were the Bears. Chicago won 31-20 partly because they caused so many headaches to Philip Rivers. Rivers went 21-0f-31 for 280 yards and had 2 touchdowns, but he also threw 2 picks. Chicago’s run defense completely stopped Ryan Mathews. He led the team in rushing with 13 carries for 37 yards and one fumble. Vincent Jackson was the all-star catching 7 balls for 165 yards and a score.
Looking Forward: The Chargers throw out the welcome mat to the Broncos. They beat the Broncos (barely) back in October. This one is set to be a charged contest with the Broncos hoping to gain some ground in the AFC West. Essentially whoever wins this game locks up two wins. The Chargers are used to playing their best football in November and December, and a loss this week would pretty much mean their season.