As the Broncos spend their Sunday finishing up final preparations for their Monday night football game in San Diego against the Chargers, the remaining two AFC West teams will be battling NFC teams on the road. The Kansas City Chiefs will face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in a contest of 1-4 teams, while the Oakland Raiders resume play after their bye week with a visit to the Georgia Dome and a difficult contest against the undefeated Atlanta Falcons. Continue reading for my thoughts on the three games featuring AFC West teams in Week Six.
Kansas City Chiefs at Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Since Matt Cassel has been ruled out of this Sunday’s game due to a concussion sustained last Sunday against the Ravens, ex-Cleveland Brown/Denver Bronco quarterback, Brady Quinn, will start for Kansas City. Tampa Bay has the 27th ranked defense in the league, so this may be an advantage for Quinn as he attempts to reacquaint himself with real game time action since he hasn’t started a real NFL game since the 2009 season. As the Chiefs have done the last five games with Cassel leading the offense, I would expect the Chiefs to lean heavily on Jamaal Charles for their offensive production. Considering both teams find themselves with only one win at this point in the season, this game should be considered a must-win. A win would improve the Chiefs to 2-4, which still isn’t a good place to be with the mid-point of the season rapidly approaching.
Oakland Raiders at Atlanta Falcons: On paper, this game shouldn’t even be close. The Raiders’ best bet may be that the Falcons overlook them since the Falcons will be facing the Eagles, Cowboys, Saints, and the Cardinals in the next month. Being realistic, however, professional football players and coaches do only take it one game at a time, regardless of how cliché that sounds, so I would expect the Falcons to win their sixth straight game rather easily. A win over the Raiders would complete an AFC West sweep for the Falcons.
Denver Broncos at San Diego Chargers: Another nationally televised game in San Diego for the Denver Broncos. Will this game be reminiscent of the 2008 game when the Broncos had an opportunity to win the division and were routed 52-21, ending the season, and Mike Shanahan’s tenure in Denver, or will it resemble the 2009 Monday night game when the Broncos performed superbly, winning 34-23, thus improving their record to 6-0? Given what I’ve seen from the 2012 Denver Broncos up to this point in the season, I have no idea what to expect on Monday night. That being said, I know what I want to see! I want Peyton Manning to continue performing like he has the last two games; I want Demaryius Thomas to hold onto the ball; I want the defense to step up and get off the field on third down; I want the coaches to be aggressive with their play calling, and lastly, I want the team to perform well from the opening kickoff and not have an uphill fight in the last quarter-and-a-half to get back in the game! I don’t believe I’m asking for too much, because I believe this team definitely has the talent to do this; they just have to do what they’ve been saying they’re going to do. Needless to say, this game, since it is a divisional battle, and the Chargers are atop the AFC West, is a must win for the Broncos!