Denver Broncos wide receiver Demaryius Thomas (88) catches a pass against Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Jalil Brown (30) in the second half at Arrowhead Stadium. Denver won the game 17-9. (John Rieger-US PRESSWIRE)

AFC West Preview – Week Thirteen

As NFL football fans, we sometimes forget that the players we cheer for every weekend are real people; just like us, they face some of the same challenges, obstacles, and struggles many people face every day.  The Kansas City tragedy that occurred on Saturday, no doubt, reminded us that life is fragile and precious.  The sport of professional football is only a game, and in the end, it only exists for entertainment and that is all.  The act of one man has changed many lives forever and has caused a level of pain in so many people that it probably can’t be put into words.  A dark cloud will be over the entire NFL this weekend, and no doubt, that cloud will be a bit darker over Kansas City.

As I do every week, I am previewing the games that feature the AFC West teams, but my heart really isn’t into it due to the Kansas City events.  My heartfelt condolences and prayers go out to the families of Kasandra Perkins and Jovan Belcher, as well as, all the other individuals impacted by this senseless tragedy.

Please continue reading for my thoughts on the games featuring AFC West teams this week.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Denver Broncos:  If the Broncos can get their seventh consecutive win, they will also clinch their second consecutive divisional title.  Despite winning last week in Kansas City, the Broncos overall performance was sub-par so I am anxious to see if the Broncos are extremely motivated to play much better than last week.  The Broncos defense must be able to stop Tampa Bay running back Doug Martin; stopping the run proved challenging last week as the Broncos defense gave up a total of 148 yards on the ground.  Tampa Bay ranks last in passing defense so this may be a huge day for Peyton Manning and the Bronco passing attack.

Cincinnati Bengals at San Diego Chargers:  Last week the Chargers allowed the Baltimore Ravens to convert a fourth and 29 toward the end of the game, which was ultimately won by the Ravens in overtime.  That single play sums up the Chargers season – sitting in a prime spot but mistakes cost them greatly.  Considering that Cincinnati is on a three game winning streak, San Diego may have another tough test ahead of them this week.  The Lightning Bolts season is very close to being completely over, so I am going to give the advantage to the Bengals and their winning streak.  I just don’t know if this Chargers team will play for pride, and Norv Turners job?

Cleveland Browns at Oakland Raiders:  Both teams enter Week Thirteen at 3-8 with no hope of making the playoffs so I have to stretch in order to find something appealing about this game.  Like I have done the last few weeks, I am going to lean on Carson Palmer and his potential for a lot of points for Fantasy owners.  Be prepared to check or to visit a friend or bar with NFL Sunday Ticket because this game will probably get very little coverage.  Of course, that will change if Palmer has a career day!  Advantage – Oakland and the Black Hole?!

Carolina Panthers at Kansas City ChiefsRomeo Crennel met with team captains on Saturday and the team decided to go ahead and play today.  It is hard to tell what the atmosphere will be like at Arrowhead but there will be a lot of attention focused on Kansas City.  No one thought that the Chiefs 1-10 season could get any worse but that changed with the events of Saturday.

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