With only two weeks left in the regular season, the Denver Broncos find themselves sitting in a pretty good spot – win the next two games and they secure the second seed in the AFC playoffs. Not that I expect this Houston to cooperate with this hopeful wish, but if the Broncos win out and the Houston Texans end the season with two straight losses, the AFC road to Super Bowl XLVII would come through the Mile High City. First things first though, the Broncos have to take care of the Cleveland Browns today. Obviously, this is the most exciting game on the docket today when you look at the entire slate of games featuring AFC West teams on the second to last Sunday of the regular season.
Please continue reading for my thoughts on the football games in Week Sixteen featuring AFC West teams.
Indianapolis Colts (9-5) at Kansas City Chiefs (2-12):
Years ago if you would have told me that a rookie quarterback was starting against the Chiefs at Arrowhead in December, I would have no doubt picked the Chiefs to easily win. That was then and this is now. Given the product that I’ve seen the Colts put on the field and the product the Chiefs have put on the field this season, I would expect the Colts to win this game, solidifying their standing in the AFC playoff race. It will be interesting to see how the Chiefs play their last two games of the season. After watching last week’s game against the Oakland Raiders, the Chiefs have only one direction to go and that is up, because I don’t think it can get any worse!
Oakland Raiders (4-10) at Carolina Panthers (5-9):
I’m playing for fifth place in my fantasy league today, so I need Carson Palmer to step up and have a huge game, since he is my starting quarterback. I am not getting my hopes up however, because Palmer has been relatively quiet the last few weeks. Statistically speaking, I may have the wrong quarterback from this game – Cam Newton had a sound game last week against the San Diego Chargers when he threw for 231 yards and two touchdowns. Like the Chiefs, I wonder how the Raiders will finish the season, considering their playoff hopes were extinguished weeks ago. With my heart leading the way, and desperately wanting to secure fifth place in my fantasy league, I will cast my vote for the black-and-silver. Never mind the fact that the Raiders are traveling across country…. Ugggh!
San Diego Chargers (5-9) at New York Jets (6-8):
Mark Sanchez once again has been benched so it’s Philip Rivers against Tim Tebow… scratch that, it’s Rivers against Greg McElroy. In a somewhat surprising move, Rex Ryan has opted to start McElroy instead of Tebow after making the decision to bench Sanchez after his dismal performance last Monday against the Tennessee Titans. The New York Jets are the leagues soap opera given their quarterback merry-go-round. I have no idea what will become of Sanchez and Tebow when the season ends. I am thankful though, that this type of situation doesn’t exist in Denver. The Chargers, like their divisional foes, the Raiders and Chiefs, are left to play out the season with an eye on the 2013 season. My interest in this game is about as much as me wanting the Broncos to visit New England in January for a playoff game, so I’m going to refrain from picking a winner in this game.
Cleveland Browns (5-9) at Denver Broncos (11-3):
The Broncos will attempt to win their tenth game in a row when they host the Cleveland Browns. A tenth straight win will be exciting, but more importantly, the win will be one more step for the Broncos as they prepare for the playoffs. The Browns are 1-5 on the road this season but they have won three out of the last four games. Given the history of the Browns and Broncos (The Drive, The Fumble), I am sure the Browns, as well as their fans, would love nothing more than to end the Broncos winning streak, and put a wrinkle in the Broncos postseason. On paper this should be a win for the Broncos. I hope the Broncos prove that they are a serious contender and easily handle a subpar team.
Enjoy Week Sixteen Bronco fans!