Oct 20, 2013; Landover, MD, USA; Washington Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan on the sidelines against the Chicago Bears during the second half at FedEX Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
It is hard to believe, but the 2013 NFL season reaches the halfway point today. Unfortunately, due to the unexpected 7-0 surge by the Kansas City Chiefs, the Denver Broncos find themselves in second place in the AFC West. By no means is this cause to panic because there is a lot of football to be played. The Broncos, in order to capture another division crown, must eliminate their costly offensive mistakes and shore up a rather week pass defense. Their challenge starts today when the Washington Redskins visit the Mile High City. For more thoughts on the Redskins visit to Denver, as well as the other games featuring AFC West teams, please continue reading.
Washington Redskins at Denver Broncos: The Broncos will have to do something today that they haven’t had to do all season – rebound after losing the previous week. The Broncos suffered thier first loss of the season when the Indianapolis Colts outscored them 39-33 giving Peyton Mannings “homecoming” a sour tast. Mike Shanahan returns to Denver today for the first time since being fired by Pat Bowlen following the 2008 season. No doubt, Shanahan will have his 2-4 Washington Redskins motivated for this game. Remember the spats between the late Al Davis and Shannahan, who coached the then Los Angles Raiders in 1989-89. The on-going disputes may have been media driven, but it seemed like Shanahan always wanted to win a bit more when they faced the Raiders because of the bad history. The Broncos have the top ranked offense (yards/game), while the Redskins are few spots behind them in fourth. Based on those stats, both defensive units may have their hands full today, considering the Broncos and Redskins defenses are ranked 30th and 25th respectively in yards allowed per game. As the season approaches the half way point, the Broncos need to win this game because it is very likely that the Kansas City Chiefs will be undefeated when they visit Denver on November 17th. Bronco fans, pour yourself a rum and Coke, sit back and enjoy another possible scoring fest, or at least raise your glass and show respect to Mike Shanahan, a man who helped orchestrate so many wonderful memories for the Denver Broncos.
Cleveland Browns at Kansas City Chiefs: The Chiefs are lucky recipients once again of another team starting someone beside their starting quarterback. Last week it was the Houston Texans starting Case Keenum over Matt Schaub. This week the 3-4 Cleveland Browns have benched Brandon Weeden and will be starting Jason Campbell. Unlike Keenum, Campbell is not a rookie, and actually has eight years of NFL experience. Will this be enough to knock the Chiefs off their undefeated pedestal? My heart wants to say yet, but my head tells me absolutely not. I fully expect the Chiefs to improve to 8-0 and am preparing myself for another week of listening to the media praises that will bestowed on the Chiefs. Note to Chiefs and their fans – enjoy this game at Arrowhead; over the nest few weeks the Chiefs have two road games with a bye week in between, the biggest road game certainly appearing to be the week eleven AFC West showdown in Denver.
Pittsburgh Steelers at Oakland Raiders: Both teams enter this game at 2-4 and are looking to continue their quest to reach a .500 record by winning in week eight. The Steelers, after starting the season with four straight losses, have won the last two weeks. The Raiders are coming off their bye week and a week six loss to the Chiefs in Kansas City. This game makes me think of the classic grudge matches of the Raiders/Steelers in the late 70′s. I’m going to go with the Steelers in this game, thinking that the momentum and confidence boost they’ve received the last two weeks will propel them to their third straight win. Besides, any time an AFC West team loses, it benefits the Broncos.
Craig Hurst has been a contributing staff writer for Predominantly Orange since April of 2011. Although Craig currently lives in Wichita, Kansas (Chiefs Country), he still makes mulitple trips a year to Denver during the football season to utilize the Bronco season tickets that he has had since 1993.