While the games will go on, my thoughts and prayers go to Coach Fox and his family for a speedy recovery!
Even though the Denver Broncos have a bye this week, it is still an important weekend for the Broncos and the AFC West. Given the fast start of the Kansas City Chiefs, the watch is on to see how they perform even when they aren’t playing the Broncos because it is very likely the division race may come down to these two teams. The San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders can’t be counted out either because the season is only half over, and let’s be honest, a lot of football is left and a lot of things can happen between now and the end of December. For more thoughts on the week nine games featuring teams from the AFC West, please continue reading.
San Diego Chargers at Washington Redskins: Following a bye, the San Diego Chargers head across the country to face the Washington Redskins, who are coming off a 45-21 loss against the Denver Broncos in Denver. The Redskins will obviously be motivated given the fact that they gave up 38 unanswered points against the Broncos in week eight. The Chargers have won their last two games and still have to be considered in contention for the division crown, considering they have to face both the Broncos and Chiefs two times. Last week Robert Griffin III left the game against the Broncos when defensive lineman Terrance Knighton landed on his left knee. Immediately after the game, RGIII indicated he was fine and could have returned if the game would have been closer. RGIII was not listed on the Redskins injury report this week so it appears he is fine and will play; hopefully he will be 100% and provide a true threat to the Chargers. I truly believe this game is a toss-up so I will have to pull for the Redskins – Mike Shanahan will always have my support (just not when he faces the Broncos), and like I always say or hold onto – anytime an AFC West team can lose, it is good for the Broncos. Watch this one closely Broncos Country, the Broncos travel to San Diego in week ten!
Philadelphia Eagles at Oakland Raiders: The once high-powered offense of the Philadelphia Eagles is heading west to face the Oakland Raiders. The Eagles are coming off a 15-7 home loss to division rivals, the New York Giants, while the Raiders are coming off a 21-18 home win against the struggling Pittsburgh Steelers. Both Philadelphia and Oakland are mathematically still alive in the playoff hunt so every game must be considered a must-win. It will be interesting to see how Chip Kelly and the Eagles respond this week, because it is obvious to see that the NFL quickly learned how to defend the offense that Kelly implemented in Philadelphia. Knowledgeable football fans knew that the offensive display put on by the Eagles in week one against the Redskins could not be maintained every week, especially when you lose your starting quarterback (Michael Vick) to injury. Currently, the Eagles find themselves ranked fifth in overall offense (397.1 yards per game). Defensively the Raiders are giving up 330.9 yards per game, which is tenth in the league. The Raiders are 3-1 at home this season, while the Eagles are 3-1 on the road this year. Something will have to give this week!
Kansas City Chiefs at Buffalo Bills: The high-ranked Kansas City Chiefs defense may get another break from the football gods when they travel to Buffalo, New York to face the Buffalo Bills in the form of another inexperienced, backup quarterback. Bills starting quarterback, Thad Lewis, is doubtful for Sundays game due to a rib cage injury. If Lewis doesn’t play, the controls will be handed over to Jeff Tuel, a rookie, un-drafted quarterback from Washington State. Will Tuel be able to lead the Bills to an upset win over the leagues last undefeated team? Probably not, but the Chiefs last two wins over the Houston Texans and Cleveland Browns, have been against backup quarterbacks and the Chiefs narrowly escaped with victories, while at Arrowhead. Regardless of how I feel about the Chiefs and their victories, it is unfortunately a fact that they are 8-0, which isn’t necessarily bad because as the season progresses, every team the Chiefs face will now want to be the first team to beat them. Hopefully, Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park, New York will not be as kind to Kansas City as what they’ve been used to in recent weeks. Assuming Peyton Manning stays healthy against the Chargers, he will be the Chiefs next quarterback they will face – quite a difference from Case Keenum, Jason Campbell, and Jeff Tuel wouldn’t you say?!
Go Broncos – Enjoy your bye week and then get ready to beat San Diego!