AFC West Breakdown: Week 8


With the Raiders not playing and the Broncos losing by 30 points, the only excitement out of the AFC West was a thrilling Monday Night overtime game between the Chiefs and the Chargers. Let’s take a look at what happened and what’s to come.

Denver Broncos (2-4):

Looking Back: A bad game has put the Broncos’ season on a Rocky Mountain downward slope. The Broncos fell to the Detroit Lions 45-10 in what was this season’s version of the Mile High Massacre. Tim Tebow went 18-of-39 for 172 yards, 1 TD, and 2 turnovers. He had just 17 passing yards at halftime and needed his jersey bleached at the end of the game after being sacked 7 times. Matthew Stafford was allowed to do what he wanted as he went 21-0f-30 for 267 yards and 3 touchdowns. Former Bronco Tony Scheffler was the recipient of one of his touchdown throws and gave the Mile High Salute to teammate Calvin Johnson. Tebow got Tebowed on his home turf.

Looking Forward: The only thing that the Broncos have to look forward to is the chance to erase Sunday’s loss by playing and winning another game. They will leave the dark and grey to travel to the dark and grey in Oakland. The Raiders have had two weeks to prepare for the Broncos and sit at 4-3 on the season. They know that making Tebow play quarterback is how they stop the Broncos’ offense. The last time these two teams met was during the season opener on Monday night. The Raiders walked away with a 23-20 win.

Kansas City Chiefs (4-3):

Looking Back: The Chiefs sit atop the AFC West this week. They have the same record as the Chargers and Raiders, but own the tiebreaker. Todd Haley looked like he belonged on a street corner holding a cardboard sign rather than on an NFL sideline hold a clipboard with his dirty hat and scruffy beard, but he was able to guide his team to a big 23-20 overtime win. Credit the Chiefs’ defense for taking the game out of the hands of Philip Rivers and the Chargers with a minute left in regulation. The Chargers had more than 100 yards of total offense than the Chiefs, but the Chiefs made the big plays when they counted. Kendrick Lewis had an interception (his 10th of the year) and a fumble recovery, and Ryan Succop booted through the 30-yard game winning field goal in overtime.

Looking Forward: The Chiefs are in the middle of a three game home swing. They’ve won four in a row and host the 0-7 Miami Dolphins. Things look good in Kansas City. Don’t be surprised if St. Louis fans head east to root on the good NFL team from Missouri. The Dolphins are floundering and Matt Moore will have a hard time handling a Chiefs’ defense that could knock down a cement wall with their bare hands. It’s a short week to prepare for the Dolphins, but the Chiefs will have this win hook, line, and sinker.

Oakland Raiders (4-3):

Looking Back: Before the bye week, the Raiders were shutout against the Chiefs 28-0. During the off week, Darren McFadden had the chance to rest his injured foot, but his return in week 9 is uncertain. The team also signed veteran CB Lito Sheppard to help the Raiders’ 25th ranked pass defense. Carson Palmer had the chance to learn the play book better and get reps in with any of his receivers that stuck around town.

Looking Forward: The Raiders will get to a chance to get their pass defense going against a struggling Broncos’ offense. The last time these two teams met, Darren McFadden had 150 yards rushing on 22 carries and the Raiders sacked Kyle Orton 5 times. Look for the Raiders to apply a heavy pass rush up front and utilizing their running game (McFadden-less or not) agains the Broncos’ 17th ranked run defense. This is the team’s last home game before they play the next four of five away.

San Diego Chargers (4-3):

Looking Back: Philip Rivers had the game winning drive in his hands, but he Phumbled as the Chargers were in field goal territory with less than a minute left and the game all tied up. Rivers called this the “worst day ever,” but really, it’s his worst season ever. He has just 7 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. His best season came in ’08-’09 when he had 34 TDs and 11 INTs through 16 games. He didn’t have any TD passes on Monday Night and threw 2 INTs. It shows that having 369 passing yards doesn’t mean a thing if you can’t get into the end zone. Matt Cassel had a similar type of day, so really, this one was in the hands of the defense and role players. The Chargers have lost their last two.

Looking Forward: Usually San Diego is a welcoming place for the Chargers with it’s warm weather and friendly faces. This week, however, a brush of cold air infiltrates Cali. The Chargers return home only to host the 7-0 defending Super Bowl Champions. Not only are the Packers on fire right now, but they had a bye last week, so they’re entering week 9 with fresh bodies and crisp minds. The Pack Attack are third in the league in interceptions and are always great at pressuring the QB. Philip Rivers likely won’t get on track this week. His “worst day ever” could turn into the worst week ever.

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