AFC West Preview and Recap – Week Nine
By Craig Hurst
Since AFC West members, the San Diego Chargers and Kansas City Chiefs, kicked off week nine of the NFL season, this week’s posting is a brief review of that game, as well as my thoughts and opinions of the other two games featuring the AFC West.
Nov 1, 2012; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers linebacker Demorrio Williams (58) runs an interception back for a touchdown during the fourth quarter against the Kansas City Chiefs at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-US PRESSWIRE
Kansas City Chiefs at San Diego Chargers: Heading into the fourth quarter of this game, it was still undecided which team would come away with the victory. Thanks to two fourth quarter turnovers by Kansas City that resulted in Charger touchdowns, San Diego went onto win their fourth game of the season rather easily. The win put a stop to the Chargers three game losing streak, while the Chiefs fell to 1-7 on the year and continue their downward spiral. Both teams probably considered this a must win; the Chargers to get back into the AFC West race, and the Chiefs attempt to turn around a very disappointing first half of the season. The question has to loom for the Chargers and their fans – did San Diego figure out their issues or is Kansas City that bad? Broncos Country and their fans have to wonder also – did San Diego turn the corner or is the Broncos defense and offense head and shoulders above the Kansas City Chiefs? Of course I am bias and I think I know the answers to both questions but we’ll be able to find the real answers in two weeks when the Chargers visit Sports Authority Field at Mile High Stadium. That game will be crucial in determining the AFC West champion. For the lowly Chiefs, it doesn’t get any easier as they travel to Pittsburgh in week ten for Monday Night Football.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Oakland Raiders: The Oakland Raiders welcome Tampa Bay to northern California in a battle of the “pirates”. Even though this game isn’t considered one of the marquee matchups of week nine, both teams are coming off impressive road wins in week eight – the Raiders went to Arrowhead and won again, while the Buccaneers travelled to Minnesota and not only left with a victory, but a lopsided victory against the Vikings 36-17. Midway through the season both the Raiders and Buccaneers find themselves sitting at 3-4, and technically still in the race for their divisional titles. Because there is another half of the season left and a lot of things can happen, I will have to pull for Tampa Bay in this one because it may ultimately help the Broncos in some way. That being said, Tampa Bay will be dealing with a cross-country trip, as well as the unfriendly confines of Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum.
Denver Broncos at Cincinnati Bengals: The Broncos must win today to maintain their one game lead over the Chargers. That should be enough motivation for the Broncos to go out and perform at the level they have shown us fans during the last six quarters (second half of San Diego game and last week against New Orleans). Even though it appears the Broncos are improving, some of the same concerns we’ve see through seven games still exist or at least have to be considered and watched today – starting off hot and not digging a hole that is too big to get out of and stopping teams on third down. I am cautiously optimistic to see the Broncos offense this week. Last week’s performance was very impressive but it was against the 32nd rated defense of New Orleans Saints; the Bengals may provide a bit more challenge. The Broncos pass offense is proving to be consistent and it was refreshing last week to see the rushing attack finally takeoff. Hopefully that formula will continue today. Regarding the Broncos defense in today’s matchup, the Bengals are definitely not Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints but the duo of Andy Dalton and A.J. Green could present some challenges for the Broncos. On paper this looks like it should be a win for the Broncos but this is the NFL. As the Broncos continue to play well, the target on their back will continue to increase in size. Let’s hope the team doesn’t experience a letdown after last week’s victory in one of the seasons most anticipated games.
Good luck Broncos; enjoy week nine Bronco fans!
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