AFC West Preview – Week Twelve
By Craig Hurst
Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Adam Jones (24) sacks Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Brady Quinn (9) in the second half at Arrowhead Stadium. Cincinnati won the game 28-6. (Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-US PRESSWIRE)
In Week Twelve the Denver Broncos will try to pad their three game lead in the AFC West, while the other teams in the division attempt to salvage their season or play spoiler since the playoff picture is becoming clearer as the final leg of the season is directly in front of us. Given the contests that are occurring this week involving the AFC West teams, on paper the Broncos should easily increase their division lead but this is the NFL and you never know how these games will turn out. Continue reading for my thoughts and brief analysis of all the Week Twelve contests featuring AFC West teams.
Denver Broncos at Kansas City Chiefs: The Broncos enter this game on a five game winning streak and comfortably in first place in the division, while the Chiefs continue to struggle week in, and week out, tied with the worst record in the league (1-9) with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Based on their records, the Broncos should easily dominate the Chiefs and improve their record to 8-3 but all NFL fans know that the Chiefs will battle and do everything they can to put a wrinkle in the Broncos season. One of the biggest challenges the Broncos will face on Sunday will be the loss of Willis McGahee and finding the player that will step up and provide the much needed running game to support the Peyton Manning lead passing attack. No doubt Manning is having a superb season, but a running game is required to keep opposing defenses honest. Ex-Bronco, Brady Quinn is the starting quarterback for the Chiefs this week and gets the opportunity that he never really received while in Denver. Considering the way the Broncos defense has been playing the last few weeks, Quinn may have a very rough day ahead of him. I hope the Broncos leave Arrowhead with another win and injury free. A small part of me would love to see the Broncos beat the Chiefs by a large margin, which seems to be what the majority of fans expect to happen, but I will take a victory by any margin, period!
Oakland Raiders at Cincinnati Bengals: The 3-7 Raiders hit the road once again hoping to bring an end to their three game losing streak, while the 5-5 Bengals will attempt to win their third game in a row. One aspect of this game that is intriguing is the quarterback watch as both quarterbacks may put up good statistics for fantasy owners. Carson Palmer is ranked sixth in the league with 303.5 yards passing/game, while Andy Dalton is six spots behind him with 255.9 yards/game. Dalton has the edge over Palmer when it comes to touchdown passes with a total of 20 compared to Palmer’s 17. Both quarterbacks have thrown eleven interceptions this season. I will give the edge to Cincinnati in this game since they have been playing pretty well the last couple of weeks and the fact that they are at home – the Raiders are 1-4 on the road and their one win was at Arrowhead, a place the Raiders have proven they can play well at; other venues, not so much.
Baltimore Ravens at San Diego Chargers: The Ravens are taking their 8-2 record across the country to face the 4-6 Chargers. If last week’s loss to the Broncos put a nail in the Chargers coffin, a loss to the Ravens today will be the dirt being thrown on top of that coffin. No doubt, the Ravens have taken a lot of notes from the Broncos performance last week and will look to pressure Philip Rivers, while relying on Joe Flacco to put up the points to give the Ravens their ninth win of the season. I expect the Ravens to win this game but I am hoping that the Chargers may pull the upset. Not that I like to see the Chargers win but I know that in three weeks the Broncos head east to face the Ravens and the Chargers may provide some strategic insight for the Broncos when it comes time to prepare for that game.
Enjoy Week Twelve Bronco fans!
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