AFC West Preview – Week Four
Sep 23, 2013; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos linebacker Wesley Woodyard (52) reacts during the game against the Oakland Raiders at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. The Broncos defeated the Raiders 37-21. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Most of us would agree that there is no place like home and this week the NFL scheduler makers are showing that to the AFC West. Week four of the 2013 NFL season finds all four AFC West teams hosting teams from the NFC East. Not that history means anything on NFL game day, but in 2013 the AFC West is a perfect 4-0 against the NFC East. For my thoughts and brief analysis of all four games featuring the AFC West, please continue reading.
Philadelphia Eagles at Denver Broncos: After week one it certainly appeared that the Eagles and Broncos both had high-powered offenses. Perception is reality, and while the Broncos have flourished, leading the league in points scored and a 3-0 record, the Eagles have had their wings clipped the last two weeks, losing to AFC West teams and falling to 1-2. While much of the talk around the league is about the Broncos offensive juggernaut, their defensive unit can’t be overlooked. The Broncos defense leads the league in rushing yards allowed per game (43.3) and rushing yards per attempt (2.3), which is positive news, considering the Eagles lead the league in rushing and average 6.6 yards per carry. It will be interesting to see how Philadelphia responds after two straight losses and Chip Kelly’s first vist to Colorado as a professional coach. Kelly has had great success in the past when Oregon has visited Boulder and the University of Colorado, but the Buffaloes were not quarterbacked by an elite quarterback like Peyton Manning. Like the beginning of the season, the Broncos definitely have a target on their back, even more so now that they’ve started the season undefeated and are shredding offensive records. This game may very well be a shoot out; let’s hope the Broncos have the ball last, just in case.
New York Giants at Kansas City Chiefs: A tale of two seasons would be a great way to describe the Giants and Chiefs after three weeks. The Chiefs have soared to 3-0 behind an offense that has not committed any turnovers (one of two teams in league that can make that claim) and a defense that leads the league in quarterback sacks (15). The Giants on the other hand, have fallen to 0-3 due to thirteen turnovers and Eli Manning being sacked eleven times (4th most in league). This will be the third NFC East team the Chiefs have played in as many weeks, something that coach Andy Reid is obviously used to considering that is the division where he spent fourteen seasons. As much as I would love to see the Giants go into Arrowhead and pull off a major upset, ending the Chiefs win streak, I don’t see that happening because of the major gap between the two teams at this point in the season. The end to Andy Reid’s honeymoon in Kansas City will probably to have to wait.
Dallas Cowboys at San Diego Chargers: The Cowboys are coming of of an impressive 31-7 win over the St. Louis Rams and the San Diego Chargers are coming off a narrow loss to the Tennessee Titans, 20-17. The Cowboy win in week three improved their record to 2-1, while the Chargers loss dropped them to 1-2. I’m torn on picking a winner for this game. In week three the Cowboys offense had a great game. If the Cowboys can match that production level, I think San Diego will have a hard time evening their record to 2-2. Like the Cowboys, the Chargers have shown signs of greatness this year, but have been somewhat inconsistent. Denver travels to Dallas next week so I’m not sure if I would like to see the Cowboys on a two game winning streak or a team coming off a loss? The only thing I like more than a Raiders loss is a Chargers loss so I’ll pull for “America’s Team” in week three.
Washington Redskins at Oakland Raiders: Despite the 0-3 start for the Redskins, I’m sure Mike Shanahan will have his Redskins ready for their long road trip to the west to face the Raiders and the fans of The Black Hole. Thanks to Shanahan’s time in Denver, he will know what to expect when playing the Raiders in northern California. Will that be enough however to help his winless team achieve their first win of the season? We will have to wait and see. The Raiders on the other hand, have had a short week of preparation after getting soundly beaten 37-21 by the Broncos on Monday Night Football last week. This should be a fairly close match-up considering that the Raiders one win this season came against the Jacksonville Jaguars in week two and it was only by ten points. The Redskins, even though they haven’t won any of their games, have managed to fight back and make the score somewhat respectable. Unfortunately, the only thing that counts in the NFL is wins and this game is a complete toss-up in my opinion. I will side with the Redskins on this one partly due to my respect and fondness for Shanahan, but primarily due to the fact that it is always nice to see the Raiders lose.
Go Broncos – beat the Eagles!