Nov 2, 2014; Foxborough, MA, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) reacts to an incomplete pass on a fourth down during the fourth quarter of their 43-21 loss to the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports
Week nine saw three of the four AFC West teams lose, unfortunately the Denver Broncos were one of the teams on the short end of the stick in week nine, falling to the New England Patriots 43-21. For my thoughts on the Broncos second loss of the season, as well as the other games featuring AFC West teams, please continue reading.
Denver Broncos at New England Patriots: Where do I start? Another trip to New England and another loss for the Broncos! Like most Bronco fans I am assuming, I was frustrated early on while watching this game and my frustration increased steadily throughout the day. Leading up to this game, the Broncos said all the right things and I really thought they had a legitimate opportunity to win in New England. Out-played, out-manned, and out-coached are a few terms that come to mind on this Monday morning as I compose this posting. If it weren’t for the week three game in Seattle that the Broncos lost 26-20 in overtime, I would say that the Broncos have a major issue when it comes to high profile games that aren’t played in the comfy confines of Mile High Stadium (case in point – Super Bowl XLVIII and yesterdays lopsided loss). I am not going to try and figure out what went wrong, why the Broncos couldn’t stop the Patriots offense, or why the Broncos offense sputtered; I am going to look ahead and remind people that while it’s gloomy today, the sky is not falling! The Broncos have played eight games and are sitting at 6-2; I know if someone would have told me this in mid-August I would have been perfectly content with this record because, while I would love to see the Broncos win every game, I know that is not possible in the NFL – the teams and players are just too talented. Half way through the season the Broncos are in first place in the AFC West with a one game lead over the Kansas City Chiefs. The Broncos have divisional games remaining with Oakland (2x), Kansas City, and San Diego so a lot can happen over the next eight weeks. Of the Broncos remaining eight games, the win-loss record of their opponents is 28-36 (43%). Obviously, the Broncos have to take care of their business (win their games) but if the Broncos want a shot at home field advantage in the playoffs, they will now need help from the Patriots’ opponents thanks to the outcome of yesterdays game. After a bye in week ten, the Patriots have three games at home and four games on the road. The teams the Patriots will face have a win-loss record of 32-26 (55%) which is bit more difficult than the Broncos remaining games. Assuming the Broncos take care of business on their end, it is absolutely crucial the Broncos get home field advantage because it seems that Foxborough, Massachusetts is the Broncos’ kryptonite. I don’t even want to contemplate a divisional playoff game or the conference championship between Denver and New England occuring at Gillette Stadium.
San Diego Chargers at Miami Dolphins: Much like the Bronco game, I never expected the outcome of this game to be as lopsided as it was. San Diego, nine days removed from a Thursday night contest in Denver, was absolutely man-handled 37-0 by the Miami Dolphins. Philip Rivers only threw for 138 yards and had three interceptions, while his counterpart, Ryan Tannehill, threw for 288 yards and three touchdowns. The loss drops San Diego to 5-4 and in third place in the division, one game behind the Kansas City Chiefs. San Diego has a bye in week ten to lick their wounds (the Miami loss is San Diego’s third straight loss) before Oakland and St. Louis visit the Chargers in weeks eleven and twelve. After that, the Chargers travel to Baltimore before hosting New England and Denver in consecutive weeks.Oakland Raiders at Seattle Seahawks: While it was somewhat appealing to see the Oakland Raiders fall to 0-8, it was a bit disheartening to see that the Raiders only lost by six points to Seattle; the same differential that the Broncos were beaten by in their week three trip to the great northwest. The Raiders 30-24 loss to Seattle is their fourteenth straight loss dating back to week twelve of the 2013 season. The Raiders falling to 0-8 ensures that they will not have a winning season in 2014. While the Raiders are winless, four of those losses have been by seven points or less. The average point spread of all the Raiders losses is just over ten points. I mention this because Denver travels to Oakland in week ten, and by no means do I expect the Broncos to easily improve to 7-2. If you’re the Raiders, what better way to get your first win of the season by beating the defending AFC Champions and your archrival in your home stadium. That being said, I am not so sure I would want to face the Broncos one week removed from a dismal performance at New England.New York Jets at Kansas City Chiefs: The Chiefs won their third straight game by beating the New York Jets 24-10 at Arrowhead. Alex Smith finished the day with an efficient 199 yard performance that included two touchdown passes; the first one a deflected pass that fell into the hands of tightend Anthony Fasano, who was actually sitting/lying near the goal line. After catching the deflected pass, Fasano lept into the endzone for the Chiefs touchdown. Like I say on the golf course when my ball hits a tree and bounces back into the middle of the fairway – I would rather be lucky than good! My assumption is that Fasano and Smith may have been uttering those exact same words after that particular play. The victory moves the Chiefs into second place in the division, one game behind the Denver Broncos. Remaining games for the Chiefs in November include trips to Buffalo and Oakland, while the Seahawks and Broncos visit Arrowhead.
Go Broncos – get ready for the Raiders!