Dec 29, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; Denver Broncos wide receiver Demaryius Thomas (88) carries the ball against the Oakland Raiders during the first quarter at O.co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
What better way for the Denver Broncos to get back on track after the week nine loss to the New England Patriots than a contest with the 0-8 Oakland Raiders! For my thoughts on this “rebound” game for the Broncos, as well as the other games featuring teams within the AFC West, please continue reading.
Oakland Raiders at Denver Broncos: Is this a “rebound” game for the Broncos or, dare I say it, is this a “trap” game? A lot of times when two teams play, the rivalry is head-and-shoulders above the win-loss records of each team but in this case, I have to ask if the 0-8 Oakland Raiders have a realistic shot to beat the 6-2 Broncos? I am an ultra-conservative fan and never, ever get cocky so I am going to say yes. For starters, the game is in Oakland so the Raiders will have the fans on their side; fans that probably dislike the Broncos as much as Bronco fans dislike the Raiders. Secondly, despite the Raiders 0-8 start, four of those losses have been by seven points or less. Overall, the eight losses for the Raiders in 2014 have been by an average of just over ten points. While the Raiders are winless, they’ve had opportunities to win some of those games, so maybe they’re not as bad of team as their record indicates? One week removed from yet another Foxborough, Massachusetts letdown, you would think that the Broncos would be extremely motivated to perform at a very high level in week ten to basically eliminate the horrors of the week nine loss to the Patriots. Hopefully, the Bronco players don’t listen to the media or read the papers and aren’t thinking this game will be easier than the Patriots game. I always say that there is a reason players and coaches make it to the NFL and that is because they have the talent. While the records and point spread indicate an easy Bronco win, I definitely think it is the Broncos best interest to disregard all of that and expect a competitive Oakland Raiders team to show up at O.co Coliseum. I hope the Broncos are able to put week nine behind them and focus on what got them the six wins in the first half of the season – a high-powered offense and a stingy defense. Focusing on those items and executing at the level we’re used to, should improve the Broncos records to 7-2. That being said, if the Broncos win on Sunday it will gain them no ground on the Patriots and home-field advantage in the playoffs, considering the Patriots have a bye in week ten. To gain ground, and actually take the top playoff seed in the AFC, the Broncos will have to have a better record than the Patriots because the Patriots have the head-to-head tiebreaker thanks to last weeks win over the Broncos. I know it’s early to be focusing on home-field advantage but winning home-field advantage is a necessary step to a third Lombardi Trophy. Another step toward this goal is beating the Raiders on Sunday – go Broncos!
Kansas City Chiefs at Buffalo Bills: After two weeks at home, which saw the Chiefs defeat the St. Louis Rams and New York Jets, the Chiefs take a three-game win steak on the road to the state of New York to face the 5-3 Buffalo Bills. The Bills, like the Chiefs, are 5-3 and in second place in their division. Thanks to the aforementioned winning streak, coupled with a San Diego Charger losing streak of three games, the Chiefs have leap frogged the Chargers for second place in the division and are one game behind the Broncos. Denver and Kansas City are scheduled to meet the last Sunday in November at Arrowhead, a game which could potentially impact the division championship, assuming neither team stubs their toe over the next few weeks. While I would love to see the Bills put a stop to the Chiefs winning streak, I think it will be very difficult considering that the Chiefs bring in the number one ranked passing defense (199.4 yards per game) and are second when it comes to points allowed (17.2 per game). The Bills offense, on the other hand, is ranked 20th and 21st respectively when it comes to passing offense (228 yards per game) and points scored per game (22.2). As much as I hate to say it, I believe the Chiefs will win the battle of second place teams, improving their record to 6-3; all the more reason that it is imperative the Broncos beat the Raiders on Sunday – go Broncos!
San Diego Chargers: One thing is for sure Charger fans, the three game losing streak stops in week ten – the lightning bolts have a bye and don’t return to action until week eleven when they face the Oakland Raiders in San Diego.
Go Broncos – beat the Raiders!