AFC West Preview – Week Eleven


November 9, 2014; Oakland, CA, USA; Denver Broncos strong safety T.J. Ward (43) celebrates a defensive stop during the third quarter against the Oakland Raiders at Coliseum. The Broncos defeated the Raiders 41-17. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Week eleven finds the Denver Broncos on the road again to finish off their inner-divisional contests against the NFC West.  The Broncos head to the gateway of the midwest to face the St. Louis Rams in their tenth game of the year.  A win against the Rams would improve the Broncos record to 8-2 and keep them in contention for possible home-field advantage in the playoffs.  For more of my thoughts on the Bronco game, as well as the other games featuring AFC West teams, please continue reading.

Denver Broncos at St. Louis Rams: For the third time is as many weeks, the Broncos are on the road again.  The 7-2 Broncos attempt to improve their record against the NFC West to 3-1 when the face the 3-6 St. Louis Rams.  While the Broncos are in first place in the AFC West, the Rams find themselves at the bottom of the NFC West.  Similar to last week, based on the oppositions records, this should be an easy win for the Broncos, but after last week, I will not feel comfortable using the phrase “easy win” ever again.  Hopefully, the Broncos have learned from their week ten game and will start off fast from the initial kickoff rather than waiting almost two quarters.  The cold front that has put much of the United States in arctic-type weather for the last week shouldn’t be a factor thanks to the indoor dome in St. Louis.  The perfect playing conditions should lend to another productive day for the Broncos offense.  The St. Louis Rams, although losing last week to the Arizona Cardinals 31-14, did hold the Cardinals to 28 rushing yards.  The Broncos offensive line, which seems to be in a constant state of change this season, will have to step up today – both in the rushing game and protecting the quarterback.

Seattle Seahawks at Kansas City Chiefs: Because the Broncos only have a one game lead over the Kansas City Chiefs in the division, it is absolutely imperative that the Seattle Seahawks leave Arrowhead later today with a victory.  While Denver still controls its own destiny in the division and travels to Arrowhead in a couple of weeks, I am hoping for any scenario that favors the Broncos, period!  When the Broncos travel to Arrowhead, you never know what to expect.  Without getting too far ahead, first things first and that is todays matchup between the Seahawks and Chiefs.  Both teams come into week eleven with identical records (6-3) and are both in second place in their respective divisions.  The Chiefs are on a four game winning streak, which is the second longest in the AFC; the New England Patriots contain the longest winning streak in the conference and the league at five.  The Seahawks, who are 2-2 on the road this season, have won their last three games.  While the Seahawks certainly don’t appear to be as dominate this season as they did last year, they still are a high-caliber team and hopefully will present a huge challenge for the Chiefs.  Seattle contains the thirty-first ranked passing offense (194.4 yards per game) but they do contain the leagues best rushing attack (170.9 yards per game) so it is somewhat easy to predict where the Chiefs need to focus.  The Chiefs rushing defense is giving up an average of 115.6 yards rushing per game, which ranks them 20th in the league.  The Chiefs rushing defense is the only defense in the league that has yet to give up a rushing touchdown.  I would expect that to change today, considering that Marshawn Lynch has scored nine rushing touchdowns, four of which came last week against the New York Giants.

Oakland Raiders at San Diego Chargers: Even though these two teams are struggling, I am still looking forward to this AFC West matchup.  After starting the season 5-1, San Diego has cooled off considerably, losing three straight that makes them appear somewhat mediocre and in third place in the division.  The Raiders on the other hand, would probably love to find themselves at 5-4 nine games into the 2014 season, but instead find themselves at 0-9 and the only windless team in the NFL.  The Raiders showed a bit of life last week against the Broncos but unfortunately for them, a football game is four quarters long instead of 1-1/2 quarters.  The Raiders, will no doubt build on their early performance in week ten as they go into today’s game knowing that they must perform at that level for the entire game if they want to notch their first win of the season.  The Chargers, despite the three game slide, are still in contention for the division crown so they must stop their losing streak today.

Go Broncos – beat the Rams!

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