Broncos 2015: AFC West Preview – Week Four


Sep 27, 2015; Detroit, MI, USA; Denver Broncos running back C.J. Anderson (22) carries the ball during the first quarter against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

After two weeks on the road that included two nationally televised prime time match-ups, the Denver Broncos return home to face the Minnesota Vikings.  The Broncos are 3-0 and one of seven undefeated teams in the league.  The Vikings have only lost once and bring to Denver the NFL’s leading rusher, Adrian Peterson.  For more of my thoughts on this game, as well as the other games featuring teams from the AFC West, please keep reading.

Minnesota Vikings at Denver Broncos: As stated, the Vikings’ Adrian Peterson is leading the NFL in rushing with a total of 291 yards (97.0 yards per game average).  The Vikings game plan will undoubtedly include a large portion of Peterson.  While the Broncos overall defense is ranked number one in the league, their rushing defense is ranked sixth in the league giving up 82.7 yards rushing per game.  By no means is this a concern, but it will be something to watch.  

It would be nice to see the Broncos defense shutdown a running back with the caliber of Adrian Peterson.  If that happens, the Broncos defense will gain more respect than it already has received the first three weeks of the season. Like the first three games of the season, I fully expect the Broncos defense to rise to the occasion and dominate the game.  

I wouldn’t be a bit surprised either if the Broncos defense makes a big play that will either maintain the momentum for the Broncos or switch the momentum in their favor.  After all, that seems to be the trend in this young season. After watching the Broncos offense in Detroit last Sunday night, it is obvious that the coaches and the entire unit are still searching for their true identity.  

I am no football guru but it is safe to say that the best place for Peyton Manning is in shotgun or the pistol but not directly under center.  Kudos to head coach Gary Kubiak and offensive coordinator Rick Dennison for changing things up in an effort to try and improve.  Let’s hope that continues this week.  

It is hard to believe, but after this game the season is one-quarter over; as Bronco fans we can’t be disappointed if the Broncos finish the first quarter undefeated.  Let’s hope that will be the case!  The Broncos are picked to win by seven points, hopefully they will easily cover that point spread!

Oakland Raiders at Chicago Bears: It is hard to believe, but after three weeks the Raiders find themselves in sole possession of second-place in the division.  The Raiders are coming off of a 27-20 victory over the Cleveland Browns, while the Chicago Bears are probably still licking their wounds from the 26-0 drubbing, compliments of the defending NFC Champions, the Seattle Seahawks.  

While Oakland is definitely no Seattle at this point, I expect the Raiders to hand the Bears another loss.  I don’t necessarily believe the Oakland Raiders will contend for the division title, but I do enjoy seeing them winning early and somewhat often only because of my nephew; he has always been, and will always be, a die-hard Raiders fan.

Looking at the Bears, let’s be honest – John Fox, Adam Gase, and Jay Cutler (even though he is injured)…. do you really want to see them win even if them winning would benefit the Broncos?!  Best case scenario – the game goes to overtime and no one scores so it ends in a tie!  If the Raiders win, it will set up quite the match-up in week five when the Broncos travel to Oakland!

Cleveland Browns at San Diego Chargers: After opening the season with a victory over the Detroit Lions, the Chargers have lost two straight games putting them at the bottom of the division.  San Diego’s most recent loss came against the Minnesota Vikings 31-14 when Adrian Peterson ran for a total of 126 yards and two touchdowns.  

After the Vikings loss, San Diego’s rushing defense is ranked 28th in the league.  I am sure Isaiah Crowell, the Browns starting running back, will be featured as the Browns try to duplicate part of what the Vikings did against the lightning bolts.  Despite the loss, Philip Rivers had a respectable game, albeit only producing fourteen points (a touchdown in each half).  

Rivers finished the game with 21 completions for 246 yards and a touchdown.  The Chargers leading receiver, Keenan Allen, had twelve catches for 133 yards and two touchdowns.  I expect the Rivers-Allen duo will be a major factor in today’s game.  Returning home to face the Cleveland Browns after two weeks on the road that resulted in two losses, may be just what the Chargers need and I would expect after today they will find themselves at 2-2.

Kansas City Chiefs at Cincinnati Bengals: The gauntlet continues for the Chiefs as they go on the road again to face the Bengals – a team that many consider to be in upper tier of the AFC, as well as the entire league.  The Chiefs are coming off a very dismal Monday night performance in Green Bay that saw them lose their second game in a row, 38-28.  

While only losing by ten points, the final score in my opinion doesn’t really show how the Packers dominated the Chiefs.  While I haven’t seen the Bengals play this season, I do know they are one of the remaining undefeated teams in the league with victories coming against Oakland, San Diego, and Baltimore.  

Everything says that the Bengals should win today and improve to 4-0 but this is football and there is a reason the ball is shaped like an odd egg – so it can bounce in strange ways!  All that being said, I hope the Chiefs’ woes continue and they drop to 1-3 on the year.  

If that happens, I would expect the talk from their  fans about the Chiefs representing the AFC in Super Bowl 50 to stop…. at least for a bit; a month ago Chief fans had such high hopes for the upcoming season, after all the Chiefs were the only undefeated team in preseason!

Enjoy week four Broncos Country!  Go Broncos – beat the Vikings!

Next: Top 5 Broncos vs. Vikings moments