Broncos 2015: AFC West Preview – Week Eight


Oct 18, 2015; Cleveland, OH, USA; Denver Broncos running back Ronnie Hillman (23) carries the ball as Cleveland Browns inside linebacker Chris Kirksey (58) defends in the first quarter at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: James Lang-USA TODAY Sports

We have all heard “save the best for last” and the NFL schedule makers did just that with the Sunday docket of week eight; the last game of the day features the 6-0 Green Bay Packers in Colorado to face the 6-0 Denver Broncos.  This game has all the potential, and accompanying hype, to be the game of the week, if not the season.  For my thoughts on this game, as well as the other games featuring teams from the AFC West, please keep reading.

Green Bay Packers at Denver Broncos: While both teams are 6-0, it certainly appears that the Green Bay Packers are getting the respect of an undefeated team, while the Denver Broncos instead are being beat up by the media.  If you didn’t know better, you would think that the Broncos are 0-6!  Some of the criticism is well deserved because let’s be honest, the Broncos offense has looked downright putrid at times this season; if not for the stellar defense that we have witnessed the first month-and-a-half of the season the Broncos would have some marks in the loss columns for sure!  Tomorrow the Broncos have the opportunity to silence their doubters but I don’t know if they will, but boy do I want them to!

The opening song to Sunday Night Football says that “I’ve been waiting all day….” which isn’t exactly true – as soon as the Broncos won in Cleveland two weeks ago, I knew the next game was against the Packers and knew it would be an awesome showdown.  I think about some of the past games against the Packers and obviously Super Bowl XXXII is the first one that comes to mind; also included in the stroll down memory lane is the Monday night game in 2007 when Brett Favre threw a long touchdown pass on the first play of overtime, beating the Broncos 19-13 (not as much fun when we’re on the wrong end of that type of play).  Older Bronco fans no doubt remember the Monday night blizzard game in 1984 when Green Bay visited Denver; the Broncos scored two early defensive touchdowns, which ultimately gave them the 17-14 victory over the Packers.  On the top of this weekends wish list is to see the Broncos improve to 7-0 but I don’t know if that will happen, I do know though that regardless of the outcome, football fans may be watching an instant classic!

Kansas City Chiefs vs Detroit Lions (in London): Not only does the majority of the United States set clocks back one hour this weekend, football fans interested in watching the Chiefs and Lions will have to tune in extra early for the NFL’s third and final installment of NFL football in London.  Kickoff is scheduled for 8:30am CST.  Unfortunately, both teams are a combined 3-11 so I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if fans of both teams opted to sleep in and tune in when they wake up.  The Chiefs ended their five-game losing skid last week when they beat the Pittsburgh Steelers 23-13; the Detroit Lions fell 28-19 to divisional foe Minnesota Vikings.  Following the Vikings loss, the Lions fired their offensive coordinator and two offensive line coaches.  This change, while leadership felt it necessary, may have an impact in London – only time will tell if it is a positive or negative impact.  I will be pulling for the Detroit Lions in this contest but fully expect the Chiefs to win their second game in a row, improving their overall record to 3-5.  Following this game, the Chiefs have a bye and then head west in week ten to face the Denver Broncos.

San Diego Chargers at Baltimore Ravens: Like the Kansas City Chiefs/Detroit Lions, the combined record of the Chargers/Ravens is a paltry 3-11 – wow!  Heading into the 2015 season, I felt the Ravens and Chargers would be two teams that would possibly contend for the AFC crown.  The Chargers, being in the same division as the Broncos, I felt would be the team to give the Broncos a true test for the division championship.  Seven weeks into the season, I have to admit that my predictions, or initial assessments, were way off base.  The Chargers, despite 23 fourth quarter points, were soundly beaten last week at home by the Oakland Raiders 37-29.  The Baltimore Ravens fell 26-18 to the Arizona Cardinals on Monday Night Football.  Even though both teams are at the bottom of their respective divisions, I still expect this to be a dogfight – instead of fighting for the top spot in their division, however, they will be scrapping in an effort to climb out of the divisional cellar that both teams find themselves in.  I am not sure who will win this game given the downward spiral both teams appear to be in; if the Ravens win and the Chargers fall to 2-6 that will make me happy; if the Chargers win and Ravens fall to 1-7 I will also be happy.  Needles to say, I guess this game is a win-win for this Bronco fan!

New York Jets at Oakland Raiders: Six games into the season and the Oakland Raiders have won half their games (3-3 and in second place in the AFC West).  In 20154 the Raiders final record was 3-13 so it is obvious the team is much improved.  To my surprise, the Raiders went down to San Diego in week seven and handed the Chargers a thorough beating 37-29; 23 unanswered points by the Chargers in the fourth quarter made the game closer than what it should have been.  The Jets are 4-2 and were not only very close to becoming 5-1, they almost beat the defending Super Bowl champions New England Patriots in week seven.  Almost, however, in the NFL doesn’t really get you anything!  This week the New York Jets travel across the country to face a team that will definitely be playing with a lot of confidence.  The Raiders have an opportunity to prove that they are a force to be reckoned with.  Will they do that?  My gut tells me that they probably won’t, but you never know.  There is only one team in the AFC West that I want to see win on Sunday and they don’t kickoff until 7:30pm CST so I will end this post with J-E-T-S – Jets, Jets, Jets!  

Go Broncos – beat Green Bay!  Enjoy Sunday Night Football Bronco fans!