Broncos 2015: AFC West Preview – Week Nine


Nov 1, 2015; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) throws a pass during the second half against the Green Bay Packers at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. The Broncos won 29-10. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

As a die-hard Denver Bronco fan, I am still celebrating the Broncos week eight dominating victory over the Green Bay Packers.  As fans, we’re allowed to do that…. Bronco players on the other hand, have hopefully shifted their focus to the Indianapolis Colts – the week nine opponent for the 7-0 Denver Broncos!  For my thoughts on this game, as well as the other games featuring teams from the AFC West, please keep reading.

Denver Broncos at Indianapolis Colts: Peyton Manning returns “home” once again to face his old team – the 3-5 Indianapolis Colts.  Looking at records, you would think this would be an easy win for the Broncos but remember that in the NFL anything can happen from week-to-week; no win ever comes easily.  Extreme preparation and perfect execution sometimes make victories look like they come easily.  In all honesty, I didn’t expect the Broncos to dominate the Packers like they did, but they played one of their best games of the season.

Because Peyton is coming to town, I think both the Colts players and fans will be a bit more excited this week!  Entering his eighth game this season, Manning has a legitimate shot to capture two more records – passing yards (284 yards and Manning will pass Brett Favre) and career victories by starting quarterback (next victory would be 187, topping Favre once again).  Like Manning (and most players) say, the only number that really matters is the number of points on the scoreboard and if it is more than that week’s opponent!

Oakland Raiders at Pittsburgh Steelers: Obviously, the Oakland Raiders are not even near the top of my “like list” but I have to give them credit – eight weeks into the season, they have given their fans a reason to be excited.

After a 2-3 start, the Raiders have won two in a row, improving to 4-3, which puts them in sole possession of second place in the AFC West.  While the Raiders defense is nowhere near the Broncos defense, on the offensive side of the ball, they have scored a total of 178 points – ten more than the Broncos.

I hate to say this, but if the Raiders team I have seen the last two weeks would have showed up in week five when the Broncos traveled to Oakland, I am not so sure the Raiders wouldn’t have knocked off the Broncos, considering the Broncos offensive woes that have plagued them thus far.  That is water under the bridge now, and the Raiders face a Pittsburgh team that in a sense is fighting for their playoff life.

After two straight losses, the Steelers find themselves sitting at 4-4 and in second place behind the undefeated Cincinnati Bengals in the AFC North.  Looking ahead, I would have to think the Steelers only have a shot at a wildcard so they’ll be motivated as another AFC team visits Heinz Field this week.  The Raiders can prove to the league that they are continuing to right the ship in Oakland if the can fly home Sunday night sitting at 5-3.  As the 2015 NFL season approaches its midpoint, my heart forces me to pull for Steelers just because that is the best scenario for the Broncos.  My head, however, thinks the Raiders have a very good chance of winning for the third week in a row!

Chicago Bears at San Diego Chargers:  Monday Night Football in San Diego!  Before the season started this looked like a great match-up on a number of different angles – to name a few: Jay Cutler against Philip Rivers; former Bronco coaches against each other (John Fox and Adam Gase vs Mike McCoy); the high-powered Chargers trying to dethrone the Denver Broncos from another divisional championship.

Halfway through the season, the Bears and Chargers are a combined 4-11.  The Chargers are 2-6, losers of four in a row and in last place in the AFC West, while the Bears are 2-5 and one game ahead of the Detroit Lions in the NFC North.  Even though the records of both teams are dismal at this point in the season, I will tune in to this game to do some “pregame scouting” considering the Broncos face the Chargers two times (week 13 & 17) before season’s end, as well as the Chicago Bears (week 11).

I always go for the non-AFC West team when they play an AFC West team and that will remain the same this Monday night as week nine comes to a close.  I haven’t seen much of either team so I find it difficult to make a realistic prediction.  I do know my fantasy team took a hit when San Diego receiver, Keenan Allen, was placed on injured reserve due to a lacerated kidney.

Next: Five college QB's the Broncos should have interest in

The 3-5 Kansas City Chiefs have a bye week following their 45-10 victory over the Detroit Lions in London, England and return to action in week ten when they travel to Denver to face the Broncos.  Let’s hope the Broncos are still undefeated when they host the Chiefs in one week!

Go Broncos – beat Indianapolis!