Here we are, a quarter of the way through the season. As expected, a brutal schedule (especially for the Oakland Raiders) has not been kind to the AFC West. San Diego is the only team above .500 and two teams have losing records.
The Chiefs have disappointed, Denver has sputtered, Oakland continues to look for an identity, and San Diego has shown a number of vulnerabilities.
All that aside, it still appears to be, as always, a wide-open division.
Let’s take a look at what went down last week.
Chargers over Chiefs, 37-20
San Diego took advantage of six Kansas City turnovers and rode them to a sound win. Romeo Crennel did not personally turn the ball over, but he is in serious danger of losing his job in the near future if he cannot save this sinking ship. Jamaal Charles is the only real bright spot for the Chiefs this season. They’ll need a few more to save their season and Crennel’s job.
For the Chargers, Philip Rivers has still not wowed us the way he did just a few years ago. I’m not sure if he’s on the decline or if there is a lingering injury, but if he can’t do better than what he has done so far this season, the AFC West is the only title the Chargers will compete for.
Broncos over Raiders, 37-6
Make no bones about it, the Broncos destroyed the Raiders. Peyton Manning had the best game of his comeback tour so far. I’m not sure if that was a result of him being that good or the Raider secondary being that bad. I’d like to say a little of both, but unfortunately for Raider fans, I’m not sure that’s the case.
I don’t know that Oakland has the personnel on defense to make ground-breaking changes anytime soon, but on offense, they must find more creative ways to get Darren McFadden the ball without simultaneously overburdening him. He is too good of a player to only touch the ball 14 times a game.
Week 5 Predictions
Broncos vs. Patriots
They’re gonna party like it’s 1994 in Foxboro. Brady vs. Manning one more time. Expect a shootout like the good old days between these two. In the end, I think Brady has more weapons and put up big numbers on this Denver defense twice a year ago.
Prediction: Patriots 37-27
Ravens vs. Chiefs
Just when it can’t get worse for Kansas City, here comes one of the NFL’s most talented and physical teams. This game is going to go just like you think it will. Baltimore’s D is going to beat up the Chiefs all day, Flacco will toss a few scores, and Ray Rice will close it out.
Prediction: Ravens 27-9
Chargers vs. Saints
Drew Brees and the Saints are a wounded animal. Their backs are against the wall, at home, on Monday Night Football. The crowd will be pumped and anxious. The Saints can’t stop the run, but they might not have to. I think they jump out to an early lead and never look back, just as their fellow NFC South comrades Atlanta did against the Chargers.
Prediction: Saints 31-17