I’d say so and I hope all of Raider Nation agrees. Overtime or not, Oakland’s win this past week over the Jaguars kept the Raiders in the mix in the AFC West.
As I said last week, Oakland’s upcoming schedule puts them in great shape to be .500 when they play the Ravens. Given Baltimore’s injury situation and the fact that Oakland was able to beat a similar team in the Steelers, I wouldn’t count out the Silver and Black in that game just yet.
Here are some things to look for in the AFC West this week:
It’ll be a Sunday Night shootout between two legends. The difference in this one is that only one of the two legends has the backing of a respectable defense. Expect Peyton Manning to exploit a week New Orleans D and make a run at his best statistical game so far this season. Brees and the Saints will score, that’s for sure. I just think Denver’s defense, mainly the pass rush, will be too much for Brees to win in a shootout over Manning.
San Diego Chargers
The Chargers are probably thinking they have the perfect opponent to jump back into the fire against in Cleveland. After a meltdown of epic proportions two weeks ago, Norv Turner’s squad will be chomping at the bit to get back in the winning column and do whatever is necessary to get the taste of the Denver loss out of their mouths. They’ll need to be alert and not overlook the young Browns. Brandon Weeden is starting to build chemistry with his young receivers. Josh Gordon, with limited touches, has the look of a young Megatron and will challenge any corner San Diego lines up across from him.
Kansas City Chiefs
I don’t care what team you root for, starting Brady Quinn is a bad sign. Not only is Quinn getting the nod over Cassel, but he’s getting it over Ricky Stanzi as well. I don’t see what Romeo Crennel gets out of starting a guy who has failed on two other teams over a kid who has never really been given a fair shake. If Stanzi is not better than Quinn, why keep him on the roster? I’m at a complete loss for words at the total disaster that the Chiefs’ season has become. I know they’ve had their injuries, but so has everyone else. There is just too much talent on this team for them to be this bad and unorganized. I’ve been saying Crennel’s job is in trouble for a few weeks now, but if he doesn’t shuffle the deck fast, G.M. Scott Pioli could be in the unemployment line as well.
Yes, it was just one win over a terrible team, but I like what I see. I think the team believes in Dennis Allen. I think he has an idea of where he wants to take this team. The Raiders are young and raw, especially on defense, and are only going to improve as the season goes on. They still need to figure out how to get McFadden going without sacrificing the entire gameplan, but I think these next two matchups will help them figure all of that out. I’m calling a sound win over Kansas City this weekend.
Just a side note, as some of you on Twitter may have read, I will be appearing on SportsX Radio with Ken Thomson tonight during the show’s broadcast live from the Palms Casino in Las Vegas. The show airs from 7-9 pm PCT on AM 720 all throughout the Southwest and Southern California. For those who cannot pick up the signal, you can stream it live here: http://www.kdwn.com/streamer/
We’ll be talking primarily AFC West and will likely transition to news, notes, opinions and projections around the rest of the NFL. Be sure to tune in!