San Diego Chargers head coach Norv Turner and quarterback Philip Rivers look on during the third quarter against the Oakland Raiders at O.co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-US PRESSWIRE
The Broncos get a slight advantage this week being able to play in primetime again, this time on Monday night. By the time they take on the Falcons we'll already know how the rest of the AFC West did the day before and if the Broncos have a shot to take control of the AFC West.
My goal with these opponent previews is to ultimately create a post that helps us keep track of where the Broncos stand and how these upcoming games directly affect our playoff situation. Hopefully by the end of the season we won't need any kind of breakdown and our Broncos will carry us clearly to the doorstep of the playoffs and then right on in. In the event it comes back down to the wire, like the AFC West is known to do, I want to help keep us up to date on the tie-breaker situations, important injuries and trends.
Let's get to work.
Starting Sunday morning the Chiefs and the Raiders will be part of the early game kickoffs. The Chargers will be a part of the second half games. All three are playing uncommon opponents of the Broncos and the Chiefs and Raiders, who both just lost their home openers, are playing away.
Oakland At Miami
Line: Oakland by 3
The Raiders lead the series against the Dolphins 19-15-1 dating back to 1966. However, since 1996 the Dolphins have commanded the series, going 9-3 over that stretch.
The sports books don't seem to have a ton of respect for either of these offenses. A line of 39 is the second lowest, second only to the Browns and the Bengals, who ring at 38.5. After a woeful showing at home offensively, the Raiders are welcoming back wide-receiver Denarius Moore who may be able to take some of the load off McFadden who has thus far represented nearly the entire Raiders offense.
Kansas City at Buffalo
Line: Buffalo by 3
The Bills lead the series against the Chiefs 24-18-1 dating all the way back to when the Chiefs used to be the Dallas Texans. The Bills have taken four out of the last five games against the Chiefs since 2005 and are once again favored to win on Sunday.
The Chiefs moved the ball effectively against the Falcons last Sunday in the first half but quickly unraveled after a few turnovers in the second half. The Bills gave up more points to a Jets starting offense that hadn't scored a single touchdown in preseason than any team in football last week. This is truly one of those Sunday morning games that you may not actually hear anything about.
Tennessee At San Diego
Line: Chargers by 6.5
The Chargers squeaked out a win in Oakland last week on Monday Night Football and currently share first place with the Broncos in the AFC West. The Chargers, who have a history of fading big time at some point in the season, would desperately love to win this home opener against a rebuilding Tennessee team and then watch the Broncos lose to capture the first lead in the AFC West.
The Chargers lead the Titans 25-16-1 and have never lost to the Tennessee version of this team. The last San Diego loss to the Titans organization was back in 1992 when they were known as the Houston Oilers. In this decade, the Titans have scored a measly average of 14.8 ppg versus the Chargers in 7 games. The Chargers, on the other hand, have averaged nearly 31 ppg.
Looks like the fifteen fans attending the game at Qualcomm are in for a real good time.
Since none of these games are common opponent games they shouldn't make too much of an impact on the season towards the end, other than the ultimate win-loss of course. However, the Broncos are just starting the hardest part of their schedule over the next five weeks and if they can take a few of these games where they aren't the favorites they will be in a position to really put some distance between themselves and the rest of the AFC West in the second half.