No matter what you feel about the victory at the end of Sunday's Denver Broncos game after the miraculous comeback it likely crossed your mind at some point.
'Well, yeah Denver won, but, the Miami Dolphins are one of the worst teams in the league.'
Insert 'Orly Owl'.
Sunday the San Diego Chargers lost to the New York Jets, despite the triumphant return of Antonio Gates, Philip Rivers still had one of his worst passing games ever.
Then take a peek at the Oakland Raiders and Kansas City Chiefs box score. Now don't go calling the move for Carson Palmer idiotic or a mistake just yet, because the only quarterback worse on Palmer's current team is Kyle Boller. Boller had all season to work with the Oakland offense, Palmer had basically three days before he was thrown into the game.
The Chiefs didn't win so much as the Raiders imploded. Take Darren McFadden out of the mix and what really does the Oakland offense have?
Now take a peak at the next four weeks for Denver and the rest of the AFC West's along with their schedules:
The Four Week Plan*
*As is the nature of the NFL every week is unpredictable, this is my sole prediction.
|San Diego||4-2||Kansas City||3-3|
|Kansas City||3-3||San Diego||4-2|
Chargers at Chiefs
This game is one of two 'x-factors' in this plan with a major IF. If Kansas City can beat San Diego my thesis will be on track. So let us say the purpose of this that the Chiefs somehow beat the Chargers, the Chiefs move to 4-3 and the Chargers to 4-3.
Oakland has a bye this Sunday so they're not going anywhere. McFadden will get healthier and Palmer will get more time with his receivers and offense.
Lions at Broncos
Stafford has been declared at best day-to-day with an ankle injury, he is in a boot as of Monday and Detroit's head coach Jim Schwartz is likely not to reveal more. It will be telling whether Stafford is able to practice this week or not. Jahvid Best is also still likely out, if Stafford is unable to go Shaun Hill will get the nod and Maurice Morris will again fill in for Best.
Now Detroit's defense is ranked tenth in the NFL overall, even if on paper they seem intimidating. However, San Diego is currently ranked fifth and Denver nearly had a victory. The first ranked defense in the NFL? That's right, the Cincinnati Bengals. Again, let's say given everything that could go right and could go wrong, it goes mostly right for Denver and they win, making them 3-4.
|San Diego||4-3||Green Bay||6-0*|
*records reflect those as of the writing of this article.
Packers at Chargers
Now as of the writing of this post, the Packers have gone undefeated and I do not expect them to leave week nine any different. One of if not the most difficult games the Chargers play this season and a great litmus test for Green Bay to find out where they actually are as a team. It's still too early for the Packers to rest starters and their offense remains nearly unstoppable. San Diego likely leaves the game at 4-4.
Dolphins at Chiefs
Miami still isn't likely to have a win at this point and they probably aren't getting it in Kansas City in November. Brrr. The win is probable for the Chiefs and they would exit this week in my thesis as 5-3.
Broncos at Raiders
Denver nearly got it together and beat Oakland in week one, the only thing the Broncos were likely missing? Tim Tebow, now the Broncos have gotten better as a team at this point and with the uncertainty of McFadden's status and this being the first start of Palmer as a Raider the cards play in Denver's favor. Oakland exits the week at 4-4 and the Broncos at 4-4.
Raiders at Chargers
Though McFadden could be back by week ten, the Raiders will likely still not have the Chargers number by now. Until Palmer proves that he has real worth this season there is no need to give Oakland any credit, it will only be Palmer's third week. I am not of the opinion that the Raiders can't win with Palmer, it's just an unwritten rule that a player will struggle with this limited amount of playing time in a season and/or preseason (see: Chris Johnson). I am going to say San Diego leaves this week 5-4, with Oakland falling to 4-5.
Broncos at Chiefs
If there is any November for the Broncos to win in Kansas City it has to be this one. It is hard to gauge how Denver will play the Chiefs at this point as Kansas City has been either really bad or convincingly good. Thought they have been mostly bad. Let us go with bad or maybe just not as good as the Broncos (because I like to look at the glass as half full, I will always eat a doughnut despite the hole in it). Willis McGahee will likely have returned for this game and with McGahee, Tim Tebow will be able to pass more (or at least it won't be as obvious that he is running). Broncos put away the Chiefs, go on to 5-4 and the Chiefs also finish 5-4. Tie breaker for first in the AFC would depend on how many points the Broncos scored against the Chargers. Three teams in the AFC West at 5-4 after ten weeks this season.
The fact is that the Broncos have to do what I am predicting in order to remain relevant in the AFC West this season, let alone in the AFC. The team has lost by three points three times this season and won by two, Denver could just as easily be 5-1 and they are 2-4... They could also easily be 0-6.
As I mentioned facts, if Denver isn't able to go 3-0 over the next three weeks, their schedule isn't getting any easier. With games vs. New York Jets, at San Diego, at Minnesota Vikings, vs. Chicago Bears, vs. New England Patriots, at Buffalo Bills, and vs. Kansas City-- the throttle must be firmly placed now. As their isn't a single gimme amongst the Broncos week 11-17 opponents. They'll need the momentum of being in first place or maybe they'll just need to do as the Denver Post headline said this morning-- Believe!
Of course the most interesting part of me posting is when I get to read what it is you guys have to say, so let me hear it and I hope that everyone is enjoying a winning week in Denver.