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AFC West Week 14 Review

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Reviewing the AFC West, along with the various playoff scenarios for the Denver Broncos.

Circus Krone Show Photo by Hannes Magerstaedt/Getty Images

Here is where we are after the Denver Broncos loss to the Tennessee Titans. Still hanging on by a foot.

Kansas City 10 3 0.769 302 255 4-0 7-2
Oakland 10 3 0.769 358 320 2-2 7-2
Denver 8 5 0.615 296 242 1-3 5-4
San Diego 5 8 0.385 350 347 1-3 4-5

As you can see in black and white, our defense is doing its job and our offense isn't. Our defense has allowed 54 points less than what we’ve scored. For reference, the two teams with the best differential are NE* and Dallas. Twice ours. Percentage wise, we’re just a little bit less than last year, which is what our eye test tells us. The difference is we don’t have the brain trust of Manning.

Playoff implications below.

Team Seeds W Conf
Pittsburgh 3 8-5 6-3
Houston 4 7-6 5-4
Oakland 5 10-3 7-2
DENVER 6 8-5 5-4
Miami 8-5 5-4
Baltimore 7-6 7-3
Tennesee 7-6 4-5

We are above Miami because of strength of victory. Thank you defense!!! Right now, we would travel to Pittsburgh, Oakland to Houston and KC would have a first round bye. Miami plays Saturday night against the Jets in NJ. We need them to lose. Since Tannenhill is out, a loss is more plausible. Beating NE* and by a lot, would keep us ahead of them, if they were to win because the Jets aren't the #1 seed.

Since the Dolphins play NE*, again, it's really important we beat NE* and the Dolphins lose. A Jets win for them doesn't help them if we end up tying the rest of the way because NE*, Oakland and KC are top ranked teams. Who we beat, matters. With our tougher schedule than Miami, our wins are more weighted.

Oakland (11-3) 13 @ Kansas City (10-3) 21

In my prediction I wondered about the cold and if Carr’s finger would be an issue. One could say it was the whole game. Plus, Oakland would have a tough time shutting down Travis Kelcie. They did. Also said watch out out for Tyreek Hill.

He had a 36-yard TD reception and a punt return for a TD, becoming the first rookie since Gale Sayers in 1965 with touchdowns on the ground, through the air and on punt and kickoff returns in a single season.

Carr was clearly impeded leaving the run game to pick up the slack, which it did, but not enough. He had the worst game of his career (I believe) and KC exploited it. December football in KC is no picnic even for healthy QB’s. Or WR’s who seemed to have dislocated fingers themselves the way they weren't catching the few on target passes.

Between Hill and Kelcie’s 100 yard game, Oakland had no answer.

Alex Smith showed why he may not be the King of the passing numbers, but he is king at making them count. His 258 yards don't seem like much, but they were, for the most part, meaty throws.

Despite three turn overs on KC, including a strip sack from Khalil Mack and none for Oakland, the Chiefs broke conventional wisdom and won anyway.

Third downs were why. KC converted 45.5% to Oakland’s 27.8%.

KC went ape during the second quarter scoring three TD’s and then coasted the rest of the game.

Injuries: KC, LB Derrick Johnson, Achilles, DT Rakeem Nunez-Roches, back

Oakland travels to San Diego next

KC takes on Tennessee at home

San Diego (5-8) 16 @ Carolina (5-8) 28

As we know, when Phillips feels the game is on his shoulders, he forces throws often resulting in interceptions. He had three. And lost two fumbles. Gave up a safety. He and Russell Wilson should get together for tea and tears.

Carolina’s defense brutalized Rivers all game. Five sacks, interceptions, hits and hurries. He was under siege and didn't seize the day.

SD went into the game with Joey Bosa and Melvin Gordon and lost both and their hope for 2016.

12 of Carolina’s scores came from FG’s, which I’m mentioning because it seems as if no kicker is money this year.

Rivers threw for 220 and two TDs, but they were too little, too late. Starting down ten points is never a recipe for success if your run game is hobbled. Theirs was.

Who knows what SD could be with a healthy team? They won’t know because devastating injuries continued to plague this team.

Injuries: DE Joey Bosa, RB Melvin Gordon, hip, CB, Craig Mager

Denver (8-5) 10 @ Tennessee (6-7) 13

Story of this game was what I feared, no run, no run stop and a hobbled QB. Trevor Siemian did the best he could against a team that allows an average of 24.7 points, a 61.5% completion rate, 352 yards a game, 11.8 yards a reception. The problem was without him being mobile to even rush for one yard, along with our RBs unable to even get their average allowed of 86 per game, we were doomed. You can't win with 18 rushing yards. That and a 92 yard run for a TD by DeMarco Murray.

Titans LB Brian Orakpo in an interview said they knew if they stopped the run (forcing a passing game), they'd get turnovers and win. Were the turnovers Trevor's fault? No! So, Tennessee had the right idea, and the result was the same, but the turnovers came from some really hard hitting defense, not interceptions.

Something he also spoke of. He said Head Coach Mike Mularkey stressed being physical. Playing old school hard hitting football. No, he didn't bring up the dirty hit on CHJ. Their defense delivered. Our two fumbles weren't from drops, but from Tennessee double hitting our guys and punching the ball out.

What I find curious is why Kubiak didn't play Austin Davis. I didn't mention Paxton Lynch because the Broncos made sure everyone knew he didn’t quite have the entire play sheet down. So, if they felt he couldn't go up against a bad pass defense that is 22nd at allowing yards (unlike Jacksonville’s top five), not to mention the 86 rushing a game, why not use the vet and his legs?

Kubes spoke of battling, but how do you expect to battle with a QB who can't run? Run from defenders or run for desperately needed first downs? I'm betting if Trevor was mobile like KC, we would have won. Throwing 51 times isn’t how anyone wins. He also wouldn't have spent so much time in the gun which also didn't help our run game. Plus, if your QB is in the gun, why no sweeps?

Instead, we have a QB who looked liked he got pummeled and now has to face NE*, once again not 100%. They risked his health.

Tennessee knew Siemian was hobbled, they knew he'd be zero threat to run, so they didn't even have to worry about him. Had they used Davis, the outcome wouldn't have been worse, but at least our run game might’ve had a chance. Not to mention, an additional week for Trevor to heal for NE* where he must be mobile.

We had two dropped passes out of 52 attempts. We had wide receivers making acrobatic catches all day long on inaccurate balls, so two drops shouldn't be why we lost. Every team has drops. We’ve had 11 drops out of 450 attempts. Only 7 teams are better. They mattered because we had no run.

It took 51 minutes before we scored. Our longest drive was 69 yards which ended in a TD. The rest were under 40 yards. 3-11 on 3rd downs. We had 11 drives resulting in 10 points. 27.3% 3rd down rate. The Titans average of giving up third downs is 39.1%.

Our ST gave us chances to win. Our defense held Marcus Mariota to 88 passing yards and the Titans to 13 points. Our run stop is an issue, but they held the Titans, who are third best at the run, to only one TD. One. The problem though is while we’re not breaking, we’re spending too much time on the field which keeps our offense on the sideline. If we were an efficient O, it wouldn’t matter, but we’re 20th.

This loss lies on Kubiak. He used the wrong QB for this game, he made the wrong game plan for this team and he lets Rick Dennison call the first quarters when we clearly struggle. Waiting until late 3rd or 4th quarters until we act like we have a pulse doesn't win games. Having no run game doesn't win. Having an inconsistent OL doesn't help anyone. In the last five games we have won two. One from a botched kick and one by ten.

Only two other teams have a worse third down production: LA, who just fired their HC and SF whose HC is on the hot seat. Said before and I'm doubling down, it's time for Rick Dennison to go and an Offensive Coordinator who also play calls, to be hired.

There is nothing about this offense that is good. It's quite apparent that Peyton Freakin Manning’s brain is missed and with two young QBs, neither with his experience, is going to save this team. Empty passing yards, no run game, no run stop needs to be fixed by one person. The Duke. Next season better be a shake up year.

Injuries: Todd Davis

Next, NE* sigh.