Let’s take a look at the AFC West heading into Week 14 of the regular season. Who needs to win and who needs to lose?
Oakland (10-2) @ Kansas City (9-3)
Not sure if Oakland fans are worried or think they have this in game in the bag, but some started their tailgate party early. According to, Movin’ the Chains, a plane carrying raiders fans sold out all the alcohol. Heads up, KC.
They may have been crying in their beers because Karl Joseph is out and that means Chiefs TE Travis Kelce just became more of a threat. Plus, their depth chart coming out of Buffalo is a little thin.
Raiders fans know that the last time they beat the Chiefs, it was two years ago and the recent match up (26-10) was a dismal day for Carr with the offense barely on the field. Thirteen minutes less than the Chiefs. Not to mention, weather was an issue.
Guess what? Weather is going to be an issue again, this time Carr has a banged up right finger. Wonder how much having a football snapped to you in 17 degree weather hurts?
If the Chiefs want to win, they need to do the same thing they did last time, which was control the clock. That means let Spencer Ware run Wild. Grizzly Bear Wild.
Oh, and target Kelce, often. Not sure Nate Allen is up to the challenge, if they double cover him, looks like Jeremy Maclin will be playing. Add in the speedy, Tyreek (the freak) Hill and Oakland’s defense is going to be busy.
KC is also getting some defensive players back that were out when they lost to Tampa Bay. Could be a long night for Carr.
Considering the chill, Alex Smith/Andy Reid style of conservative play should limit turnovers, making Oakland’s defense having to work for it the hard way.
Prediction: if KC can run the ball, keep Carr off the field, plus win the TO battle, they win. Smash mouth December football should be fun to watch (except for the nauseating Chiefs fans and their FSU stolen War Chant, wish they’d make up their own). If KC has to rely on the passing game and can’t stop Carr, they lose.
I hope they beat each other to a pulp and end up in a tie. I don’t want either team to win. As far as what helps us best, it all depends on how you view each team winning the rest of their games. Purely subjective. If we could win out, then have Oakland lose. If you think we drop a game or two, then have KC lose. Flip a coin, both teams make me ill.
Denver (8-4) @ Tennessee (6-6)
***Changed my write up as the weather seems to be moved to Sunday night; therefore, I now predict Trevor starts.***
Justin Forsett better be a factor. What he brings to the table is more than running, he brings his mind. He can read defenses, pick up the blitz, and block, something that has been woefully missing since CJ Anderson went down. They should glue him to the QB and Don Stephenson. Give him the freedom to change a play if he sees something he doesn’t like.
Key: Protect Trevor. Since the rain chances have been moved to Sunday evening, he'll start and our season will revolve around protecting him because there's no way that foot is anywhere near being healed to KC standards. Unless it was a ruse to see how Lynch would do against a team our defense could beat. This means, for the love of all that’s good, please find a way to run the dang football. Use Forsett, use Booker, use Thompson. Send Sanders on a jet sweep. Use Virgil Green and AJ Derby. I know VG has played FB, so he can run with the ball. Last week against the Titans, we had our worst run game. Injuries are killing us.
We are woefully bad against the run; however, we have improved slightly over the last three weeks in bend, don't break, stats. We’ve GOT TO STOP THE RUN. Marcus Mariota is a bigger threat with his legs than Bortles. Plus, the reason Mariota has gotten so good as the season has progressed is because he has a run game. Same thing in TB. Take away the run game and the pass will suffer. We win.
Plus, what’s overlooked is that if our defense isn't stopping the run, they are spending way too much time on the field. Sure, our offense is putting them on the field more than they should, but stopping the run would get them off a whole lot faster.
Key number three is RZ. Keep Mariota out of the Red Zone. He’s money down there. We’ve had 8, count them, eight scores in the RZ and two of them came with Lynch. Meaning, we have a tough time getting to the RZ. That’s poor production. We’ve got to get there. Once we do, we’re 75%.
We are winning because we’ve kept our opponents to 21-22 TS-FG, compared to our 26-25 ratio. That’s the magic number. Have one more TD than FG, make TN have the reverse. So, holding them to a FG in the RZ is a must.
This game will be on both team’s defense and all phases of ST.
San Diego (5-7) @ Carolina (4-8)
Not to be snarky, but if you’re not a fan of either team, the only reason to watch this game is to see how the QB’s do. Neither of these teams has any real shot at the PO’s, so this will be more of a pride game than anything.
Players often start thinking about saving their bodies when they realize there won’t be a post season, so it’ll be about the passion of those who really love football, play for fun and ones who have records within reach.
Probably going to be wrong, but I give this win to SD. Only because of the QB’s and Melvin Gordon. Yes, I love this guy ;)
Phillip Rivers always plays with passion. He usually follows a game he lost, with a game he wins. This is a go for broke team who really just wants to end the season with a winning percentage. Had they not lost so many good players early to injury, they could be in the PO hunt.
Luke Kuechly was back at practice for Carolina, does he play? Who knows, but at 4-8 and in last place in their division, why risk his health? Ron Rivera needs to be the parent here and do what’s right, even if it’s the tough choice.
If the good Cam shows up, this will be a close game and could be fun to watch. SD’s defense could surrender a bunch of points. If he doesn’t, Rivers, Gordon, Travis Benjamin, Antonio Gates and Hunter Henry could have a day because the CP are pretty banged up, too.