For all the offseason talk of the AFC West being the toughest division in football, it’s shaping up similarly to what we’ve grown accustomed to. The Chiefs are the clear top team and proved it in primetime against the Chargers, who remain dangerous but inconsistent. The Raiders and Broncos continue to trail the other two, but now the Broncos have found themselves in the basement of the AFC West after a season sweep at the hands of Vegas. Every time we think it can’t get worse for the Broncos, it does.
AFC West Standings
|Kansas City Chiefs||9||2||0||3-0||5-2|
|Los Angeles Chargers||6||5||0||2-2||4-3|
|Las Vegas Raiders||4||7||0||2-2||3-5|
Final Score: 22-16
Recap: Prior to kickoff, we learned that Klint Kubiak would be calling plays for the Broncos and perhaps it was no coincidence that Denver started the game strong. They took their first possession 92 yards for a touchdown after forcing a Raiders punt to start the game. Russell Wilson completed three of four passes, including a 33-yard pass to Kendall Hinton, which was initially ruled a touchdown before replay overturned the call. Latavius Murray would pick up the touchdown on the next play. Eventually climbing out to a 10-0 lead before a Davante Adams, the game went sideways on the Broncos final drive of the first half. Facing a third and one from the Vegas three-yard line, Melvin Gordon took a handoff with 34 seconds remaining with enough momentum to carry him past the first down marker and set up a first and goal. Instead, he put the ball on the ground yet again. The Broncos recovered, but it prevented an opportunity to take a commanding 17-7 lead before starting the second half with the ball. To make matters worse, Brandon McManus’ 25-yard field goal was blocked, and all the momentum shifted to the opposing sideline. After a productive first half, the Broncos offense stalled in the last two quarters, posting just six points on two field goals. The defense is not innocent, however, as they let the Raiders march down and tie the game up with less than two minutes remaining. Of course, Nathaniel Hackett is also to blame for dialing up a pass on third and long following the two-minute warning, after the Raiders had used their final timeout. Had the Broncos run the ball, the Raiders would have likely had less than a minute to operate but instead were gifted 1:47. It didn’t take long for Derek Carr to connect with Davante Adams on a deep ball that would result in Denver’s third overtime loss this season.
Injuries: Chase Edmonds IR (ankle), Jonathan Harris (knee)
Kansas City Chiefs vs Los Angeles Chargers
Final Score: 30-27
Recap: The top two teams in the AFC West tussled in a primetime event that lived up to the hype with a total of six lead changes throughout the game. The Chiefs started the scoring with a field goal on their opening possession, leading the way for a score on the game’s first five drives. The first punt came with 11:42 remaining the second quarter and the score at 13-10 in favor of the Chiefs. The Chargers would post another touchdown and field goal before the half, taking a 20-10 lead. Along with the 30 points, the two teams combined for 481 yards of total offense and split it nearly evenly. The game began to turn in the third quarter when the Chargers punted on their first two possessions, while the Chiefs notched another field goal and touchdown on their first to drives, taking a 23-20 lead. The Chiefs appeared primed to score again until an Isaiah Pacheco fumble turned the ball back over to Justin Herbert and the Chargers, who would make them pay with a Joshua Palmer touchdown to regain the lead. Taking over at their own 25-yard line with 1:46 to play, Patrick Mahomes would lead another late game drive, resulting in Travis Kelce’s third touchdown and the final lead change of the game. The game offered a perfect summary for the division, as the Chargers seem to constantly be on the Chiefs heels but never truly a threat to Mahomes and the Chiefs.
Injuries: Clyde Edwards-Helaire (ankle), Kadarius Toney (hamstring) / Mike Williams (ankle), Nasir Adderley (thumb)
Predictions for Week 12
I went 1-1 last week, brining my record on the season to 17-13.
It’s become extremely difficult to pick the Broncos to win, but this may be their last winnable game on the schedule. Even as injuries mount and we lose confidence in the team, a meeting with Sam Darnold may be just the recipe. I’ll reluctantly take the Broncos in a road win. The Raiders won’t win two in a row, especially in Seattle, but I like both the Chiefs to take down the Rams at home and the Chargers to pick up a road win in Arizona.
What are your predictions for week 12? Let us know in the comments!