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AFC West Roundup, Week 1: Chargers top the Raiders, Broncos fumble away Russ’ return

Both the Denver Broncos and Josh McDaniels start the season 0-1.

NFL: Las Vegas Raiders at Los Angeles Chargers Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Both the Denver Broncos and Las Vegas Raiders’ Josh McDaniels start the season 0-1

The Broncos are already a game back of the Kansas City Chiefs and Los Angeles Chargers, proving they still have a way to go to contend for a division title.

AFC West Standings

Team W L T Div. Conf.
Team W L T Div. Conf.
Kansas City Chiefs 2 0 0 1-0 1-0
Los Angeles Chargers 1 1 0 1-1 1-1
Denver Broncos 1 1 0 0-0 1-0
Las Vegas Raiders 0 2 0 0-1 0-1

Denver Broncos @ Seattle Seahawks

Final Score: 16-17

Recap: We can second guess coach Hackett’s decision to attempt a game winning 64-yard field goal all we want, but the Broncos literally fumbled this one away. First, Melvin Gordon coughed it up on 4th and goal before Javonte Williams gave it up on 3rd and goal, with both turnovers coming in the 3rd quarter of a four-point game. Lost in the shuffle is the reality that Russell Wilson put together a solid performance en route to 340 yards passing. The running game was effective while Jerry Jeudy and Courtland Sutton made plays in the passing game. The red zone offense cost Denver this game. It’s easy to forget that the Broncos are rolling out a new quarterback, a first-time head coach, offensive coordinator, and defensive coordinator. It was always going to be a process to iron out the kinks and get on the same page. The process, however, suddenly becomes an urgent one.

Injury Concerns: Quinn Meinerz out a few weeks with a hamstring injury and K’Wuan Williams left the game with a hand injury.

Week 2 Matchup: Houston Texans @ Denver Broncos

Las Vegas Raiders @ Los Angeles Chargers

Final Score: 19-24

Recap: The Chargers took a 17-3 lead into halftime and despite the final score, were never in real jeopardy of dropping this one to the Raiders. Khalil Mack made a statement in his debut with the Bolts, harassing Derek Carr all day and coming away with three sacks and four hits on the QB. If the Chargers generate a steady pass rush and remain solid in the secondary, they’re going to be a scary team. Justin Herbert continued his trajectory into the elite quarterback tier of the NFL, coming away with a stellar 129.4 passer rating. The Chargers, seemingly incapable of putting teams away, struggled to find any consistency on the ground which will be worth watching going forward. The Raiders on the other hand ran the ball just 13 times in Josh McDaniels’ debut with the club. Playing from behind for the entirety of the matchup led to 37 pass attempts from Derek Carr, who wasted no time linking up with Davante Adams. The pair connected for 141 yards and a touchdown, further emphasizing that the AFC West is littered with playmakers on offense.

Injury Concerns: Anthony Averett placed on IR with a broken thumb. Andre James, Andrew Billings, Tre’von Moehrig, Denzel Perryman, Brandon Bolden, and DJ Turner all left the game with injuries.

Keenan Allen left the game with a hamstring injury and JC Jackson left with an ankle injury.

Week 2 Matchups: Arizona Cardinals @ Las Vegas Raiders | Los Angeles Chargers @ Kansas City Chiefs

Kansas City Chiefs @ Arizona Cardinals

Final Score: 44-21

Recap: The Chiefs out coached, out played, and out classed the Cardinals in every way on Sunday. If the Chiefs missed Tyreek Hill at all, you wouldn’t have noticed. It certainly didn’t slow down Patrick Mahomes on his way to five touchdown passes and a passer rating of 144.2. It’s unclear who the Chiefs WR1 is, but Travis Kelce is far and away the team’s top pass catcher and showing no signs of slowing down after going eight for 121 with a touchdown. The defense didn’t get a ton of hits on Kyler Murray, but ultimately contained him on the ground and through the air.

Injury Concerns: Trent McDuffie placed on IR with a hamstring injury

Week 2 Matchup: Los Angeles Chargers @ Kansas City Chiefs

Predictions for Week 2

Despite the week 1 struggles, the Broncos will handle the Texans and move to 1-1. Josh McDaniels will still be winless as the Raiders will go to 0-2. The injuries to Keenan Allen and JC Jackson will loom large for the Chargers as they will slide to 1-1 with the Chiefs standing at 2-0.

What are your predictions for Week 2? Let us know in the comments!