The AFC West now sits without a clear dominant team following this week’s action. While the Kansas City Chiefs are still the team to beat, their loss to the Denver Broncos now sparks a lot of questions. To us, the biggest question is: just how good are the Broncos? There is a new found sense of optimism in Denver, and somehow, a new sense of pessimism in Vegas following another brutal loss. How Josh McDaniels still has a job, I do not know.
Let’s take a look at what happened across the division this week.
AFC West Standings
|Kansas City Chiefs||8||3||0||3-1||6-1|
|Las Vegas Raiders||5||7||0||1-2||3-5|
|Los Angeles Chargers||4||7||0||1-1||2-3|
Kansas City Chiefs @ Denver Broncos
Final score: 9-24
Recap: There were a number of streaks that were snapped on Sunday in Denver. Patrick Mahomes lost both his first divisional road game as well as his first game against a team two games or more under .500. He also lost his first game against the Broncos. The Broncos, on the other hand, were able to extend their current winning streak to two, and they now own a massive one-game winning streak against Kansas City.
Denver was able to win this game due to their ability to stick to the game plan of a run-heavy attack with passes based on the run and their defense that played lights-out. Russell Wilson, while still not looking amazing in the eye test, was able to keep the Broncos in good positions for most of the game, used his feet well, and was able to throw a couple of beautiful passes to Courtland Sutton and Jerry Jeudy in the end zone. He is now sitting at fourth in the league in passing touchdowns with 16, which is just two behind the league leaders Kirk Cousins and Tua Tagovailoa.
Javonte Williams continued his streak of impressive play, finishing this game with 98 yards and a touchdown. Sutton now is tied for third in the league in receiving touchdowns with six. The defense has given up just 17 points per game over the last four weeks and they are a combined 3-16 in the red zone over that span. Vance Joseph’s defense is starting to turn a page.
Injury concerns: QB Patrick Mahomes was dealing with an injury to his non-throwing hand over the course of the game.
Chicago Bears @ Los Angeles Chargers
Final score: 13-30
Recap: Justin Herbert and the Chargers needed a bounce-back win following their loss to the Chiefs last week, and they absolutely got one on Sunday. Tyler Bagent, the Division II college football player was unable to build off of his first career win last week, finishing the game with two interceptions. However, it would be wise to blame the Bears’ playcalling as Bagent was forced to throw the ball 37 times. Not typically something an experienced coaching staff would have their rookie quarterback do.
Pretty much all of L.A.’s scoring came in the first half, as they scored the first 17 points of the game. Two touchdown passes from Herbert would get the momentum going for the Chargers and they wouldn’t look back from this point.
The Chargers and Justin Herbert may have found a new level of confidence after taking out the Bears. We’ll see how this helps them as they head into their Week 9 game against the Jets.
Injury concerns: WR Joshua Palmer re-injured his knee.
Week 9 matchup: Los Angeles Chargers @ New York Jets
Las Vegas Raiders @ Detroit Lions
Final score: 14-26
Recap: The new helmets of the Lions, along with their pass rush, offense, and general coaching competency spelled disaster for the Raiders as they get blown out in prime time. The game was all about the offensive ineptitude that Vegas continually shows off. Jimmy Garoppolo is still one of the worst quarterbacks in the league and their offensive line failed when it came to stopping the Detroit pass rush.
The Raiders would finish the game with just 77 net passing yards and 157 total yards. Marcus Peters ended up being the team’s leading receiver due to his 75-yard pick six he scored in the 3rd quarter. And the Lions would rack up six sacks and nine quarterback hits. It’s very apparent that this team is not going to be doing anything good anytime soon.
Another developing story following the game is the increased frustration that Davante Adams is feeling. He finished the game with just one reception on seven targets. He should’ve finished with a 98-yard and a 60-yard touchdown reception, but Jimmy G overthrew him both times. We’ll see if the Raiders do the right thing and trade him at the deadline.
Injury concerns: No new injuries reported
Week 9 Predictions
I now sit at 18-12 on the season with my predictions following this week’s action. I only got the Denver game wrong, which I am very happy about.
This week I’ll be taking the Dolphins over the Chiefs, the Giants over the Raiders (that game better get flexed out of prime time), and the Chargers over the Jets. Drop your predictions in the comments!