For the second time this season, the Denver Broncos had a perfect week when it came to their divisional outcomes. The Las Vegas Raiders lost, the Kansas City Chiefs lost, and Denver took down the Los Angeles Chargers on the road. It can’t be much better than that, especially with how the games went as well.
Let’s take a look at what went down in the AFC West this week.
AFC West Standings
|Kansas City Chiefs
|Las Vegas Raiders
|Los Angeles Chargers
Denver Broncos @ Los Angeles Chargers
Final score: 24-7
Recap: Even though the Broncos could’ve put up another couple of touchdowns in this game, they still managed to handle the Chargers and secure their first road divisional win since 2019.
The defense was a clear bright spot throughout this game as they stifled almost any bit of offense that the Chargers attempted to produce and kept them off the scoreboard until the fourth quarter. This defensive performance featured six sacks, nine QB hits, one interception, one fumble recovery, and they took Justin Herbert out of the game in the second quarter. They even should have had a scoop-an-score but it was called back for a reason I’m still trying to understand.
Offensively, it wasn’t an amazing performance, but it was one of their better ones of the season. Russell Wilson was very efficient and one of his only rough spots was an early interception that was not fully his fault. He even had a couple of his patented deep shots. One went off the hands of Jeudy and Courtland Sutton only needed one hand to grab the other. More proof that he should be a Pro Bowler this year.
Injury concerns: OG Quinn Meinerz was taken to a hospital at halftime with an irregular heartbeat. He is expected to be fine. OLB Nik Bonitto suffered a knee injury in the first half.
Minnesota Vikings @ Las Vegas Raiders
Final score: 3-0
Recap: I was wrong and I apologize for my spreading of misinformation last week. I mistakenly called the Chargers/ Patriots game the worst of the season. That was false and this game clearly is.
The Raiders and the Vikings made history on Sunday as they are now tied for the lowest-scoring game in NFL history. What an awful display of football and effort this one was. There were only 433 combined offensive yards in this game and only two possessions that made it to the opposition’s red zone.
Really all that happened is that the teams traded punts or missed a field goal for the entirety of the game up until the last couple of minutes when the Vikings made a field goal and then the Raiders threw a pick on the first play of the following drive.
Injury concerns: DT Adam Butler suffered a foot injury in the second quarter. LB Kana’i Mauga suffered a knee injury in the second quarter. C Andre James suffered an ankle injury in the third quarter.
Week 15 matchup: Los Angeles Chargers @ Las Vegas Raiders
Buffalo Bills @ Kansas City Chiefs
Final score: 20-17
Recap: This game was going to be a win-win or a lose-lose for the Broncos, depending on how you wanted to look at things. For playoffs, it was better for the Bills to lose but who wants to root for the Chiefs? But now the Bills are still tied with the Broncos for records at 7-6, but now Denver is only one game out of the division lead.
This game started very poorly for the Chiefs as Mahomes threw an interception on the opening drive and the Bills would go on to take a 14-0 lead after scoring touchdowns on consecutive drives. The Chiefs would manage to score a touchdown before the half thanks in part to a Josh Allen interception.
The real fun, and controversy, in this one though came during the final 1:12 of the game when down 20-17, the Chiefs scored an impressive touchdown off of a Travis Kelce lateral to Kadarius Toney to take the lead. But this play would be called back due to Toney being clearly offsides before the snap. This would result in an all-time emotional tirade by Mahomes and the Chiefs that is still probably going on. The best part is that they weren’t even really arguing that Toney wasn’t offsides, but rather that he was but the refs shouldn’t have called a penalty on it. I don’t get it.
All their outrage is ironic considering the kind of calls they have been getting for the last six years. Patrick Mahomes really is the next Tom Brady.
Injury concerns: No new injuries were reported, but RB Isiah Pacheco and LT Drue Tranquill were inactive.
Week 15 predictions
My season predictions now stand at 32-19 and my only wrong bet from last week was the Chiefs, but I’m not complaining about them losing.
This week I’ll be taking the Broncos over the Lions, the Chargers over the Raiders, and the Chiefs over the Patriots. Drop your predictions in the comments!