While it wasn’t the best of weeks for the Denver Broncos, it certainly could be a lot worse. They could be the Los Angeles Chargers right now. As a Denver fan, it feels great knowing that two of their divisional opponents are going through coaching turmoil this year and that the Broncos finally have a real head coach.
Let’s take a look at the state of things following Week 15.
AFC West Standings
|Kansas City Chiefs
|Las Vegas Raiders
|Los Angeles Chargers
Los Angeles Chargers @ Las Vegas Raiders
Final score: 21-63
Recap: This game was over from the start and the Chargers should have listened to Richard Sherman and fired Brandon Staley at halftime. We might have to start giving Justin Herbert a lot more credit if he has been able to make up for the massive shortcomings of this team. The first three drives of the Chargers resulted in a punt and then consecutive fumbles, while the Las Vegas Raiders scored touchdowns on all three of theirs.
It wouldn’t be until the second half that the Raiders’ scoring finally slowed down. And unfortunately, they ended up being unable to match or surpass the 70 points that Miami put up on the Broncos. I’ll still make the case that this loss was worse though.
Staley will be remembered for his incredible commitment to being average and never being able to get over the hump that good coaches can. And choking. He’ll always be remembered for choking.
What will you remember most about the Brandon Staley era? pic.twitter.com/GZSnG3gSWg— Football Insights (@fball_insights) December 15, 2023
Injury concerns: Chargers - CB Essang Bassey suffered a concussion and OG/C Will Clapp suffered a knee injury.
Raiders - LB Divine Deablo suffered an ankle injury.
Denver Broncos @ Detroit Lions
Final score: 17-42
Recap: It’s safe to say that things did not work out in the best way for the Broncos and their playoff hopes this week. They were unable to get the job done in Detroit and looked pretty bad, and they received no help as almost all AFC contenders won this week.
The game started slow for both teams, but the offensive errors for the Broncos compounded quickly, and after three straight punts, the Lions would go on to score touchdowns on five straight drives. The Broncos had a chance to change the tide early and prevent all of this, but their second drive ended in a strip sack down at the Detroit 20-yard line.
Denver did manage to put points on the board in the second half and looked pretty impressive offensively, but the Lions’ lead was too much by that point. If they managed to play as well as they did in the second half they would have had a real chance. So, at least there is a positive to this game if you want one.
Injury concerns: No new injuries were reported.
Kansas City Chiefs @ New England Patriots
Final score: 27-17
Recap: It seemed for a moment like the Patriots might actually pull off the miracle win that Bronco fans were rooting for. They even held a lead in the second quarter. But, the expected ended up happening and the Kansas City Chiefs left Foxborough with another win.
Kansas City was able to put up a pair of touchdowns in the first half. Mixed into those successes was a missed field goal, a punt, and an interception. This wouldn't be the only interception that Mahomes would throw in this game, but it was the only one that was his fault. He would technically throw one later in the game, but it was due to a pass that bounced right off the bricks-for-hands that Kadarius Toney has.
The second half of the action was mostly a sloppy affair that featured three turnovers and seven punts. Don’t let the final score fool you. This game should not have been that close.
Injury concerns: WR Sky Moore left the game with a knee injury.
Week 16 matchup: Las Vegas Raiders @ Kansas City Chiefs
Week 16 predictions
I only correctly guessed the Chiefs winning this week, so that brings my season prediction record down to just 33-22. I hope your guesses have been better than mine.
This week I’m taking the Broncos over the Patriots, the Chiefs over the Raiders, and the Bills over the Chargers. Drop your predictions in the comments!