Funny how attention on one team seems to trump the news of the rest of the division. Many of us were paying so much attention to Peyton Manning and his progress with the Denver Broncos, we wind up surprised when other teams show they are not to be taken lightly. Such was the case in Oakland last Sunday. There was an emotional response to Darius Heyward-Bey being helped off the field late in that game. From that point on the Raiders played spirited football that hadn’t been seen in the first two weeks, when they couldn’t score more than 14 points. After an 0-2 start, the Raiders got off the canvas and an offense ranked 20th sprang to life and came from behind for a 34-31 victory after being behind 31-21 with 3:00 to go.
The San Diego Chargers fell from the ranks of the unbeaten with a 27-3 loss to the Atlanta Falcons. In a test against one of the NFC’s heavyweights, the Chargers showed they are still lacking when it comes to playmakers. In Antonio Gates, Ryan Matthews, Malcolm Floyd and company, they can get the yardage a given play is designed for but nothing more. Not a game-breaker in the bunch. Atlanta crowded Phillip Rivers and he had nowhere to go with the football as evidenced by his 21 of 38 for 173 yards and 2 interceptions. What this means is they are one of the best of the lesser teams. They can sit on the Oakland’s and Tennessee’s of the world but come up short against stronger teams. This week they travel to Kansas City where they haven’t won in 3 years. Can they do it?? The Chancellor sees a second loss coming.
Speaking of the Chiefs they are riding the momentum of their 27-24 win in New Orleans. A game where they finally started to look like the team most pundits expected out of the gate. Jamaal Charles ran for a season high 233 yards and displayed he hasn’t lost his game breaking ability with a 91 yard touchdown on the bayou. In those 2 prior meetings the Chiefs stayed with a commitment to the run with 26 rushes in 2010 and 34 in 2011. Now with Cassel and the passing game not totally in rhythm yet, Charles coming off 33 carries last week in the Superdome, and the Chargers allowing 5.7 yards per carry (14 car. 80 yds) for Michael Turner last week. We’re going to take a wild guess and say Kansas City runs the football this week. What do you think??
This week the entire division is squaring off against one another as the Raiders make the trek to Invesco Field. The Broncos will be without the services of MLB Joe Mays who will be serving a suspension. Not the right time when Darren McFadden just had his best game of the season. His 113 yards came on only 18 carries and had a showcase run for a 64 yard touchdown. Right now Denver is 13th against the run and Oakland is 26th against the pass. Last year, Oakland won in Denver when McFadden rushed for over 150 yards. Had the Raiders not played such an emotional game last week they would have a chance to hand the Broncos their third straight loss. The real issue is Manning is going to be able to hit his receivers and expect a huge day from Brandon Stokely. He’ll have a Wes Welker type of day and the Broncos should pull away in this one.
Then it will be time for the first quarter report cards with the season 1/4th over.
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