AFC West Week 4 Preview and Predictions

By Joanne Kong

Twitter: @kongfu4u 

Denver Broncos

Denver Broncos LogoTampa Bay Buccaneers

DENVER BRONCOS (3-0) @ TAMPA BAY BUCCUNNEERS (1-2)

We’re all thinking it.  What has Trevor Siemian been eating?  In week 3, Siemian completed 23-out-of-35 passing attempts, threw for 312 passing yards, 4 touchdowns and no interceptions against the Cincinnati Bengals.  And what is most surprising?  C.J. Anderson didn’t have a rushing touchdown.  Yeah, very un-Siemian-esk.  Mind-blowing.

The Broncos are on the road again, traveling to Tampa Bay, and the question that is on everybody’s mind is whether Siemian can repeat his performance in week 4?

The Bengals don’t have the best defense, but they don’t have the worst.  The same could be said about the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.  The Tampa Bay defense has allowed the 14th most yards to opposing teams this year including the 12th most passing yards and the 15th least rushing yards.  The Tampa Bay defense allowed Case Keenum and the L.A. Rams to score 37 points, and win in week 3.

Unfortunately for the Buccaneers, the Broncos defense is as solid as a defense can get in the NFL, shining when the offense lacks luster.  Buccaneers quarterback, Jameis Winston, is looking at a tough week at home facing the Broncos.  Winston needs to make smart decisions and avoid interceptions and sacks in week 4, as the Broncos defense is primarily responsible for keeping them in games.

Unlike week 3, the Broncos are favored to win week 4.

What can we expect in Week 4?

  • This is a C.J. Anderson week.  The Tampa Bay Buccaneers allowed the L.A. Rams to have 137 rushing yards and 2 rushing touchdowns.

The Broncos win, going 4-0.

Kansas City Chiefs

Kansas City ChiefsPittsburgh Steelers

KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (2-1) @ PITTSBURGH STEELERS (2-1)

The Kansas City Chiefs enter week 4 with momentum from their 24-3 victory over the New York Jets.  The Pittsburgh Steelers are on the other side of that coin, coming off a hard 3-34 defeat against the Philadelphia Eagles.

There are a couple of differences in week 4 for the Steelers:

  • The Steelers are playing at home.
  • Running back, Le’Veon Bell, will be back in the line-up Sunday Night against the Kansas City Chiefs.  Bell was suspended for the first 3 games for violating the league’s substance abuse policy.  Unfortunately for the Chiefs, a lot of Bell means a lot less interceptions by the Chiefs secondary.

The Chiefs have 6 Interceptions, 2 forced fumbles and 2 defensive touchdowns.  Unfortunately, the Chiefs had only 1 offensive touchdown in week 3.

Ben Roethlisberger

Ben Roethlisberger

The Chiefs might have learned some things from watching week 3’s tape of the Pittsburgh Steelers @ Philadelphia Eagles.  But, I’m certain the Steelers have also learned a thing or two and aren’t looking to repeat their week 3 performance.  There was little that went right and a lot that went wrong in week 3 for the Steelers.  Roethlisberger was sacked four times, threw an interception, suffered through dropped passes and was generally outplayed by Eagles’ rookie quarterback, Carson Wentz. And the blocked field goals didn’t help either.

In week 3, Philadelphia had a lot of success with short passes 10 yards and shorter, which isn’t wildly different from the Chiefs passing offense.  You can be certain that the Steelers will be ready, but until they prove they can stop it, I’d expect the Chiefs to attack short routes early and often.

What can we expect in Week 4?

  • The Chiefs have a defensive touchdown.

The Kansas City Chiefs win.

Oakland Raiders

Oakland RaidersBaltimore Ravens

OAKLAND RAIDERS (2-1) @ BALTIMORE RAVENS (3-0)

In 2015, the Baltimore Ravens ended the season with a 5-11 record.  So it’s surprising to see them start this season undefeated.  In addition to a healthy Steve Smith Sr. (WR) and Dennis Pitta (TE), the Ravens new addition of wide receiver Mike Wallace has opened up the passing game for the Ravens.  Wallace already has 166 receiving yards and 3 touchdowns this season.

Don’t get to worried Oakland Raiders fans.

In week 3, the Baltimore Ravens narrowly beat the Jacksonville Jaguars, 19-17. Quarterback, Joe Flacco, didn’t have a passing touchdown, was intercepted twice and sacked twice.  The Jaguars defense allowed only one rushing touchdown, by Flacco, while the Ravens defense allowed Jaguars quarterback, Blake Bortles, two passing touchdowns (to Allen Robinson) with 3 interceptions and 4 sacks.

Each win has been hard fought for the Ravens, within a single score.  In week 1, they won 13-7.  In week 2, they won 25-20.

Derek Carr - USA Today Photo

Derek Carr – USA Today Photo

As for the Oakland Raiders, their defense has given up the most yards this year in the league.  But their secondary was able to step-up when needed.  In week 3, cornerback David Amerson deflected 5 passes and Sean Smith got an interception.  If the Raiders want to win in week 4, the defense will need to stop the passing game.  While the Raiders defense ranks on the bottom, the Raiders offense is among the top teams with the most offensive yards so far this season.  Quarterback Derek Carr has 867 passing yards, 5 touchdowns, a single interception and 2 sacks, which is as much a testament to Carr’s ability as it is to his solid offensive line.

The Raiders offensive line will be tested this Sunday.  The Ravens totaled 9 sacks, 5 interceptions and caused 2 fumbles during the first 3 games.

What can we expect in Week 4?

The Oakland Raiders win.

San Diego Chargers

New Orleans Saintssan-diego-chargers

NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (0-3) @ SAN DIEGO CHARGERS (1-2)

The last place team of the NFC South will go head-to-head with the last place team in the AFC West.  Excited yet?

The New Orleans Saints have faced some bad beats this year.  In week 1, the Saints loss by 1 point to the Oakland Raiders.  In week 2, they lost to the New York Giants by 3 points.  In week 3, they simply underperformed and lost against one of the worst pass defenses in the league.

The San Diego Chargers only win was against the Jacksonville Jaguars at home, where they shut out the Jaguars until late in the fourth period.  Unfortunately, it’s uncertain whether the victory was due to the Chargers ability or the Jaguars ineptitude.

Are you excited now?

Neither teams are known for their defense.  The Saints defense is currently ranked last in the league against the run, and among the bottom ten against the pass.  The Chargers defense isn’t much better, they are the third worst defense in the league against the pass, allowing 332 yards per game.  Luckily for the Chargers defense, they are the sixth best defenders against the run, allowing only 81.7 yards per game.

Excited now?

Melvin Gordon - Getty Images

Melvin Gordon – Getty Images

The Chargers will have home field advantage in week 4.  Exploiting the Saints weak run defense will be the key to this game.  Running back Melvin Gordon will need to ground and pound the ball all the way to the endzone.  This season, Gordon has 194 rushing yards and 4 touchdowns.

Just as the Chargers will need to run the ball, the Saints will do what they do so well, throw the ball.  The Chargers will need to get off the line fast to make veteran quarterback Drew Brees make mistakes and help out the Chargers’ secondary.

With the probable return of wide receiver Willie Snead, the Chargers will face a difficult week 4 against the Saints.

What can we expect in Week 4?

  • Melvin Gordon has a rushing touchdown.
  • Philip Rivers has a rushing touchdown.

Unfortunately, the New Orleans Saints win.

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