AFC West Week 13 Preview and Predictions

By Joanne Kong

Twitter: @kongfu4u  AFC West

OAKLAND RAIDERS (9-2)

Buffalo_Bills_logoOakland Raiders

Buffalo Bills @ Oakland Raiders

For the Buffalo Bills it’s a must win situation for the remainder of the regular season if they want any hope for a spot in the postseason.  They are off to a good start, winning their last two games after a 3-game losing streak.  Of course, things don’t get easier in week 13, facing off against the Oakland Raiders at the Alameda Coliseum.

Unfortunately for the Bills, the Raiders have been on a tear this season.  With a slowly improving defense and a “get it done” offense, the Raiders are a hard to team to beat, leading the AFC West and winning their last five games.

What the Buffalo Bills hope to do?

  • Contain Khalil Mack

This will be easier said than done.  Defensive end, Khalil Mack has been the Raiders defensive superstar, leading the team with 9 sacks (8 of which have been in the last 6 games), an interception for a touchdown and 3 forced fumbles.  You can expect double coverage on Mack by the offensive line to give Bills quarterback, Tyrod Taylor, some extra time.

And if they do contain Mack, they’ll still need to account for safety, Reggie Nelson, who leads the Raiders in interceptions (3).

  • Stop the Raiders offense.

Sure…the Bills need to stop Raiders quarterback, Derek Carr, who’s thrown for 3,115 passing yards, 22 touchdowns, and only 5 interceptions taking just 12 sacks.  But the Bills also need to stop the prolific Raiders ground game.  The Raiders are 10th in offensive rushing yards, having 112.4 yards per game and 12 touchdowns.

Derek Carr

Derek Carr

The Bills are 8th defending the pass, allowing 227.7 yards per game, and 21st defending the run, allowing 114.2 yards per game.  So stepping up the run defense will be a priority.

  • Run the ball.

It’s no surprise, running back LeSean McCoy is the Bills biggest offensive play maker.  And if you’re the Bills, you take advantage of that.  Although the Raiders defense has slowly been improving, they are still among the worst in the league.  The Raiders are 28th defending the pass, allowing 273.5 yards per game and 26th defending the run, allowing 116.9 yards per game.  In week 12, they allowed the Carolina Panthers to score 32-points.

LeSean McCoy - USA Today Sports Photo

LeSean McCoy – USA Today Sports Photo

The Bills lead the league in rushing yards per game (157.4) and have totaled 20 rushing touchdowns this season.  The Raiders defense will need to contain Bills running back, LeSean McCoy, who has 819 rushing yards and 9 touchdowns, if they want to win on Sunday.

What can we expect in Week 13?

  • LeSean McCoy has a touchdown.
  • Micheal Crabtree has a touchdown.

The Oakland Raiders win.

KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (8-3)

Kansas City ChiefsAtlanta Falcons

Kansas City Chiefs @ Atlanta Falcons

The Kansas City Chiefs win over the division rival Denver Broncos nabbed them 2nd place in the AFC West, and a game behind the 1st place Raiders.  In week 13, the Chiefs travel to face the Atlanta Falcons.

Can the Kansas City Chiefs beat the Atlanta Falcons?

  • The Chiefs have won 6 of their last 7 games.

It goes without saying that some games were easier than others.  In week 12, the Chiefs managed to score 30 points on typically tough Denver defense, winning in overtime.  Whether credit goes to the Chiefs ability as a football team or a bad defensive game with some questionable decisions by the Super Bowl 50 Champion Denver Broncos, is anyone’s guess.  It’s football after all.

The 7-4 Atlanta Falcons, who are 1st in the NFC South, have much more explosive offense and, although nowhere near as solid as the Broncos, an improving defense.

The Falcons defense have totaled 24 sacks, 7 interceptions, 12 forced fumbles and 3 defensive touchdowns.

While the Chiefs have 24 sacks (6 sacks coming from week 12 against the Denver Broncos), 13 interceptions, 14 forced fumbles and 4 defensive touchdowns.

This is a must win game for both teams.  The Falcons are only 1 game ahead of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, while the Chiefs are trying to move to 1st place in their division.

  • Matt Ryan vs. Alex Smith

Matty-Ice has a reputation of sliding during the second half of the season…but it hasn’t happened this year.  Ryan has 3516 passing yards, 26 touchdowns and 6 interceptions, while being sacked a whopping 27 times.  The Falcons have a lot of weapons at their disposal, including wide receiver Julio Jones and Mohamed Sanu, waiver wonder Taylor Gabriel, and running backs, Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman.

AP Photo

AP Photo

The Chiefs have the 20th ranked pass defense, allowing 260.5 yards per game, meaning Matty-Ice should have a field day.

Chiefs quarterback, Alex Smith, has 2297 passing yards, 10 touchdowns and 4 interceptions, while being sacked 24 times.  The Chiefs are a little limited on offense with wide receiver Jeremy Maclin out again, but seem to make it work with tight end Travis Kelce and homerun hitter Tyreek Hill.

The good news is that Atlanta’s pass defense is the worst in the league this season, allowing 282.2 yards per game.

  • Julio Jones?

Jones currently leads the league in receiving yards (1140) but has only 5 touchdowns this season.  With the amount of weapons the Falcons have on offense Jones can’t be ignored, but he’s not the only offensive player that can score.

  • DeVontae Freeman vs. Spencer Ware

The ground game is important for both these teams, but unfortunately for the Chiefs, the Falcons have been more successful.

The Falcons Devonta Freeman has 729 yards and 5 touchdowns.  And the Falcons have a total of 12 rushing touchdowns this season.

The Chiefs have the 29th ranked run defense, allowing 121.4 yards per game.

The Chiefs running back, Spencer Ware, has neither increased or decreased in production this season with 705 yards and 2 touchdowns.  The Chiefs having a total of 7 rushing touchdowns.

Spencer Ware - USA Today Sports Photo

Spencer Ware – USA Today Sports Photo

Unfortunately, the Chiefs will probably have a difficult time on the ground against the Falcons, who have the 10th ranked run defense, allowing only 98.8 yards per game.

What can we expect in Week 13?

  • A defensive touchdown.
  • Julio Jones touchdown.
  • Travis Kelce touchdown.

The Atlanta Falcons win.

SAN DIEGO CHARGERS (5-6)

Tampa Bay Buccaneerssan-diego-chargers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ San Diego Chargers

The San Diego Chargers are a better team than the 5-6 record and current standing in the AFC West reflects.  They could be competitive in most any other division, but unfortunately, they are in the AFC West, which is turning out to be a beast to compete in this year.  So, it’s unlikely they will be heading into the postseason, but they have a lot to build on for the next season.

The 6-5 Tampa Bay Buccaneers have won games they shouldn’t this year, winning their last 3 games against the Chicago Bears, Kansas City Chiefs and Seattle Seahawks, respectively.

What does mean for the San Diego Chargers?

  • The San Diego Chargers need to contain the Tampa Bay receivers.

There have been some standout players on Tampa Bay.  And, I’m not referring to quarterback, Jameis Winston.  I’m talking about wide receiver, Mike Evans (1020 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns) and tight end, Cameron Brate (442 receiving yards and 5 touchdowns).

Mike Evans - USA Today Sports Photo

Mike Evans – USA Today Sports Photo

  • The San Diego Chargers need to contain the Tampa Bay quarterback.

The Tampa Bay quarterback, Jameis Winston, has completed 249 of 406 attempts (61.3%) with 22 touchdowns and 11 interceptions for an 89.7 QB rating this season thus far.  He’s also carried the ball 37 times for 110 yards with 1 rushing touchdown.  Winston has been at his best this season over the last three games, which the Bucs, not coincidentally, have also won.

Pressure on Winston will be essential for the Chargers defense, who’s had 20 sacks, 14 interceptions, 14 forced fumbles and 4 defensive touchdowns.  Unfortunately, the Chargers are 26th in defending the pass, allowing 271.3 yards per game, but 6th in defending the run, allowing only 89.9 rushing yards per game.

  • San Diego NEEDS to score and not turnover the ball.

Another obvious “REALLY!?” comment.

The Chargers have had a difficult time following through this season, losing leads and losing close games.  Philip Rivers has the 4th most interceptions this season (12) while being sacked 26 times.  On the plus side, Rivers has also had 3128 passing yards and 23 touchdowns.

Philip Rivers - AP Photo

Philip Rivers – AP Photo

  • San Diego NEEDS to take advantage of the run game.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are 22nd in defending the run, allowing 115.8 yards per game.  The Bucs have allowed 331 rushing yards and a touchdown in their last three games.

Chargers running back, Melvin Gordon, is having a breakout year with 908 rushing yards, 9 touchdowns, 365 receiving yards and 2 receiving touchdowns.

What can we expect in Week 13?

  • Melvin Gordon has a touchdown.
  • The Chargers defense has a touchdown.
  • Cameron Brate has a touchdown.

The San Diego Chargers win.

DENVER BRONCOS (7-4)

Denver Broncos LogoJacksonville Jaguars

Denver Broncos @ Jacksonville Jaguars

SEE AFC SOUTH WEEK 13 PREVIEW AND PREDICTIONS.

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