AFC West 2017 Week 3 Preview & Predictions

By Joanne Kong

Twitter: @kongfu4u  AFC West Week 2

KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (2-0) & LOS ANGELES CHARGERS (0-2)

Kansas City Chiefs @ Los Angeles Chargers

Unfortunately for the Los Angeles Chargers, the Miami Dolphins, led by former Chicago Bears quarterback, Jay Cutler, showed up to play.  And worse, for a second week in a row, the Chargers lost by a field goal.  The Chargers rookie kicker, YoungHoe Koo, missed a field goal in week 1 against the Denver Broncos to tie the game and in week 2, he missed a field goal to win the game.  Of course, if he made the field goal in the second quarter, maybe the final field goal in the fourth wouldn’t have been necessary.  But, that’s a discussion for another time…assuming he remains on the team.

Koo has made only 1-out-of-4 field goals since starting his NFL career.  I can understand pressure, but his job is to literally making field goals.

Younghoe Koo

The Kansas City Chiefs sit on the other side of the spectrum.  With a spectacular win against the New England Patriots in week 1, the Chiefs hosted the Philadelphia Eagles and won 27-20 in week 2.

In week 3, these two AFC West division rivals face each other in what is looking to be one of the strongest divisions in the league.

What can we expect in week 3?

  • A Tight Game.

If you’re thinking the Chargers are a roll-over team, you should think again.

Although the Chargers are 0-2, they’ve lost each game by three points or less.  That’s saying a lot when you consider in week 1, the Chargers played the Denver Broncos.

The Chiefs on the other hand have securely found their place in playoff speculation all the way to the Super Bowl, but two weeks of football is a far ways away from the end of the season and, as we know, anything can happen.

For the past two weeks, both teams have put on a show, keeping the game relatively close.  Week 3 shouldn’t be any different.

The key to this game will come down to the run game.

The Chief’s greatest asset, thus far, has been rookie running back, Kareem Hunt.  In two games, Hunt has had 229 rushing yards, 3 rushing touchdowns, 126 receiving yards and 2 receiving touchdowns.  If the Chargers can limit the Chiefs run game, while offensively getting Melvin Gordon back on track, a victory could be theirs.

  • The Los Angeles Chargers

Philip Rivers is good enough to give the Kansas City defense a battle on Sunday.  Rivers combined for 523 passing yards, has a 73.6 completion percentage, 4 touchdowns and an interception.  Sunday’s game will be played on Los Angeles ground.  Rivers is certainly spitting fire over the 0-2 record and is seeking some redemption against division rivals.

With Keenan Allen having a combined 135 receiving yards, Hunter Henry having 80 receiving yards, Melvin Gordon having 90 total receiving yards (but only a combined 67 rushing yards) and Tyrell Williams with a combined 108 receiving yards, Rivers doesn’t lack targets down field.

  • The Kansas City Defense.

Although the loss of Eric Berry was felt in week 2 against the Eagles, the Chiefs were able to keep calm and continue on.  The Chiefs had 6 sacks and an interception against Philadelphia quarterback, Carson Wentz.  Don’t be surprised if Rivers feels the same heat.  In the secondary, corner back Marcus Peters will more than likely box out Rivers favorite target downfield, Keenan Allen.

  • The History.

With a 115 regular season meetings, the record is almost even with the Chiefs winning over the Chargers, 58-54.  Since Rivers has been quarterback for the Chargers in 2004, the two teams have met 26-times and the Chiefs have won 11 of the games.  Since Alex Smith came over to the Chiefs in 2013, the two teams have met 8-times and the chiefs have won the last 6 meeting.

There’s a good chance that the Chargers will pull out a win.  They’re playing angry, but, in the end…

The Kansas City Chiefs win.

DENVER BRONCOS (2-0)

Denver Broncos @ Buffalo Bills (1-1)

The Denver Broncos had a well-deserved win against the Dallas Cowboys, keeping their foot on the gas throughout the game (unlike week 1).  Denver quarterback, Trevor Siemian, had a spectacular game, tying his career record, scoring four touchdowns in a single game.

The key to this match-up was the Broncos defense, stopping the Cowboys run game.  They held the Cowboys running back, Ezekiel Elliot, to only 8 rush yards.  Not only did the defense hold Elliot, but Broncos running back, C.J.  Anderson, did just the opposite with an incredible 118 rushing yards, a rushing touchdown, 36 receiving yards and a receiving touchdown.

In week 3, the Broncos travel to Buffalo to face the Bills.  If the Bills aren’t worried about going 1-3, they should be.

What can expect in week 3?

  • On the road.

Week 3 will be the first road game for Siemian and the Broncos this season.  Last year, the Broncos were 4 of 8 for away games.

With the momentum of the first two weeks driving them forward, it would be difficult to stop this team from trampling the Bills.

  • What run game?

The success of the Carolina Panthers against the Bills in week 2 was stopping running back, LeSean McCoy, holding him to just 9 rush yards and 34 receiving yards.  If it sounds familiar, it should since it’s the same tactic the Broncos used against the Cowboys.  Don’t be surprised if the Broncos do the same with the Bills.  With the ground game gone, the Bills will need to rely on quarterback, Tyrod Taylor, and the pass game.  In week 2, Taylor had just 125 passing yards, no touchdowns and 55 rushing yards.

There’s a problem when your week 2 top rusher is your quarterback.

Expect tight coverage on wide receiver Jordan Matthews, since the Broncos ranked 3rd in the NFL pursuant to DVOA at defending WR1s, hindering the pass game as well.  If the Bills want to be successful, they’ll have to get TE Charles Clay involved, as the Broncos only rank 16th against opposing TEs.

  • The Buffalo Bills defense.

Don’t count out the Bills just yet.  In week 2, the Bills held the Panthers to only 3-field goals.  Of course, Cam Newton was coming off injury and wasn’t 100%.  This season, the Bills defense has allowed 177 passing yards and 57.5 rushing yards per game.  In week 2 against the Panthers, the Bills defense sacked Newton 6 times for a loss of 50 yards and held Jonathan Stewart to only 40 rush yards.

The Bills will put up a fight, but when the dust clears…

The Denver Broncos win.

OAKLAND RAIDERS (2-0)

Oakland Raiders @ Washington Redskins (1-1)

Was there any question that the Oakland Raiders would win against the New York Jets?  It was just a question of by how much.  The only real excitement in the game was the Jets scored 20 points and Jermaine Kearse looked to hit his stride with 64 receiving yards and 2 touchdowns.

In week 3, the Oakland Raiders are traveling to the East Coast, facing off against the Washington Redskins.

The Redskins are coming off a tough match up against the Los Angeles Rams, and unlike last season, the Rams are looking to be contenders.

What can we expect in week 3?

  • The Oakland Raiders Offense.

There’s not much to criticize about this Raiders offense.  Derek Carr is healthy.  Micheal Crabtree looks awesome with a combined 163 receiving yards and 3 touchdowns, Amari cooper has 95 receiving yards and Jared Cook has 81 receiving yards.  The Raiders have also found their back field with new addition, Marshawn Lynch.  Lynch had 12 carries against the Jets for 45 rushing yards and a touchdown.  Jalen Richard was also effective with 109 total yards and a touchdown.  In week 2, the Raiders had a combined 27 run plays totaling 180 rushing yards and 3 touchdowns.

A good offense is a good offense, and with one of the best offensive front lines in the league, the Washington defense will have their work cut out for them on Sunday.

Washington is 26th in the league in defending the pass, allowing 266.5 yards per game, but 9th in defending against the run, allowing just 77.5 per game.  I don’t see Carr slowing down this week.

  • The Washington Redskins.

In week 3, the offense may miss one of their most dynamic players, tight end Jordan Reed.  Reed suffering from a chest/sternum injury and had limited practice on Thursday, but doesn’t look promising for Sunday’s game.

In week 2, the run game was the key to Washington’s win.  Washington had 39 run plays, ran for 229 rushing yards and had 2 rushing touchdowns by Chris Thompson.

For week 3, running back Rob Kelly did practice in full Thursday and is likely to play on Sunday against the Raiders, but there’s no telling how long he’ll remain in the game if the injury is aggravated.  The run game will be important for Washington, and if Kelly is out, Washington will need to rely on Chris Thompson and Samaje Perine.

The Raiders are 11th in defending the pass, allowing just 200 yards per game, but 19th in defending the run, allowing 110.5 yards per game.  If this Washington offense has any hope on Sunday, they will need to take advantage of the back field.

It will be a hard-fought game.  Washington won’t want to lose at home, but in the end…

The Oakland Raiders win.

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