AFC West 2017 Week 2 Preview & Predictions

By Joanne Kong

Twitter: @kongfu4u  AFC West Week 2

DENVER BRONCOS (1-0) 

Dallas Cowboys (1-0) @ Denver Broncos

What we learned about the Broncos on Monday Night:

Trevor Seimian found his groove as the Broncos starting quarterback with 219 passing yards, 2 touchdowns and an interception against the Chargers.

They might have gotten the win, but they didn’t deserve it.  One thing I respect, and detest, about the New England Patriots is they always play to win.  On Monday Night, the Broncos play calling in the fourth quarter was an atrocity.  Ahead 27 points, I can understand why they wanted to burn some time off the clock. What I can’t understand was why they decided to use Jamaal Charles to go up the middle, especially because Charles is coming off an injury and doesn’t have the size to be a power back.  What was worse, after the Chargers scored from the turnover, closing the gap to 14-24 with 10:37 left on the clock, the Broncos steadfastly continued to unsuccessfully run the ball to burn time.  The bottom line, the Broncos should have been aggressive, like the first three-quarters of the game.

Trevor Siemian – USA Today Sports Photo

The Broncos will now be hosting the Dallas Cowboys.  And with the Broncos barely squeaking a win in week 1 against the Chargers, they are looking at an uphill battle against the Cowboys.

What can we expect in week 2?

1)      The Broncos are 2-point underdogs.

2)      The Broncos and the Cowboys have only faced-off in 11 regular season games.

Their last meeting was in 2013 in Dallas, and a lot has changed for both these teams.  In 2013, Peyton Manning was the Broncos quarterback, the Cowboys had Tony Romo as their quarterback and DeMarco Murray was the Cowboys lead running back.  In 2017, Trevor Siemian leads the Broncos, Dak Prescott is the Dallas quarterback and Ezekiel Elliot is the Cowboys lead running back.

Here’s a comparison of both quarterbacks in week 1:

PASSING
COMP ATT YARDS CMP % TD INT QBR
Trevor Siemian 17 28 219 60.7% 2 1 82.1%
Dak Prescott 24 39 268 61.5% 1 0 69.6
RUSHING
ATT YARDS LONG TD
Trevor Siemian 6 19 8 1
Dak Prescott 3 24 17 0

Don’t let the stats fool you, Siemian should have been picked at least one more time in Week 1, and Prescott wasn’t asked to do much after taking an early lead on the Giants and in light of the Giants offensive ineffectiveness.

3)      The Broncos offense needs to be (and remain) aggressive.

In week 1, the Broncos started off strong with Trevor Siemian showing great improvement from the previous years.  I don’t think I was the only one watching the tap in week 1.  I expect the Broncos to stay aggressive agains the Cowboys and Siemian, in turn, to have another good game.

4)      Dallas Defense:

In week 1, the Cowboys defense allowed only 198 passing yards and 35 rushing yards against the Giants.  Of course, the Cowboys defense dominated the Giants offense perhaps in part due to OBJ’s absence.  Don’t expect the Dallas defense to fare as well against the Broncos run game.  C.J. Anderson has something to prove, having 81 rushing yards in week 1, and although I wasn’t a fan of Charles’ usage, he still has good burst to take advantage of the edges.

5)      Broncos Defense:

The Broncos defense allowed 185 passing yards and 64 rushing yards against the Chargers (most came in the fourth quarter).  If the Denver defense can manage to contain Ezekiel Elliot (RB), the Cowboys will more than like struggle in their pass game against the Denver secondary.  However, we did witness the Denver secondary crumble as the Chargers marched down the field in the fourth quarter to close the gap to only a field goal.  Week 2 will be a tougher game, and Denver won’t make the same mistakes (hopefully).

The Denver Broncos win.

OAKLAND RAIDERS (1-0)

New York Jets (0-1) @ Oakland Raiders

Coming off a win in week 1 against the AFC division rival Tennessee Titans, the Oakland Raiders will host the New York Jets in their home opener.

With a 14-point spread in favor of the Raiders, it’s doubtful that the Jets will leave Oakland with a win.

What can we expect in week 2:

1)      New York Jets Defense:

Perhaps that’s better phrased “New York Jets Defense?”  The Jets defense allowed 218 passing yards and 190 rushing yards, and it’s doubtful that they would have massively improved in a week.  Defensive end, Muhammad Wilkerson, didn’t contribute much in putting pressure on the Bills offense.  Leonard Williams, defensive end, was able to disrupt the offense front line, but it wasn’t enough to stop Bills quarterback, Tyrod Taylor.

If the Jets couldn’t stop the Bills, they have little chance against the Raiders top ranked offensive lines, so expect the Jets defense to struggle.

2)      Derek Carr is back.

Back from injury, Derek Carr proved he was 100% with 262 passing yards and two touchdowns in week 1.  Carr doesn’t suffer from a lack of receiving options with Amari Cooper, Michael Crabtree, and new comer Jared Cook.  Of course, Cooper only caught 5-out-of-13 targets, but did score a touchdown.  The Oakland offense is unlikely to take it easy on this Jets team.  Perhaps that’s best for the Jets, as mounting embarrassing losses might shake some sense into the front office so they’ll actually try to rebuild this team.

Derek Carr – USA Today Photo

3)      The Oakland Raiders Defense.

In week 1, the Raiders defense allowed 256 passing yards, no passing touchdowns, 95 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown by quarterback Marcus Mariota.  Josh McCown, the starting quarterback for the Jets in week 1, had 187 passing yards, 2 interceptions and 38 rushing yards.  The numbers aren’t surprising when you think about the Jets sub par offensive line.  Expect the Raiders defense to look like superstars on Sunday against the Jets-O.

The Oakland Raiders win.

Did you really think I would pick the New York Jets?

KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (1-0)

Philadelphia Eagles (1-0) @ Kansas City Chiefs

The Kansas City Chiefs are back to form after the unbelievable win against the New England Patriots.

An angry and disappointed Tom Brady says it all as the Patriots lost in their season opener at Foxborough.

The Philadelphia Eagles also returned home with a win against the Washington Redskins, 30-17.  The Eagles will hit the road once again to Kansas City to face the Chiefs in week 2.

Both teams are looking to maintain momentum from week 1, but only one team will emerge victorious.

What to expect in week 2?

1)      Tyreek Hill vs. the Eagles Secondary.

The speed that Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill showed in week 1 wasn’t a mirage.  He’s fast.  So fast that he outran the New England secondary every time.  In week two, the Eagles will be without cornerback, Ronald Darby.  The loss of Darby should create holes that the Kansas City Chiefs can and will exploit.  What it comes down to… with Hill, Travis Kelce (TE), Kareem Hunt and secondary receivers that are able to make plays like Albert Wilson and Chris Conley, the speed of the Chiefs offense will be mismatched for the Eagles secondary.

2)      Kareem Hunt.

After Spencer Ware went down during the preseason with a torn PCL injury, Kareem Hunt took center stage and now Spencer Ware could be out of a job.  With 148 rushing yards, a rushing touchdown, 98 receiving yards (with a 78-yard reception) and two receiving touchdowns, Hunt is a versatile weapon opponent’s should fear.  Don’t expect Hunt to have a week like week 1, but his presence will surely be felt.

3)      The loss of Eric Berry for the Kansas City Chiefs.

The Chiefs defense loss of Eric Berry (torn Achilles tendon), a key play maker and one of the best safety’s in the league, will undoubtable create a hole in the Chiefs’ defense.  In week 1, he did a great job covering Rob Gronkowski (TE), limiting him to 33 receiving yards.

Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time the Chiefs have lost Berry to injury.  The Chiefs signed Steven Terrell, former Seattle Seahawks safety, to take Berry’s place.  Terrell is no stranger to filling the role.  Last year, Terrell (who only played 35-games in 3-years with the Seahawks) filled in for Earl Thomas (of the Seahawks) when Thomas broke his leg.  Terrell will be paired with safety, Eric Murray.

In past seasons without Berry, the Chiefs have managed to to find a way.  The loss might create an opportunity for tight end, Zack Ertz, who had 98 receiving yards in week 1, but don’t get too excited Philly fans.  The Kansas City defense is still one of the best with or without Eric Berry.

Expect the Chiefs to have a defensive touchdown at their season home opener.

The Kansas City Chiefs win.

LOS ANGELES CHARGERS (0-1)

Miami Dolphins (0-0) @ Los Angeles Chargers

The Los Angeles Chargers left Denver with a loss on Monday Night’s game.  And may I say, they were robbed.

What we learned about the Chargers on Monday Night:

The Chargers need pressure to play well.  The Chargers defense had two turnovers (interception and fumble) in the fourth quarter.  Down 7-24, quarterback Philip Rivers threw for a touchdown after each turnover, which roughly took a total of two minutes, closing the gap to 21-24.  The Chargers defense was able to stop the Broncos, allowing the Chargers to move the ball downfield for a field goal to tie the game and bring it to overtime with five-seconds on the play clock.  What it comes down too…icing the kicker works.

Philip Rivers & Melvin Gordon – USA Today Today Sports Photo

This will be the Miami Dolphins first game of the season.  And with Jay Cutler behind center, this should be interesting.  Cutler isn’t a bad quarterback, but unfortunately, he’s not a good one either.  But with a new team, Cutler has all the pieces to reinvent himself.  But, will he?

What we can expect in week 2?

1)      Jay Cutler is out of retirement.

With only a month of practice, after coming out of retirement, and limited field time during the preseason, its uncertain what to expect from Cutler.  He’s known to have high’s, but mostly lows.

The Chargers defense had a turnover and interception in week 1 against the Broncos.  The Chargers are known to perform better under pressure, but bottom line…the defense has the ability to get pressure and shake up the offensive line.

2)      The Run Game.

Melvin Gordon (Chargers’ running back) was held to only 54 rushing yards against the Broncos.  In 2016, the Dolphins defense allowed the third most rushing yards in the league, 140.4 yards per game, caused seven rushing fumbles and twelve rushing touchdowns.  This might be a 100-yard rushing game for Melvin Gordon.

With Cutler still adjusting, Jay Ajayi (running back) will undoubtable play a big role in Sunday’s match-up.  In 2016, Ajayi had 1272 rushing yards and 8 touchdowns.  A third-year veteran, Ajayi is looking to surpass his previous season in rushing yards.

Ajayi was suffering from a knee problem, but practiced in full all week and says he’s good to go.

Whichever team successfully sustains the run game should have the advantage in this weeks match-up.

The Los Angeles Chargers win.

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