AFC West Week 5 Preview & Predictions

By Joanne Kong

Twitter: @kongfu4u  AFC West Week 4

OAKLAND RAIDERS (2-2)

Baltimore Ravens @ Oakland Raiders

In week 4, Derek Carr was taken out of the game against the Denver Broncos and is currently suffering from a transverse process fracture.  A close game throughout, the Raiders lost 10-16.

The Baltimore Ravens are on a downward spiral.  After winning their first two games of the season, they’ve lost on offense and defense against the Jacksonville Jaguars and the then the Pittsburgh Steelers, losing 9-26.

What can we expect in week 5?

  • Can the Oakland Raiders win without Derek Carr?

In 2016, Carr left late in the season with a broken fibula during a game against the Indianapolis Colts.  Without Carr, the Raiders lost to the Denver Broncos in the last regular season game, 4-12, and then lost in the Wild Card Playoffs to the Houston Texans, 5-12, ending their season.

There’s no sane reason Carr should start on Sunday against the Ravens, particularly since with the Ravens struggling in their last two games, a win is possible if the Raiders can get the ground game going.

With Carr out, E.J. Manuel is probable to start.

Manual, who hasn’t had a touchdown pass since October 25th, 2015 game against the Jacksonville Jaguars while with the Buffalo Bills, completed 11 of 17 passes for 106 passing yards and an interception against the Broncos.

According Football Outsiders, the Ravens are 2nd overall against the pass and 17th overall against the run game.  The Ravens defense has allowed 339 rushing yards and 3 touchdowns in the last two weeks, after allowing only 170 rushing yards and no touchdowns in week 1 and 2.

Oakland running back Marshawn Lynch has 45 attempts, 151 rushing yards and a touchdown for the season, while Jalen Richard has 15 attempts, 91 rushing yards and a touchdown for the season.  The Raiders run game had been mediocre at best and if they want to win at home, they will need to pound and grind against the Ravens.

  • The Defense will need to step-up.

For another season, the Raiders defense is among the worst in the league.  According to Football Outsiders, the Raiders are 27th overall, 28th against the pass and 16th against the run.  With Carr out, it is imperative that this defense hold the Ravens from scoring.

With the Raiders defense weakest against running back receptions (ranked 32), the Raiders will need to be careful about containing new Ravens starting running back Alex Collins.

With a questionable pass game and mediocre run game, there is little chance for a Raiders win.

The Baltimore Ravens win.

LOS ANGELES CHARGERS (0-4)

Los Angeles Chargers @ New York Giants (0-4)

Both the Los Angeles Chargers and the New York Giants are 0-4.  But after week 5, one of these teams will be 1-4, while the other will enter week 6 winless.  Who will take the win?

What can we expect in week 5?

  • Kicking Situation.

If you’ve been following the Chargers this season, you’ll know how close each game has been – 3 of their 4 losses has been by 3 points or less.

This week, the Chargers has made a roster move, waving kicker Younghoe Koo.

We’ve seen how field goals can win and lose games.  An example is this week’s Thursday night game, where Tampa Bay kicker was 0-3 field goals, costing Tampa Bay the game and losing 14-19.

  • History of the Match-up

  • Introducing the Giants new rookie Running Back.

There needs to be some improvement for the Giants.  According to Football Outsiders, they are ranked 22nd in offensive efficiency overall, 18th in the pass and 31st in the run.

In comes rookie running back, Wayne Gallman, who started in the position in week 4.  Gallman had 11 attempts for 42 rushing yards, 8 receiving yards and a receiving touchdown.  With Paul Perkins out this week due to injury, Gallman should get plenty of opportunity even with Orleans Darkwa returning.

The Los Angeles Chargers defense are currently ranked 16th overall, 20th against the pass and 18th against the run.  With the Chargers defense worst against tight ends (ranked 30th), Evan Engram, who was targeted 11 times in week 4 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, should be a hot target for Eli Manning, while Rhett Ellison should see more targets in week 5.

Expect Odell Beckham Jr to also have a good week against the Chargers.

  • The Chargers Offense.

On defense, the Giants are 28th overall, 25th against the pass and 31st against the run.  Defensively, the Giants have the most problems with WR2 (ranked 27th), tight ends (ranked 20th) and running back receptions (19th), respectively, while have the most success in defending against WR1 (raked 12th) and other WRs (ranked 12th).

That leaves Dontrelle Inman and Travis Benjamin with potential for success this week, and you can also add Melvin Gordon to that list.

Gordon, who’d been suffering from knee problems, practiced in full all week and is looking to contribute in a victory against the Giants.  Gordon has had 54 attempts, 168 rushing yards, 2 rushing touchdowns, 97 receiving yards and a receiving touchdown.

This is going to be a shootout game…but in the end…

The New York Giants win.

KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (4-0)

Kansas City Chiefs @ Houston Texans

See AFC South Week 5 Preview and Predictions.

DENVER BRONCOS (3-1)

BYE WEEK

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