AFC West Week 16 Preview and Predictions

By Joanne Kong

Twitter: @kongfu4u  AFC West Week 16


Indianapolis Colts @ Oakland Raiders

The Indianapolis Colts and the Oakland Raiders are both looking to win week 16, unfortunately, only one team can win.

In week 15, the Raiders went to Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego.  A stand full of Raiders fans made an away game feel like they were right at home at Alameda Stadium.  Raiders quarterback, Derek Carr, didn’t have to worry about the blistering cold weather he faced a week before.  And, after a narrow 19-16 victory against the Chargers, the Raiders find themselves on top of the AFC west and playoff bound.

Now for the bad news.  The Raiders have two more games in the regular season and Carr doesn’t look to be 100%.  After dislocating his finger, Carr is no longer taking snaps directly under center, instead, he’s taking snaps exclusively from the shotgun or pistol formation.  This change has caused some problems for this offense.  In week 14, the Raiders lost to the Kansas City Chiefs.  On Sunday, the Raiders squeaked out a narrow victory against the Chargers, which couldn’t have been done without the Raiders defense holding the Chargers to 16 points and holding the line when it mattered most.

As for the offense, the Raiders were just 1-for-7 in the redzone, while committing 2 turnovers – a Derek Carr interception and a fumble by Latavius Murray inside the 10-yard line.

In week 16, the Raiders will host the 7-7 Indianapolis Colts.

The Colts somehow put together one of their best game of the season, on offense and defense, against the Minnesota Vikings in hopes to remain in the run for the postseason.

Will the Oakland Raiders manage to hold onto the one-game lead to get a bye-week or will the Indianapolis Colts get a win for a second week in a row to keep their playoff hopes alive?

  • Can Derek Carr get back to MVP form?

Carr has thrown for 25 touchdowns and six interceptions with wide receivers Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper pacing the offense in offensive yards, 1038 and 866, respectively, and having a combined total of 12 touchdowns.

There’s no question that Carr’s dislocate pinky is causing some problems for the Oakland offense.  Regardless, the Raiders have a very balanced offense with Derek Carr (and one of the best offensive lines in the NFL) and Latavius Murray in the backfield, ranked 6th in passing yards per game and 6th in rushing yards.

The Oakland Raiders top two receivers are looking for a productive week against the Colts 27th ranked passing defense.

  • The Indianapolis Colts can score and keep the game close.

The Colts won against the Green Bay Packers at home in week 9, and the Pittsburgh Steelers in week 15.  Two games that experts said they couldn’t win.

The Raiders have the 30th ranked defense in the league.  Yes, Indianapolis Colts, you can score on the Raiders, it just might not be that easy with two outstanding pass rushers, Kahlil Mack and Bruce Irvin, who have combined for 18 sacks.

And more good news for the Colts (maybe), the Raiders have won 8 out of the 11 games by just one possession.

What can we expect in Week 16?

  • Michael Crabtree has a touchdown.
  • Tyrell Williams gets a touchdown.

The Oakland Raiders have already locked in the playoffs, now they are looking for a bye-week.  The Oakland Raiders win.


Denver Broncos @ Kansas City Chiefs

The Denver Broncos are still hoping for a chance at the playoffs, but a win in week 16 is a must.  Losing 3 out of their last 4 games (one of those losses to the Chiefs), the Broncos will most likely be eliminated if they lose on Saturday Night.  And, that looks highly possible.

  • Kansas City Chiefs home field advantage

It used to be said that no one could beat the Broncos on their home turf, now it seems that quite a few can.

On Saturday, the Broncos will be hosted by the Chiefs at Arrowhead.  Not good.

Not just because the Chiefs are 5-2 at home, but because the Broncos are in the post-Peyton Manning Era, and Broncos quarterback Trevor Siemian has been just slightly more productive than Houston quarterback (ex-Denver Broncos quarterback) Brock Osweiler, and that’s not saying much.

On offense, the Broncos have the 27th ranked rush offense, having 91.3 yards per game, and the 18th ranked passing offense, having 235 yards per game, with a total of 18 touchdowns, 9 interceptions and 40 sacks allowed on their quarterback.

Sure, the Chiefs aren’t that much better.  On offense, the Chiefs have the 23rd ranked rushing offense, having 100.5 yards per game, and the 22nd ranked passing offense, 231 yards per game, with 15 touchdowns, 6 interceptions and 31 sacks on Alex Smith.

It’s Saturday Night football, and these two powerhouse defenses will more than likely be making the plays that determine the game.

What can we expect in week 16?

  • 2 defensive touchdowns.

The Kansas City Chiefs win.


San Diego Chargers @ Cleveland Browns

Come on.  At this point, I think my two-year-old niece and her misfit gang of stuffed animals could beat the Cleveland Browns.

Philip Rivers has seemed to have regressed over the last five weeks throwing 11 total interceptions over that span.  But the Browns second worst pass defense will be a cathartic bounce back spot for Rivers and his new favorite target, Dontrelle Inman, who’s had touchdowns in 3 of his last four games.

Just in case anyone was wondering, both these two teams are out of the hunt, with zero chance at making the playoffs, and are not playing solely for pride.  The Browns want to win just 1, while the Chargers can’t allow a team that is 0-14 defeat them.

What can we expect in week 16?

  • The Cleveland Browns go to 0-15.

The San Diego Chargers win.