Week 7 is in the books for the AFC West. Here’s what to look for next week within the division.
San Diego Chargers – The Bolts return from their bye when they travel to Cleveland to take on the Browns. Cleveland fell to 1-5 on the season when they dropped a 17-13 decision to the Indianapolis Colts. The Browns offense is powered by a pair of 2012 first-round draft picks, 29-year old quarterback Brandon Wheedon and running back Trent Richardson, who is battling a rib injury. As a result, the electric Richardson was limited to a career low eight yards on eight carries. The Chargers entered Week 7 ranked second against the run, giving up 71.2 yards per game on the ground while Richardson has averaged 3.6 yards per carry along with four touchdowns. The battle between Richardson and the Chargers run defense will be a deciding factor in the game.
Denver Broncos – The Broncos host the New Orleans Saints in a primetime affair on Sunday Night Football. Denver also was on bye this past week while the Saints won their second game in a row, improving their record to 2-4 with a victory in Tampa Bay. The game figures to be a high-flying affair with two of the game’s best passers in Drew Brees and Peyton Manning. New Orleans entered the week ranked first in the league in passing, averaging 335.2 ypg. Brees added to that total with an outstanding performance vs. the Bucs, throwing for 377 yards and four touchdowns. The Broncos, however, possess a stellar pass defense that ranks ninth in the league, allowing only 215.3 ypg, while on offense Manning’s aerial attack ranks fifth in the league with 298.0 ypg. The Saints however have struggled defending the pass, ranking 30th in the league giving up 305.2 ypg.
Kansas City Chiefs vs. Oakland Raiders– The other two teams in the AFC West face off in Week 8 when Kansas City hosts Oakland. Like the Chargers and Broncos, the Chiefs spent Week 7 at home for their bye week while the Raiders had a thrilling come from behind 26-23 overtime victory against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Both teams have struggled this season, as Kansas City sits at 1-5 while the Raiders are just 2-4. The key matchup to watch in this game should be the Chiefs offense against the Raiders defense. Statistically speaking, Kansas City owns a distinct edge ranking ninth in the league in total offense, averaging 378.7 ypg. Oakland sits at 24th in the league in total defense, giving up 386.4 ypg. The Chiefs, however, have been their own worst enemy, ranking dead last with a minus-15 turnover differential. Still, the Raiders haven’t caused too many turnovers, only forcing seven on the entire season. Whoever wins the ball security battle has a good chance to come out on top.