How the AFC West looked after the first week of preseason

 

Dayna O’Gorman
Senior NFL Reporter
AFC West NFC West

 

By Dayna O’Gorman // @DaynaOG

We all understand that preseason games are rarely an indicator for a season’s success or failure. For half of the AFC West, they really hope that statement holds true. While Kansas City looked as dominant as many expected, no one expected the Raiders to roll over the Rams.

Of course, most teams were without their starters, and it was obvious that coaches were holding back as they should, but let’s not let that stop us from going over a few talking points about those first games.

Arizona Cardinals 17 – LA Chargers 13
This game wasn’t what you would call a barnburner, but it did shed some light on a few things for the Chargers. Firstly, back-up quarterback Tyrod Taylor looked like the seasoned vet he is. If anything should happen to QB Philip Rivers this season, the team should be very comfortable with Taylor coming in.

While fans are still worried about running back Melvin Gordon’s holdout, RBs Austin Ekeler and Justin Jackson looked good in this game. While they are still a ways away from being the superstar that Gordon is, if the holdout should linger past the preseason, the Chargers won’t be completely inept at the position.

Four penalties on one play. Yep, its preseason.

Seattle Seahawks 22 – Denver Broncos 14
Let’s all admit that it’s weird to see QB Joe Flacco in a Broncos uniform. However, the Broncos are looking to him to lead the team this season. While he only played 1 series, and it wasn’t perfect, but again… just preseason. QB Drew Lock looked better than he had in the Pro Football Hall of Fame game last week, which is exactly what you want from a rookie…improvement week to week. He was 17 of 28 for 180 yards and a touchdown.

Unfortunately, the Broncos had a pair of pretty significant injuries happen during this game. Fullback Andy Janovich left the game with a pectoral injury and will miss 6-8 weeks. Tight end Austin Fort tore his ACL while making a 29-yard catch and will miss the rest of the season.

While there was a lot of talk after this game about Seahawks back-up QB Paxton Lynch getting some sort of revenge on his old team, from the Broncos side of the game it was all about how their offense is starting to come together.

KC Chiefs 38 – Cincinnati Bengals 17
If I were a fan of a team playing against the Chiefs this season, I’d be worried. After such an impressive season in 2018, the Chiefs have really focused on their biggest need (defense) and it seems to be working.

Now, before we go crowning them kings of the AFC West, we have to remember that the Bengals did not look good in this game. They have a LONG way to go before the season begins. However, the KC defense got 3 sacks, 2 interceptions, including a 67-yard interception from defensive back Herb Miller, and 4 tackles for loss. These weren’t the starters, but the backups. Exactly what fans were wanting to see early in the preseason.

This offense is ready to go. It’s as hot as it ever was and has no signs of slowing down. If the defense can improve even 50%? Lookout.

Oakland Raiders 14 – LA Rams 3
So I’m not sure if you’ve heard, but there has been some drama surrounding a certain Raiders wide receiver this week, so it’s no surprise that the other receivers decided to take the opportunity and showcase their talents.

The Raiders had 13 different receivers catch a ball in their first preseason game, but it was WRs J.J. Nelson and Keon Hatcher that really shined. This makes it less nerve-racking (although just as annoying) if WR Antonio Brown decides to not play for a while.

Back up QBs Mike Glennon and Nathan Peterman both played, yet it was Peterman that was more impressive in this game. Glennon played the majority of the game, throwing 2 interceptions, and was 17 of 25 for 200 yards. Peterman came in, was 9 of 12 for 66 yards and a touchdown, but then had this nice little 56-yard run. I think there is a new leader in the back-up QB competition.

While coaches, fans, and the media will continue to evaluate the AFC West teams each week of the preseason, this first week was a nice glimpse into what could be. Again, its preseason so I wouldn’t make any large bets from it, but I think we can already start to see the strengths these teams can build around.

Follow Dayna on Twitter // @DaynaOG

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