There is a power struggle going on in the AFC West. Just looking at the standings, it would seem the Kansas City Chiefs have all the power. But that’s the problem with just looking at one statistic, it doesn’t give you a full picture.
Taking a look at Week 7 for the AFC West, there are chances for that power to shift. Maybe not fully, but slightly. Quietly. In a way that may affect the playoffs down the road. Let’s look at each of the games and how they could change the AFC West.
I’m not sure how it happened. Just like the rest of 2020, the first quarter of the season has flown by. It is hard to believe that we are already a quarter of the way through the 2020 season, and yet, it seems like it’s been forever since preseason was canceled.
While the NFL seemed to have a good handle on the COVID-19 protocols, and the season would go off without much of a hitch, this last week has proven that they aren’t completely out of the woods.
We have seen some fans in the stands, but most are still empty, which in turn has seemed to have spurred on a scoring frenzy in the games. The 2020 season so far has the highest average score of any season in history. No fans, no fan noise, no interference in offensive communications.
It was a successful first week for the AFC West. Three of the four teams came out winners. The Denver Broncos lost to the Tennessee Titans in the last seconds of the game. The Kansas City Chiefs opened the season with a Thursday night win. The Los Angeles Chargers squeaking out a win in a low scoring affair against the Cincinnati Bengals, and the Las Vegas Raiders get their first win for their new city.
While a couple of the games were close, they all showed new schemes. Looking at week 2, can we expect even more changes? Let’s take a look at each matchup, including a divisional game that could get interesting.
I have to admit, this is hard. I’ve been writing these previews for almost 10 years and without question, this is had some serious challenges. No preseason games, very little information coming out of camp, and limited media coverage has made 2020…difficult. BUT! Onward we go with my 2020 AFC West preview.
There is little question that the AFC West is a strong division. The Kansas City Chiefs won the Super Bowl, defeating a very talented San Francisco 49’ers team. The Denver Broncos added fantastic talent and look to hone the skills of their young quarterback. The Las Vegas Raiders made the move to their new city and added a challenger to their QB room, and the Las Vegas Chargers got a new home, cut the face of their franchise, and are looking forward.
When your division has the current Super Bowl champions in it, you know it is time to step it up. The teams not named Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC West are looking to do just that in the 2020 NFL Draft.
It looks like the main thought in the AFC West is if they can’t beat him, try to keep up. The “him” being the Chiefs offense. Going in heavy on offense proves that the Broncos, Chargers, and Raiders are showing it’s going to be all about scoring a lot of points in this division.
Let’s take a look at the new players headed to the AFC West.
Back at the beginning of the season, I wrote an article about the Oakland Raiders and whether or not head coach Jon Gruden could handle all the big personalities he had put on the team.
Fast forward to week 15, the drama that surrounded the Raiders wasn’t just about the players they have, the players they’ve lost, and the coach, but now we get to add the fans to the mix. 2019 has been a rollercoaster for Oakland and their fans, and the tension boiled over on Sunday.
This was not what the Raiders had in mind for their final season in Oakland. In the offseason, they amassed talent and depth in order to give the fans and franchise a top-notch, competitive season. As we all know too well, those plans started to crumble before the season even got started, but even until a few weeks ago there was still a chance to make the best of it.
There is a battle brewing in the AFC West. A battle that not anyone, except the most die-hard silver and black fan, would have predicted. The Kansas City Chiefs (7-4) are sitting at the top of the division, just like those who do preseason predictions thought they would be. Yet, sitting right behind them are the Oakland Raiders (6-4). With the Chiefs on a bye week, could the Raiders pull even this weekend, setting up a race for the finish line? Week 12 in the AFC West may set the pace for that race.
The Chiefs beat the Los Angeles Chargers on Monday Night Football in Mexico City, putting them at 3-0 in the division. Both teams now have a desperately needed bye week. The Denver Broncos (3-7) are heading up to Buffalo to play the Bills (7-3), which with the way the Bills have been playing, will be a difficult task for the struggling Broncos.
The Los Angeles Chargers (4-5) took a short trip up the coast to face the Oakland Raiders (4-4) for Thursday Night Football. While both teams will tell you that it is just another game, the loser of this match up faces a serious uphill climb to stay in the playoff race.
These teams know each other well. The divisional match up has brought Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers to more times than we care to count, but this is a different Raiders team. While the Chargers have struggled this year, this game was going to be a test for the normally dominant Chargers.