After two weeks, the AFC West is beginning to look the way many of us probably expected it to be. The Chargers feel like they’re this close to taking that next step but couldn’t get it done in back-to-back games against divisional opponents. They’re 1-1 as they head into the softest part of their schedule.
Each week, I’m going to write up a quick recap of the division and it’s teams to allow anyone who needs it to catch up in a pinch. Since I didn’t do one a week ago, I touch on each of the first two games below.
1.) Kansas City Chiefs (2-0, 1-0 AFC West)
Luck, magic, or whatever you want to call it, the Chiefs got the job done against the Chargers last Thursday night. They harassed Justin Herbert and took advantage of the Chargers’ injuries to their offensive line. When it mattered most, they made the play of the game when seventh-round rookie cornerback Jaylen Watson stepped in front of an exhausted Gerald Everett to pick off a pass he then returned for a 99-yard touchdown.
Their win in primetime over the Chargers only solidified how “for real” the Chiefs are after they demolished a dismal Cardinals team in week one.
They’ll head to Indianapolis in week three to face a battered Colts team that was just shut out by the Jaguars 24-0.
2.) Los Angeles Chargers (1-1, 1-1 AFC West)
The Chargers defense was the highlight of their week one victory over the Raiders. Khalil Mack was everywhere and he wasted little time in showing how much of an impact he’ll have as a pass rusher and as a run defender.
Starting 1-0 against a divisional opponent is always very ideal, but facing another one — and the top dog on the road, nonetheless — is always going to be a huge challenge. The Bolts came close, but progress is still needed before they finally break through.
Right now at 1-1 on the year, I’m pretty sure the majority of fans could care less about this week’s matchup with the Jaguars. They’re still waiting on the next update regarding Herbert’s rib injury while trying to cope with whether or not a win this week is worth potentially further injuring the face of their franchise.
Does Chase Daniel have it in him to lead this team over Jacksonville at home if given the shot? That may end up being the case if Brandon Staley decides to rest his quarterback for another week.
3.) Denver Broncos (1-1, 0-0 AFC West)
Russell Wilson’s debut in the orange and blue was spoiled by his former team in week one. That game ended with sequence in which first-year head coach Nathaniel Hackett decided to not call a time out in the waning seconds only to attempt a 64-yard field goal that was unsurprisingly unsuccessful.
In week two, the Broncos had to come from behind to beat a Texans team that’s still trying to find it’s legs on either side of the ball.
Denver will host the 49ers later this week on Sunday Night Football.
4.) Las Vegas Raiders (0-2, 0-1 AFC West)
For most of their game against the Cardinals, it looked like the Raiders were going to run away with it. So much so that fans in the entertainment/club section were prematurely popping bottles of champagne to celebrate. However, Kyler Murray had other plans.
The former first-overall pick score two touchdowns and two two-point conversions to lead his team back and tie the game at the end of regulation. In over time, Raiders wideout Hunter Renfrow fumbled the ball away and Cardinals cornerback Byron Murphy Jr. was able to pick it up in stride en route to the end zone for the walk-off win.
If there was ever a team I wanted to be in last place, I’m glad it’s Las Vegas. Gotta love that karma snapping back hard after they spoiled the Chargers’ playoff hopes a season ago.
The Raiders will be on the road this Sunday to face the Titans, another team struggling out of the gate with a 0-2 record.