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AFC West Week 9 Preview

Well, another week of NFL games are almost upon us and the only undefeated team still resides in the AFC West. The Kansas City Chiefs still have not lost a game. They are the biggest surprise in the NFL this year. This week they will be on the road to Buffalo to face the Bills. There could possibly be three playoff teams coming from this division. Each of the teams in the AFC West should be favored to win their prospective match ups.

Right now the standings are as follows:

1) Kansas City Chiefs 8-0     2) Denver Broncos 7-1     3) San Diego Chargers 4-3     4) Oakland Raiders 3-4

Let’s take a look at this week’s match ups in our AFC West Week 9 Preview. The Denver Broncos have the bye this week.

Kansas City Chiefs @ Buffalo Bills

The Chiefs are riding the classic formula of effectively running the ball, limiting turnovers and playing stingy defense this season. Alex Smith has continued his game managing ways by being efficient with the football. He has only thrown four interceptions this year. Jamal Charles is off to an MVP type of year. He has 635 yards rushing and six touchdowns. Charles also leads the Chiefs in receptions with 41 catches for 383 yards.

As Chris Berman from ESPN says; “Nobody circles the wagons like the Buffalo Bills.” They definitely have had to circle the wagons after going through all of the quarterback injuries.  Thaddeus Lewis is now the option and the Bills are coming off of a bad loss against the New Orleans Saints. C.J. Spiller and Stevie Johnson are yet to get going offensively. The Bills do have the front runner for Defensive Rookie of the Year in linebacker Kiko Alonzo. Mario Williams is also having a strong year with 11 sacks so far.

Sean+Smith+Kansas+City+Chiefs+v+Philadelphia+4VJG6WR8CG5lKey Matchup: Stevie Johnson vs Sean Smith Smith is one of the best press corners in the NFL. Johnson excels at getting off the line and into his routes against press coverage. This will be a matchup to watch closely.

The Verdict:  Chiefs 27 Bills 10

The Chiefs defense will simply be too much for the Bills. Tamba Ali and Justin Houston have combined for 20 sacks. That number will surely increase against the Bills. Their defense is only giving up 12.2 points per game which is tops in the NFL. They will keep the Bills offense from putting many points on the board this week. Spiller is nursing an ankle injury and if he plays, Derrick Johnson will be a factor in limiting his ability to break off long runs if he gets to the second level. Mike Devito and Dontari Poe will play a key role in controlling the line of scrimmage against the running game. Expect Eric Berry to get his hands on at least one of Lewis’ passes this week.

San Diego Chargers @ Washington Redskins

The Chargers are evolving into a complete offense now that Ryan Matthews is finally staying healthy and running the ball like a feature back. Matthews is coming off of back to back weeks of 100 yard rushing games. Phillip Rivers has had two steady games over the past couple of weeks. He is not forced to throw the ball 40 times like he has in the past. The ball is being spread around to numerous receivers and Keenan Allen has emerged as a viable receiving threat. The Chargers are fourth in the NFL in total yards per game. They’re gaining 402 yards per game.

The Redskins got off to a hot start against he Denver Broncos last week. At one point, it looked like they would leave with a big time road victory. Robert Griffin III looks to be getting back to his 2012 form. He has started to run the ball more which is a sign of that. Alfred Morris is averaging 5.2 yards per carry and is showing that last year was no fluke. Pierre Garcon is showing he can be a number on receiver for Griffin. The surprising part of the offense is rookie tight end Jordan Reed.

keenan_allen_1st_downKey Matchup: Keenan Allen vs Deangelo Hall Allen is an up and coming receiver. He is a big body player that can get vertical or be dangerous over the middle. Hall is having a good season this year. He is a physical corner that likes to talk a lot. It will be interesting seeing how Allen will respond to Hall’s trash talk during the game.

Garcon has publicly shared his frustration with the Redskins’ ability to pass the ball. It is no secret that the Redskins want to run the football. They are sixth in the league gaining 135 yards per game. The Chargers are giving up 105 yards rushing per game so look for the Redskins to try to get Morris going early. The Chargers will counter with an improved rushing attack of their own. Rivers will rely on his big targets, Antonio Gates and Keenan Allen to make big plays against the Redskins. Although the Chargers have given up a 15 points in the last two games, they are giving up 378.6 yards per game. The Redskins are even worse, giving up 397.1 yards per game. This one will be a shootout.

The Verdict: Chargers 31 Redskins 28

Philadelphia Eagles @ Oakland Raiders

The Raiders offense has struggled. Terrelle Pryor has given some highlights as shown by his 93 yard touchdown run last week. They are able to run the ball as shown by their average of 138.9 yards rushing per game which ranks fifth in the NFL. The problem is the passing offense. They are dead last in the NFL only gaining 176 yards per game. Defensively, the Raiders are trying to make things work with a roster that is not stacked with much talent.

The Eagles are one of the more exciting teams in the NFL with Chip Kelly’s fast break style of football. Defenses have slowed them down recently by holding them to a total of ten points over the last two games. Nick Foles will return to practice and be the starter. Two of the more explosive players Lesean McCoy and Desean Jackson are both enjoying solid years. McCoy is among the league leaders with 733 yards rushing. Jackson is also among the league leaders with his total of 673 receiving yards. The Eagles defense is giving up 401.8 yards per game which is ridiculous.

J+Hayden+Oakland+Raiders+v+Indianapolis+Colts+DyzpmueC9HTlKey Matchup: Desean Jackson vs D.J. Hayden Jackson is back as one of the most electrifying players in the NFL. He is averaging 15 yards per catch. Hayden was drafted because of his speed and ability to stick with receivers down the field. This is one of those games that he will really be tested. Hayden has struggled a bit with his tackling so look for Jackson to get the ball on some bubble screens and get a chance to turn it into a big play.

This game is the perfect matchup for both of these struggling teams. The Eagles defense is porous at best which could open up the door for Pryor and the Raiders to get back on track. The Raiders defense is average at best so this will be an opportunity for Foles to guide the offense to a successful return to their high scoring form. If there is one thing that the Raiders defense can do, it is stop the run. They are only giving up 89.9 yards per game while the Eagles have the second ranked rushing offense gaining 150.4 yards rushing per game. Something will have to give. Chip Kelly will look to get McCoy involved early both running and catching the ball out of the backfield. They may even take some deep shots to Desean Jackson.

The Verdict:  Eagles 21 Raiders 17

 

 

 

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