Around The AFC West

As you probably know, the Chargers sit a full game behind all 3 other teams in the AFC West after week 1. This will be a recurring feature on the site, breaking down the happenings around the division once a week, with a look at each teams previous game, and any injury news/transactions/players to watch that could impact the chargers. Let's take a look:


1. Their game:

The Chiefs played first, as part of the NFL kickoff game in New England. As you know by now, they pulled off a somewhat stunning upset as 8.5 point underdogs and knocked off the defending super bowl champion Patriots.

The Chiefs lost last year's breakout running back Spencer Ware for the season due to a preseason knee injury, thrusting rookie Kareem Hunt into the feature back role. Despite losing a fumble on his first NFL carry, Hunt clearly showed he was up to the task, shredding the Patriots to the tune of 148 yards on 17 carries (8.7 YPC), while adding 98 yards through the air on 5 catches. In a division full of dynamic running backs, Hunt will certainly be a budding star for the Chiefs and will be a headache for the Charges twice this season. We already saw the Chargers' linebackers struggle in coverage on Monday night, and they will surely struggle to cover a dynamic pass catching back like Hunt.

The Chiefs victory has people proclaiming them the early favorites in the AFC West, and while there's a lot to like about the chiefs, I certainly wouldn't go that far that fast. Andy Reid is a mastermind when it comes to pre-game scheming and game-planning. His in game skills when it comes to things like clock management are dubious at best and well documented, but few are better at preparing and scheming for an opponent. For example, Andy Reid coached teams are 16-2 all time coming off of a bye week, when he has an extra week to prepare. As such, it's fair to wonder whether the Chiefs' success on Thursday night had to do with Reid's ability to gameplan over an extended period of time leading up to the opener, and whether that success will carry over week to week with less time to prepare and more and more tape out there for opposing defenses to review on this years offense.

2. Injuries/News:

  • Eric Berry tore his achilles and will miss the rest of the season. Needless to say its a huge blow, as the Chiefs will be without their best defensive player. It'll make life easier for Ken Whisenhunt during the two matchups against the Chiefs this year.
  • The Chiefs signed safety Steven Terrell as depth after the injury to Berry. Terrell was in camp with Chiefs and was reportedly having a strong summer before being waived at final cuts. He's a 4th year UDFA out of Texas A&M who played in all 16 games for the Seahawks last year, recording 27 tackles.
  • The Chiefs re-signed running back C.J. Spiller for the 2nd time. The journeyman and former 9th overall pick has been shuffle on and off of the roster to avoid having his contract become guaranteed for the rest of the year.
  • Alex Smith was named AFC offensive player of the week after his explosion against the Patriots in which he passed for 368 yards and 4 touchdowns. Who would've guessed Alex Smith and Sam Bradford would be AFC and NFC offensive players of the week in week 1?


1. Their game: 

The Raiders went to Tennessee and got a road win against the Titans, beating them 26-16. The game was close for the first 3 quarters, but Oakland pulled away in the 4th. The Titans opened the game with an onside kick and failed to recover, which the Raiders quickly capitalized on with an Amari Cooper touchdown. Despite holding the Tennessee offense to just one touchdown, the defense still looked like nothing special and will still be gashed by more dynamic offenses this season. The game marked Marshawn Lynch's return to the field after a year away from football and overall he looked pretty good, running with his trademark take-on-all challengers style of running, regularly bulldozing defenders. With the way the Chargers struggled to stop the Broncos run game on Monday night, Lynch's physical style of running will be an interesting matchup to watch in the two games against Oakland this year.

2. Injuries/News:

  • The Raiders will be without their longest tenured player, kicker Sebastian Janikowski for a while after he was placed on injured reserve with a back injury. Janikowski won't require surgery, but will miss at least the first eight weeks of the season.
  • Raiders reporter Vic Tafur expects cornerback Gareon Conley to make his highly anticipated debut this Sunday against the Jets. Conley, the Raiders first round pick this year, missed almost all of summer and the opener with a shin injury.
  • Oakland is reportedly closing in on a two-year extension with left tackle Donald Penn. Penn was one of the best tackles in the NFL last year, anchoring an impressive offensive line. The deal will reportedly close sometime this week according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport.


1. Their game:

I won't go into too much detail about their game because they played the Chargers, and you can read my recap of that here. Obviously, they won, and became the 3rd AFC West team to start the year 1-0, leaving the Chargers alone in last place.

2. Injuries/News:

  • The Broncos will be without running back Devontae Booker for at least one more game as he was ruled out for week 2 by coach Vance Joseph. Booker broke his wrist in July after leading the Broncos in rushing yards in 2016.
  • The Broncos will honor defensive end Demarcus Ware with an on-field presentation after the first quarter of this week's game against the Cowboys. Ware, a long dominant pass-rusher, played the first 9 years of his career with the Cowboys but won Super Bowl 50 with the Broncos.
That's all for this week's AFC West roundup, be sure to check back later today for a film analysis of Monday night's game.


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