NFL Week 9 Predictions: AFC West Up for Grabs
As we hit mid-stride in the 2010 NFL season, every game becomes that much more important. As some teams find their character, others pray for their bye week.
In the AFC West, teams are showing a wide array of both productivity and head-scratching play.
Heading into Week 9, we will look at a much-needed rest, a must win in H-town and a battle of surprises.
Broncos Bye Week
Warren Little/Getty Images
After losing four consecutive games, the Denver Broncos are relieved to have a bye this week. For all intents and purposes, Denver did face Baltimore, the Jets, Oakland and a trip across the world to London.
Kyle Orton is impossible to judge—by that, I mean his winning capability, not his stats.
Orton has thrown for 1,100 yards, six TDs and only two picks during Denver's four-game skid. Injuries have been a problem for the Broncos, yet Orton is under fire, mostly due to the frustration linked with starting 2-6.
Speedsters Jabar Gaffney and Eddie Royal have been somewhat of a disappointment. I think head coach Josh McDaniels has something to do with that: The play calling is atrocious.
Denver will be in front of the TV set on Sunday at 1:15 Pacific Standard Time: Reason being, Kansas City will be coming to town in Week 10.
Chargers Travel to Houston to Play the Texans
Jeff Gross/Getty Images
The Bolts are coming off a huge morale-boosting win against the Tennessee Titans The game started shaky, but the Chargers are paper tigers in the best possible way: They sit atop the league in both defensive and offensive production categories.
If Antonio Gates can add a TD, with Ryan Mathews running north and south, the Chargers have a good shot at out-dueling the Houston Texans.
Regardless of the outcome in Indianapolis, the Texans will be hobbling home to take on the eager Chargers.
The question will be, who has the bigger limp?
WRs Malcom Floyd and Legedu Naanee are both still on the shelf for SD. If Patrick Crayton can be a factor, Philip Rivers can continue his overpowering play, using Gates as a crutch.
I see a close one in H-Town:
Andre Johnson and Matt Schaub rekindle the long ball flame. Texans by four.
The Grand Finale: 5-2 Kansas City Travels to Oakland to Face the 4-4 Raiders
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images
The Raiders and the Chiefs face off in a game that lays the foundation for the AFC West. Go figure.
Jamaal Charles is running like a man possessed: Run-DMC is running over his opponents with ease, literally.
Oakland's secondary is beat up. Nnamdi Asomugha has a dreaded high ankle sprain, Chris Johnson is on the fence between healthy and inactive and Jeremy Ware has yet to truly prove his worth.
Dwayne Bowe and Matt Cassel both know that Michael Huff will most likely lock up in man coverage. If Dexter McCluster were healthy, the Raiders would be in a lot of trouble trying to defend the crossing routes.
The Chiefs have looked impressive in most of their games, most notably in Indianapolis, holding Peyton Manning to his worst offensively productive game all season (244 yards, 0 TDs, one INT).
Oakland's defense has been playing smash-mouth football. Eight sacks against the Seahawks was the latest entry for a recently inspiring Oakland Raider squad.
Cassel will have to prove himself this Sunday: No better way to do that than with the No. 1 cornerback in the game on the sideline.
Oakland wins the turnover battle, and in a game of hard knocks, the more physical team will prevail.
Raiders by three.