We are now through Week 2 in the National Football League and the Denver Broncos are not only unbeaten at 2-0, they are also sitting atop of the AFC West once again. It is only Week 2 but atop the AFC West is where the Denver Broncos belong! In my first “look around the AFC West” we went over the fact that Denver has dominated the division over the last handful of years due in large part to some guy named Peyton Manning. You may have seen him on television commercials; he is on one of them in basically every commercial break. Manning’s days on the field are gone but the game plan from a year ago is not.
Gary Kubiak knows how to win games in the National Football League; it may not be pretty at times, but he knows how to win games. Run the football to keep the defense honest, (well, as honest as a defense will be with a first year start playing the quarterback position), do not beat yourself and trust in the all-world defense John Elway has put together. That was the plan last season and that seems to be the plan once again for the Broncos.
Why wouldn’t it be? They have put a few more Band-Aids on the offensive line, C.J. Anderson has improved, Devontae Booker seems on track to be a nice complement to Anderson and the defense looks like they have not skipped a beat. The news of Donald Stephenson missing at least a week with a calf injury will hurt them, but injuries come and injuries go. I hate to say anything John Fox is known for saying, but it has to be next man up this weekend in Cincinnati. Von Miller made it his goal to be Defensive Player of the Year this season and is off to a great start.
Denver remains unbeaten but has a big test coming on Sunday against the Bengals. It’s the home opener in Cincinnati, who is coming off a disappointing loss to their rival in Pittsburgh.
As for the others in the division, the Chargers got their first win of the year with a 38-14 blowout over the Jaguars. Jack Del Rio showed off again, going for it on a fourth-and-goal that resulted in a touchdown, but the Raiders fell short 35-28 against the Falcons. The Chiefs could not put anything together on offense, which led to a 19-12 loss to the Texans.
The Chargers found themselves once again with a big lead at halftime this week. Mike McCoy must have shown the second half of their Week 1 game in the locker room because the Jaguars were just as awful in the second half as they were in the first. The Chargers won this one wire-to-wire and picked up that elusive first win of the year. Bad news Chargers fans, do those actually exist? Danny Woodhead will miss the rest of the season with a torn ACL, joining Keenan Allen who suffered the same injury last week in the loss to the Chiefs. Phillip Rivers is losing targets fast and without playmakers the Chargers could be in trouble.
The Chiefs, who beat the Chargers last week in overtime with a heck of a second half comeback, could do nothing on offense against the Texans. Andy Reid has forgotten more about football than I will ever know, but the Chiefs game plan on Sunday looked like a Pop Warner coach drew it up. The Chiefs are an interesting team – a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde type of team. If/when they get healthy they could be dangerous, but it’s the NFL and that is a big if.
Last but not least, the Oakland Raiders came up just short on Sunday against the Falcons. I almost felt bad for the Raiders, seeing as they lost by seven and the Falcons had a ridiculous touchdown catch off deflections. Then I remembered they were the Raiders, so screw them!
All kidding aside Broncos Country, the Raiders are your biggest threat. Even in a loss the Raiders showed a lot; the Falcons can score the football and may have the best wide receiver in football in Julio Jones and the Raiders were able to hang with them on Sunday. They are a young team and will have growing pains, but a talented team that believes in one another and is having fun can be very, very dangerous.
This is still the Broncos’ division to lose. A big test comes this week in Cincinnati, will the defense travel and can Trevor Siemian make a play when one needs to be made?