By Dayna O’Gorman // @DaynaOG
While we know that the Kansas City Chiefs are exactly who we all thought they would be this year, it’s fair to say the rest of the division is a bit of a question mark. Many had the Chargers keeping pace with the Chiefs, which they still may, and the Raiders possibly competing too.
My fellow Our Turf writers and I have often commented that you don’t really know who a team is until week 4 through 6 on the season. For the AFC West, week 4 could bring a lot of clarity for fans, and give them an idea of who their team will be this year.
The Los Angeles Chargers (1-2) head down to Miami to take on the struggling Dolphins. Yes, we know what a mess the Dolphins have been this year, the challenge the Chargers will have is to not underestimate their opponent, or play down to their level. If the Chargers want to be considered at the same level as the Chiefs, they will not only have to win but win by a large margin. Watching the way other teams have handled the Dolphins, I don’t think this will be a challenge for the Chargers, but this would definitely be the boost the fans need right now.
I say all of this without even mentioning wide receiver Keenan Allen who is absolutely killing it this season. The man already has 404 yards in just 3 games. He, along with the return of running back Melvin Gordon who won’t be playing this week, and quarterback Philip Rivers, is the reason the rest AFC West has to keep its eye on the Chargers.
— NFL (@NFL) September 25, 2019
When the Indianapolis Colts former QB Andrew Luck announced his retirement just moments before the season began, most thought any game against the Colts would be much easier to win. That has not been the case in any way. With that said, the Oakland Raiders (1-2) have to face the Colts, and their upstart QB, in Indianapolis this week.
After the nightmare offseason the Raiders had, not many gave them much of a chance to have a winning season. While I feel like the Raiders are better than their record, their offense just doesn’t seem up to the task to keep up with the Colts. However, the Colts could be without superstar WR T.Y. Hilton, which, let’s be honest, could be a big help for Oakland. Raiders QB Derek Carr needs to have a great game in order to win this one. We know he can do it, but let’s see if he will. They will also have to slow down the Colts run game. But if they can pull it off, it will change the perception of the team immediately.
Let’s just say it. Patrick Mahomes is a rockstar. We all know it, we all accept it, and yes…we all love him. But let’s move on to the game at hand, the Kansas City Chiefs (3-0) vs the Detroit Lions. Now while some may say this should be a cakewalk for the Chiefs, I disagree. The Lions, who have beaten both the Chargers and the Philadelphia Eagles, are a team on the rise and have a lot to prove.
The Chiefs will have to do better against the run game in week 4, they rank 27th, as the Lions are a very balanced team offensively. However, the Lions defense is ranked 23rd in the league. That should be very encouraging to Chiefs fans as Mahomes already has 10 touchdowns and the KC offense is ranked 2nd overall.
So again, let’s just say it. The Chiefs should win this game. However, if the Lions can keep up, or even manage to win it, it could be a statement for Detroit to the rest of the league.
That brings us to the Denver Broncos (0-3), and linebacker Von Miller’s extremely short press conference. But honestly, what is there to say?
— Arnie Stapleton (@arniestapleton) September 26, 2019
The Broncos have struggled this season, and where they have struggled the most is exactly where the Jacksonville Jaguars have excelled…quarterback sacks. The Jaguars sacked Titans QB Marcus Mariota nine times last week. NINE TIMES (cue the Ferris Bueller memes). The Broncos allowed QB Joe Flacco to hit the dirt 6 times last week. The math doesn’t look good for Denver. In order for them to have a chance, the Broncos have to clean that up and quick.
The Broncos defense has also struggled this year. Von Miller’s short presser shows the frustration they must be feeling. The defense was supposed to be the center of the team this season and it hasn’t been that yet. With the Jaguars QB Gardner Minshew getting a lot of attention over the last few weeks, if Denver’s defense shows up and shows out, the questions about the defense would be quickly quieted.
Will we be ready to crown a winner or declare a loser of the division after this week? No, of course not. But as I mentioned at the beginning of the article, this is the week we could see what these teams are made of.
Follow Dayna on Twitter // @DaynaOG