So far this year, the AFC West is surprisingly looking like the most improved division in the NFL. The Denver Broncos have looked like the best team in the NFL through the first four weeks, the Kansas City Chiefs have used their defense to a surprising 4-0 start, and both the Chargers and Raiders look much improved compared to last season.
Week 5 presents some very interesting matchups for the division as they look to continue their impressive start:
Denver Broncos @ Dallas Cowboys (1:25 PM PT, CBS)
Peyton Manning has run roughshod through the NFL in the best four game stretch the league has ever seen. Spreading the ball around to Demaryius Thomas, Wes Welker, Eric Decker, and Julius Thomas, the Broncos offense has looked unstoppable so far. This week they head to Jerry’s World to play the Cowboys who are 2-0 at home so far this season.
The Cowboys, as usual, have been inconsistent so far this season. While the defense has created more turnovers this year, they are still prone to letdowns at times which can’t happen against the Broncos. Additionally, the Tampa 2 style defense the Cowboys are running, is very similar to the one the Colts ran for years when Manning was there, meaning Peyton has tons of experience against this style of defense.
The Broncos should be able to continue their role as the Cowboys defense doesn’t have enough to contain Manning and his weapons. Barring Dez Bryant and Jason Witten dominating and the Cowboys winning a shootout, there is no reason the Broncos shouldn’t leave Dallas with a W.
Kansas City Chiefs @ Tennessee Titans (10:00 AM PT, CBS)
The lower profile, but arguably higher intrigue game in the division, involves two surprising teams as the 4-0 Chiefs travel to Tennessee to take on the surprising 3-1 Titans. The Chiefs have been carried by a defense that has given up only 41 points through the first four games and now see a Titans team that will be without starting QB Jake Locker.
The Chiefs offense isn’t great, but it is extremely efficient and doesn’t turn the ball over. Jamaal Charles is an excellent RB and when Alex Smith decides to throw the ball downfield, Dwayne Bowe, Donnie Avery, and the explosive Dexter McCluster are capable of making big plays. But this team is all about defense as Eric Berry is establishing himself as one of the best safeties in the NFL, and Tamba Hali continues to terrorize QBs.
Much like the Chiefs, the Titans are led by their defense giving up only 17 points per game so far. The question will be how their offense will produce without Locker at the helm. He has improved dramatically this season and the Chiefs are not the defense you want to see without your QB. Expect the Chiefs to remind everyone how bad Ryan Fitzpatrick is in a close, but decisive win in Tennessee.