Audibles: AFC West Week 2 preview

September, 12, 2008
9/12/08
4:00
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson

Oakland Raiders (0-1) vs. Kansas City Chiefs (0-1), 1 p.m., ET

Lane Kiffin talked this week about his job security as head coach of the Oakland Raiders.

He said he has none. Kiffin said history has shown that Oakland owner Al Davis has a short leash on coaches. Kiffin was absolutely right. There is no job security in Oakland. And if Kiffin loses Sunday in Kansas City, there could be another coach realizing that fact soon.

The Raiders need to win this game. It is set up for them. Not only are the Chiefs young and still trying to find their way, but they are also playing without their starting quarterback. Brodie Croyle will be shelved for a few weeks with a separated shoulder. Former starter Damon Huard will start.

If the Raiders are beat handily by Kansas City, there will be trouble in Oakland.

A lot was expected in Oakland this season. Starting 0-2 against AFC West rivals Denver and Kansas City wasn't part of the plan. If Kansas City, which nearly won on the road at New England despite its youth, soundly defeats the Raiders Sunday, that famous lack of job security in Oakland could become an issue.

San Diego Chargers (0-1) vs. Denver Broncos (1-0), 4:15 p.m. ET

The Chargers have owned the Broncos the past two years because their offense has dominated. In the past four games against Denver, San Diego has scored 147 points. They won by margins of 38, 28, 20 and 8 points.

The San Diego offense better roll again Sunday in Denver when the Chargers must win to even their record at 1-1 and tie Denver for the early lead in the AFC West. The game is going to be all about the San Diego defense. It must stop Denver's offense, which had some San Diego-like explosiveness Monday night in a 41-14 thrashing of Oakland.

The Chargers lost on the final play of the game against visiting Carolina on Sunday when Panthers quarterback Jake Delhomme hit tight end Dante Rosario from 14 yards out in the back of the end zone with no time left.

It was the San Diego defense that ultimately let the team down. Carolina moved the ball at will despite not having its best player, Steve Smith. The Chargers will have to rebound without Shawne Merriman. The linebacker will miss the rest of season due to reconstructive knee surgery.

The Chargers defense has to respond to the challenge. Defensive tackle Jamal Williams, who is still working his way back from an injury, has to return to being the stalwart against the run, and the Chargers, who may have to play without standout cornerback Antonio Cromartie (hip), have to defend against the pass better pass in critical situations.

The Broncos are gunning for the Chargers this week. And San Diego will need more than a high-powered offense to stop them.

Bill Williamson | email

ESPN Oakland Raiders reporter

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