AFC West: 2013 Week 3 QB Watch

QB Watch: Chiefs' Alex Smith

September, 25, 2013
9/25/13
9:00
AM ET
A weekly analysis of the Kansas City Chiefs' quarterback play.

Smith
Rewind: Alex Smith had more completions (22) and yards (273) in last week's win over the Philadelphia Eagles than he did in either of the season's first two games. He was also sacked (five times) more than he had been all season and didn't throw a touchdown pass for the first time in three games. The Chiefs had been a perfect 5-for-5 scoring touchdowns while inside the opponent's 20-yard line but were just 1-for-6 against the Eagles in part because Smith wasn't as effective in the red zone.

Fast-forward: Opposing quarterbacks have had little trouble picking apart the secondary of the New York Giants, who have allowed more than 68 percent of the passes they've defended to be completed. Smith has been under consistent pressure in each of the past two games, but could have more time to throw against the Giants. Their normally strong pass rush has generated just three sacks this season.

A consistent Smith: Statistically, Smith has played three similar games this season. His passing attempts have been between 34 and 36 and his completions either 21 or 22. He had two touchdown passes in each of the first two games and none against Philadelphia, but he has yet to throw an interception despite attempting 105 passes.

Prediction: Look for another game in the Smith mold against the Giants. His completions again will be in the low-20s, his attempts in the mid-30s. Put him down for a couple of touchdown passes against a beleaguered defense, but Smith will also throw his first interception of the season.

QB Watch: Raiders' Terrelle Pryor

September, 25, 2013
9/25/13
9:00
AM ET
A weekly analysis of the Oakland Raiders' quarterback play.

Pryor
Rewind: With the Raiders falling behind early in Denver and the Broncos stuffing Oakland’s running game, Terrelle Pryor took it upon himself to get the Raiders’ offense kick-started. He did not disappoint. Sure, there were some uneven moments, and he still hangs the occasional receiver out to dry for an oncoming defensive back with bad intentions, but Pryor kept his team’s spirit in it, or as much as you can in an eventual 37-21 loss. And until he suffered a concussion running directly into a blitzing Wesley Woodyard in the fourth quarter, and was replaced for a series by Matt Flynn, Pryor built a career-best QB rating of 112.4 in throwing for 281 yards on 19-of-28 passing, including a 73-yard touchdown to Denarius Moore.

Fast-forward: Not only does Pryor have to go through the concussion protocol to be cleared to play Sunday -- on a short workweek -- he has to be cleared just to practice. Washington, though, has allowed opposing quarterbacks a league-worst passer rating of 120.1. Pryor has to be champing at the bit to keep flinging it after his relative passing success in Denver, no?

Where’s the pressure? A week after getting pressured 12 times in 31 drop-backs by Jacksonville, Pryor was blitzed just five times in 32 drop-backs by Denver, per Pro Football Focus. The thinking being that teams want Pryor in the pocket, rather than running wild. Pryor responded with his most accurate passing day as a pro.

Prediction: If Pryor is cleared medically, the challenge will be to keep him from trying to lock horns and go play for play with Washington’s zone-read specialist under center, Robert Griffin III, even if RG III has lost some shine this season. If it’s Flynn at quarterback for the Raiders, expect a more traditional, albeit, West Coast offense-style playbook.

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