AFC West: 2013 Week 8 QB Watch

QB Watch: Chargers' Philip Rivers

October, 30, 2013
A weekly analysis of the San Diego Chargers' quarterback play:

Rewind: During the bye week, a point of emphasis for Philip Rivers and the rest of the offense has been improving the team’s execution in the red zone. The Chargers are tied for No. 22 in the NFL in red zone efficiency at 48.1 percent. Rivers said part of the team’s struggles has been achieving consistent and precise execution in the compact area of the red zone.

Fast-forward: The Chargers return to action on Nov. 3 at Washington, the team’s third trip to the East Coast this season. It will be Rivers’ first regular-season start at FedEx Field.

Streaking: Rivers has thrown a touchdown pass in all seven games this season and has not thrown a pick since his three-interception performance against Oakland -- that’s 56 straight pass attempts without an interception. Rivers' three 400-yard games in a season is second only to Dan Marino in 1984 (four).

Prediction: Rivers faces a Washington defense that’s giving up 274 passing yards a contest, tied for No. 27 in the NFL. The Chargers had two weeks to prepare for Washington defensive coordinator Jim Haslett’s multiple looks, so it’s reasonable to expect a good performance from Rivers -- 24-for-30 for 315 yards and two touchdowns.

QB Watch: Chiefs' Alex Smith

October, 30, 2013
A weekly analysis of the Chiefs’ quarterback play:

Rewind: Alex Smith had statistically his best game of the season, completing 24 of 36 passes for 225 yards and two touchdowns in Sunday's win over the Cleveland Browns. The touchdowns were the first for Smith in four games. Smith also did not throw an interception.

Fast-forward: Something eventful usually happens when an opposing quarterback attempts a pass against the Buffalo Bills. They lead the league in touchdown passes allowed with 20 but are second in the league with 12 interceptions. Smith’s games have tended to be uneventful in both regards. Smith has thrown just nine touchdowns and four interceptions. He is 26th in touchdown percentage among NFL quarterbacks and third in interception percentage.

Sack party: Smith was sacked six times by the Browns, five times in the second half. He has been sacked 24 times, and his protection can’t be blamed in every case. Smith is often guilty of holding on to the ball too long or not dumping it off when he has the chance. Smith’s sacks haven’t been devastating to the Chiefs because he hasn’t lost a fumble on a sack this season.

Prediction: Given Buffalo’s strong pass rush and Smith’s habit of taking the sack, things could get messy at times for him. But the Bills will make some big plays available to Smith, and he will take advantage. Look for another couple of touchdown passes from Smith.