AFC West: audibles 3

Audibles: AFC West Week 3 preview

September, 19, 2008
9/19/08
4:00
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson

Kansas City Chiefs (0-2) at Atlanta Falcons (1-1), 1 p.m. ET

The speculation prior to the April draft was that Kansas City could try to move up with its gaggle of draft picks and take Boston College quarterback Matt Ryan.

The Chiefs sent large contingents to scout Ryan in the offseason and there was the famous photo of Chiefs coach Herman Edwards and Ryan hamming it up after a Ryan workout.
Yet, the Chiefs never tried to move up from their spot at No. 5 in the draft and Atlanta pulled the trigger on Ryan at No. 3.

Kansas City will try to break its 11-game losing streak -- it lost the last nine games of the 2007 season and the first two games this season -- against Ryan and the Falcons.

The Chiefs are still trying to find their way at quarterback with starter Brodie Croyle and backup Damon Huard both getting hurt this season. The Falcons will likely get a long look at Chiefs reserve quarterback Tyler Thigpen.

The Chiefs are happy with defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey, who was taken with the No. 5 pick. They will be even happier if he gives would-have-been Chief Ryan a hard time and helps ends the team's drought.


Oakland Raiders (1-1) at Buffalo Bills (2-0), 1 p.m. ET

If the Raiders are going to make the statement they were hoping to make in what turned out to be a disastrous season opener against Denver, they must beat the Bills the same way they beat the Chiefs.

Darren McFadden. It is no coincidence that Oakland's first win of the season came on the day the No. 4 overall draft pick went off. The former Arkansas star had 164 yards on 21 carries. He single-handedly destroyed the Chiefs.

McFadden has the ability to beat teams by himself.

If the Raiders are going to upset the Bills, it will be because of McFadden. Yes, he has been slowed some by a turf toe injury, but this is a special talent.

McFadden had nine carries against Denver and the Raiders were hammered. He had 21 carries at Kansas City and the Raiders won.

Get the picture?

New Orleans Saints (1-1) at Denver Broncos (2-0), 4:05 p.m. ET

There were concerns about the Denver Broncos' offense being able to show explosiveness this year because of the offensive line, particularly the tackles.

The concern in Denver was legitimate. The Broncos were entering the 2008 season with essentially two rookie tackles. Left tackle Ryan Clady, taking over for the retired Matt Lepsis, was the No. 12 overall pick in the April draft. At right tackle, Denver was inserting Ryan Harris, who was a third-round pick in 2007. Harris played one offensive play last season.

Teams usually don't win with two rookie tackles. Yet, the Broncos, who have scored 80 points in two games, are atop the AFC West at 2-0. Clady and Harris have been major reasons why.

Denver quarterback Jay Cutler is an early NFL MVP candidate, and a big reason why is he can order a pizza and get it delivered in the time he has to throw. Cutler has been sacked one time this season but that was because of his controversial fumble at the end of the San Diego game. Cutler has not been physically tackled for a loss this season. He wasn't sacked in five quarters during the preseason, either.

"We have to keep that up," Harris said. "Jay is a lot more valuable to us when he's standing up."

New York Jets (1-1) vs. San Diego Chargers (0-2), Monday, 8:30 p.m. ET

During the Brett Favre saga this summer (you remember that, right?), Philip Rivers was an interested observer like much of the United States.

Yet, the San Diego Chargers' quarterback, who rarely declines to comment on any subject, politely declined to speak about the Favre situation while it was still percolating.

"I want to see how it plays out," Rivers said. "Brett Favre has always been one of my favorite players and I really hope it works out for him. I really respect him."

Rivers will have a chance to tell Favre how he feels in person. Rivers and his reeling 0-2 Chargers must beat Favre and the Jets or their Super Bowl aspirations will take a serious hit.

Rivers, who is quietly developing into one of the finer quarterbacks in the NFL, may need some Favre-like magic to turn around his team's fortunes after two heartbreaking losses to start the season.

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