Friday, September 16, 2011
Final Word: AFC West
By Bill Williamson
Five nuggets of knowledge about Week 2:
1. Brady is no McNabb: I hope the San Diego Chargers enjoyed their defensive romp against the pass in Week 1, when Donovan McNabb completed only 7 passes for 39 yards. The party is over. San Diego’s pass defense needs to ramp it up against New England and Tom Brady. He threw for 517 yards at Miami in Week 1. The Chargers won't be able to simply pin back their ears and try to stop the run. This week, they must stop the pass first.
Philip Rivers passed for 335 yards and two touchdowns in Week 1 against Minnesota.
2. Attack New England’s DBs: The good news for San Diego, though, is that Philip Rivers is no Chad Henne. The Miami quarterback shredded the New England secondary, which has been in flux this season, for 416 yards on Monday night. That has to entice the Chargers. It all starts with the pass in San Diego’s offense. Seeing a lesser quarterback than Rivers succeed against New England will certainly give the Chargers confidence going into the game.
3. Stop Suh: Kansas City center Casey Wiegmann has the fourth-longest active starting streak in the NFL. He has started 160 straight games. This week is no time for him to take a break. Wiegmann, the anchor of the Chiefs’ offensive line, will be in charge of finding a way to stop Lions’ star defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh. In just his second year, Suh is considered one of the best all-around defensive players in the NFL. The Chiefs’ offensive line had its troubles against Buffalo last week in a 34-point loss. It will be up to Wiegmann to find a way to keep Suh from disrupting the Chiefs’ entire offensive scheme.
4. Oakland needs energy boost: We should find out early Sunday if the Oakland Raiders have a chance to start the season 2-0. It’s been a short, hard week for the Raiders. They played in a game at Denver on Monday night that ended after midnight and arrived home in the wee California hours. Then, they practice at 10 a.m. PT during the week to adjust to the East Coast start time on Sunday. The Raiders are flying cross-country Friday to get settled in Western New York. That is a lot of air travel in a short time for an NFL team. If the Raiders come out sluggish, in what should be an energetic home opener for the Bills after their big win against the Chiefs, we’ll know why.
5.Can the John Fox way get rolling against Bengals? The John Fox era didn’t begin in Denver the way he wanted. Fox wants to cram the ball down opponent’s throats, and he wants to stop the run on defense. Neither happened against Oakland. The Broncos had just 39 yards rushing and allowed 190 yards on the ground. It may not get easier in Week 2, either. Cincinnati did well running the ball and stopping the run in its win over the Browns. The Bengals ran for 139 yards, which was the ninth best in the NFL. On defense, the Bengals allowed 83 yards rushing, which was 14th best. Those are solid numbers. Somehow, Fox has to find a way to play his way, or he could be danger of going 0-2 in his first two games in Denver.