Originally posted on Football Nation  |  Last updated 9/28/12

Week four in the AFC West will feature two exciting divisional matchups as the division leading San Diego Chargers will play at the Kansas City Chiefs, and the Oakland Raiders will travel to play the Denver Broncos. This article examines two things to look for in each game along with my predictions.

San Diego Chargers @ Kansas City Chiefs
Last Meeting: SD 20 @ KC 23 (OT)

San Diego Needs To Be More Aggressive on Defense

In their week three matchup with the Atlanta Falcons, the San Diego Chargers did nothing to help their offense win the game. San Diego’s defense gave up 27 points, 25 first downs, 265 passing yards on 30 completions, 119 rushing yards, and three passing touchdowns and a rushing touchdown all inside the red zone.

The Kansas City Chiefs on the other hand, were able to score 19 offensive points in the latter half and in overtime of their game against a New Orleans Saints’ defense that seemingly gave up. If San Diego is not careful Kansas City could do a similar thing in week four.

Another reason that San Diego needs to be aggressive on defense this week, is because Kansas City quarterback Matt Cassel is playing poorly this season. So far this season Cassel has thrown four interceptions, lost three fumbles,  has been sacked 11 times losing 57 yards, and has a completion percentage of 58.8.

If San Diego’s can force turnovers, and are aggressive against Kansas City it could be the edge they need to win the game.

Kansas City Needs to Do Something Different on Offense

Despite coming back late in the third quarter and the fourth quarter and eventually beating the New Orleans’ Saints, Kansas City’s offense leaves something to be desired.

In the game against the Saints, Cassel passed for 248 yards, but threw an interception and no touchdowns. In the running game despite the fact that Jamaal Charles ran the ball 33 times for 233 yards, he only managed to score one touchdown.

The fact of the matter is that the offense has only scored six touchdowns, while the kicker Ryan Succop has made eight field goals. Kansas City did enough to get by New Orleans, but Kansas City is not going to be able to consistently win games if they are not scoring touchdowns.

Oakland Raiders @ Denver Broncos
Last Meeting: DEN 38 @ OAK 24

The Denver Broncos’ problem this season is the fact that the defense is giving up lots of points in the first three quarters of games, and by the time Denver’s offense hits its stride in the second half, the point differential is too great to overcome.

In their first three games of the season, Denver has given up 71 points in the first three quarters with the offense only scoring 32 points in that same time frame. The fourth quarter has been better for Denver scoring 45 points while only allowing six points, but it has proven to be little too late.  

Denver’s offense needs to find ways to score sooner, while the defense has to be more aggressive to keep the Broncos in the game.  

Oakland Will Try to Carry Over Momentum

The Oakland Raiders finally found a spark, and were finally able to their eighth rank in passing yards to score points. Oakland was finally able to score multiple touchdowns in game for the first time this season, scoring on a 64-yard run by Darren McFadden, a three-yard touchdown pass to Darrius Heyward-Bey, a one-yard touchdown pass to Richard Gordon, and a six-yard pass to Denarius Moore.

While Oakland played well throughout the game it was in the fourth quarter that Oakland really shined. The Raiders were down 31-21 to start the fourth quarter, but in the fourth quarter Oakland’s defense recovered a Pittsburgh fumble and forced a Pittsburgh punt, while the offense scored a touchdown and two field goals, winning 34-31.

If Oakland is able to carry over the momentum of scoring touchdowns, along with the momentum that propelled them into the fourth quarter to beat Pittsburgh, the Raiders can beat the Broncos.

Predictions

Both the Kansas City Chiefs and the Oakland Raiders are coming off big wins against big name teams, and I expect the momentum to carry over into week four.

San Diego will fall to Kansas City 31-24.

Oakland beats Denver 30-27.



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