A quarter of the season is officially in the books. I am pleased to announce that I am undefeated thus far with my predictions from back in August. Read the article on BoltBlitz.com for verification. If I am in fact the second coming of Nostradamus, then the Chargers will be sitting at the break with a 7-2 record. This piece is not a narcissistic ploy to gain accolades. Rather an opinionated report card on the AFC West during the early stages of the 2014 season.
1 – San Diego Chargers. Grade A –
Our beloved Bolts have won 3 games in a row in dominating fashion. Included in this 3 game streak was the victory over the defending Super Bowl Champions. Philip Rivers is heading up the MVP talks with his play thus far. Rivers is ranked 2nd in the AFC in passing yards (1,155), 2nd in passing touchdowns (9), and is ranked first in the entire NFL with a passer rating of 114.5. Overall, the offense ranks 2nd in the AFC in passing yards per game and 3rd in points scored.
The much-anticipated three-headed monster, BMW, has been hampered by injuries and non-existing running lanes. The Chargers rank 15th in the AFC in rushing offense and it’s the one true eyesore for this team. On the defensive side of the ball, John Pagano has his boys playing at an optimal level; comparing it to years past. As it stands, our Bolts’ defense ranks 7th in the AFC in passing yards per game, 4th in rushing yards, and tied for 5th in sacks. Yet another significant stat, is that Pagano’s defense is only allowing 15.8 points per game, which equates to 3rd in the AFC and 5th in the NFL. With the Jets, Raiders and Chiefs up next, the Chargers should be in the driver’s seat heading to the main event on Thursday Night in Denver.
2 – Denver Broncos: Grade B
The reigning AFC champions are off to a 2-1 start and coming off their early bye week. Denver made headlines with their offseason signings. In the AFC, Denver ranks 4th in passing yards per game, 13th in rushing yards per game and 12th in scoring. Even with a winning record, the Broncos have not put teams away like they did during their Super Bowl run last year. The defense, which made tremendous upgrades during the offseason, ranks 15th in the AFC in passing yards per game, 6th in rushing yards, and 8th in sacks. The defense is allowing 22.3 points per game which if they did not have the offense that they do, their records could easily be 0-3. Clearly this team is made up of all-stars. But they are not playing as a team. Denver faces a grueling stretch with opponents like Arizona, Jets and San Francisco before hosting San Diego.
3 – Kansas City Chiefs: Grade B-
After beginning the season 0-2, the Chiefs, to some reporters and analysts, were prematurely written off as a playoff team. Since the losses to Tennessee and Denver, KC has won two in a row. The last victory was a thrashing of the New England Patriots. Is this a resurgence, a fluke or are the Patriots not as good as they have been in the past? Currently, the Chiefs rank 13th in the AFC in passing yards per game, 2nd in rushing yards and tied with San Diego for 3rd in scoring. The offensive line has done well helping Jamaal Charles and second-year Knile Davis become a potent 1-2 punch in the backfield. With that being said, they have allowed 13 sacks to Alex Smith; polar opposite of the San Diego line who has only allowed 5 sacks. KC plays at San Francisco this upcoming week, then they have their bye week before flying west to San Diego.
4 – Oakland Raiders: Grade F
Poor, pitiful and downright laughable are terms used to describe the Oakland Raiders. They are ranked dead last in the AFC in almost every offensive category except passing yards per game (12th) – above Kansas City, Tennessee, New England and Buffalo. Darren McFadden was once a highly-touted running back. Now he seems to be a shell of his former self. The head coach was recently fired. It appears that upper management is what is making this franchise dreadful. As far as their defense is concerned, Oakland is ranked 15th in the AFC in passing yards per game, 14th in points allowed and 16th in rushing yards per game. In looking at their upcoming games, I can easily see the Raiders being 0-16. Perhaps this is what the organization wants. The Cleveland Indians in the movie Major League had a horrid owner who actually wanted the team to lose in order for the league to allow them to move. Quite frankly, Mark Davis and Rachel Phelps are similar in appearance and are also the progeny of the previous owner. Is this a tactical gambit by Mark Davis to move the team or at least “earn” the right to have the #1 overall draft pick? Who knows.
There is a buzz in the air in San Diego. Talks of the Chargers are on everyone’s lips and people want a taste. This could be the year. This could be the team. This could be a Super Bowl-bound team. The goal from the front office of San Diego is to be Super Bowl Champions. Our beloved Bolts have what it takes and as long as they continue to play together as a goal-driven and supportive union, 2014 could be the annihilation of the Super Bowl monkey resting on their backs.
Thanks for reading!