There are a handful of great games this weekend with one of those games being the Denver Broncos playing on the road against the Baltimore Ravens. Along with the few good games are several games not worth watching and the AFC West will feature two of these as the San Diego Chargers will take on the Carolina Panthers and the Kansas City Chiefs match-up with the Oakland Raiders. This article will preview each of the three games in the AFC West in week 15.
Denver @ Baltimore
This match-up is going to be by far the best game played in the AFC West this weekend and the whole NFL, as the current third seed Denver Broncos take on the current fourth seed Baltimore Ravens. A win by Denver would all but cement a top three seed in the playoffs while a win by Baltimore could open the door for the Ravens and the Indianapolis Colts to move up into the top three of the playoff seedings.
Denver is currently riding an eight game winning streak and their strength on offense is clearly the passing game led by quarterback Peyton Manning. Manning has thrown at least one touchdown pass in every game this season and has 30 total touchdowns on the season, and has the sixth most passing yards this season with 3,812.
Helping Manning rack up all those passing yards and touchdowns are his two top receivers Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker who on the season have combined for 1,987 yards and 16 touchdown receptions.
Denver is also boasting a strong defense that is only allowing an average of 93.7 rushing yards per game while only allowing an average of 215.7 passing yards per game. Their defense is led by Wesley Woodward who 100 total tackles, four sacks, three interceptions, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.
Woodward sprained his ankle against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in week 13 which caused him to miss Denver's week 14 game against Oakland. Woodward is listed as probable for this Sunday's game and vows to be on the field to help take on the Ravens.
Baltimore has been battling several injuries on the defensive side of the ball this season and the overall success of their defense has suffered. The Ravens are currently ranked 25th in total rushing yards allowed with 1,685 and are 23rd in total passing yards allowed with 3,202. Additionally, Baltimore is ranked 23rd in number of interceptions this season and 30th in fumbles forced this season.
The offense is playing a little bit better than the defense as the team is ranked 16th in the league in average passing yards per game, and 17th in the league in average rushing yards per game.
However, for the most part the offense cannot put up the points to help the team put away opponents early on in the game. In their past four games and in four other games this season Baltimore has won or lost the game by fewer than three points. In week 13 Baltimore lost to Pittsburgh 23-20 and in week 14 they lost Washington 31-28 in overtime.
Therefore while Baltimore currently has a record of 9-4 they will not finish the season well and will see an early exit from the playoffs.
Denver's offense will overpower Baltimore's weakened defense and win their ninth game in a row winning by a score of 36-24.
Carolina @ San Diego
Despite having poor overall record, both the Carolina Panthers and San Diego Chargers won their week 14 game as the Panthers knocked off the Atlanta Falcons and the Chargers held off the Pittsburgh Steelers.
An interesting match-up in this game will be Carolina's Cam Newton going up against San Diego's stellar run defense. Newton is currently Carolina's leading rusher with 640 yards and seven touchdowns. Additionally, Newton rushed for 116 yards and a touchdown last week against Atlanta.
San Diego has had several games this season where they have held opponents to under 100 rushing yards in a game, and are currently ranked fourth in average rushing yards allowed per game with 92.5.
On the flip side it will be interesting to see how Carolina's good passing defense defends breakout star receiver Danario Alexander who in six games this season has two 100-yard plus receiving games and has a total of 555 receiving yards and five touchdowns.
This should be an interesting game to watch to see which team's superstars show up to play and give their team the winning edge.
Carolina edges out San Diego in this one 21-18.
Kansas City @ Oakland
This will definitely be one of the lowest attended and lowest watched games in the NFL in week 15. Both team's seasons have been over for a while and the two teams have a combined record of 5-21. Both teams lost in week 14 as Kansas City was easily defeated by the Cleveland Browns and Oakland was soundly defeated by the Denver Broncos.
One interesting match-up to watch for in this game is Oakland's passing game against Kansas City's pass defense.
Oakland's quarterback Carson Palmer currently has 3,805 passing yards and 22 touchdowns this season and Oakland is currently ranked seventh in average passing yards per game with 277.7.
However, Kansas City has only given up 2,837 passing yards this season and are currently ranked ninth in average passing yards allowed per game with 218.2.
On the flip side Oakland's defense has been awful this season which could pose a problem in defending against Kansas City's Jamaal Charles who has 1,220 rushing yards on the season, with 586 rushing yards and two touchdowns coming in the last five weeks.
In a surprising "upset" the Chiefs even up number of wins with Raiders winning 26-13.