AFC West: Week 7 Recap
And then there was one.
The Kansas City Chiefs remain the only undefeated team in the NFL after a weekend that saw the side scrape past the Houston Texans while the Super Bowl favorite Denver Broncos came unglued against an Indianapolis Colts side staking its own claim for a postseason run.
BettingSports.com brings you a recap of all of Week 7’s AFC West action, starting with Peyton Manning’s return to his former stamping ground.
Denver Broncos 33, Indianapolis Colts 39
After a week of hyperbole and over-analysis, Denver’s trip to Indianapolis could easily have turned into a nonevent, but the football gods had other ideas.
Receiving a respectable welcome from the crowd, Manning returned to the field at Lucas Oil Stadium and led his Broncos side to the first touchdown of the game. The Colts came back with a field goal and touchdown but Manning connected with Julius Thomas early in the second quarter for a 14-10 lead. So far so good for a side that has had no problem scoring this season.
From there the scriptwriters adopted a twisting storyline. Manning struggled to find receivers for much of the game and was hounded by a Colts defense with the bit between its teeth. Running back Knowshon Moreno struggled to make yards on the ground, and the Broncos running game was stifled.
Meanwhile, Indianapolis quarterback Andrew Luck was garnering more than a few comparisons to the man he replaced, leading the Colts to a 36-17 lead early in the fourth quarter thanks to a trio of touchdown passes.
Never one to call it quits, Manning brought the Broncos back in the game, hitting DeMaryius Thomas for a 31-yard touchdown strike before driving the Broncos downfield for Moreno’s only touchdown of the game. With the score reading 36-30, veteran kicker Adam Vinatieri added three points for the Colts leaving the Broncos in need of two scores.
The Broncos replied with Matt Prater’s second field goal of the game with 0:12 left on the clock but a failed onside kick saw that it was an unhappy homecoming for Manning.
Vegas Impact: For the third straight week and fourth time in five games, the Broncos (3-4-0 ATS) failed to cover the spread, moving into negative equity against the spread this season. Indianapolis (4-3-0 ATS) covered the spread for the fourth time in five weeks. As it has done in every Broncos game this season, the total went over.
Up Next: Denver (6-1, 4-0 home) now returns to the Mile High City in preparation for a showdown with the Washington Redskins (2-4, 1-2 road) on Sunday (4:25 p.m. ET). The Broncos will be a healthy favorite in this rematch of Super Bowl XXII but the Redskins have won two of the last three meetings between the sides.
Opening Odds – Favorite: Denver Spread: 13 Over/Under: 53.5 (matchup)
Houston Texans 16, Kansas City 17
Ahead of Denver’s appearance on Sunday Night Football, the Kansas City Chiefs set about becoming the first – and only, as it would turn out – team to move to 7-0 on the season.
The Chiefs welcomed a Houston Texans team reeling after a poor start to the year and the loss of quarterback Matt Schaub. Case Keenum deputized for the hobbled Schaub (ankle), and put in quite the performance. The rookie out of the University of Houston completed 15 of 25 passes for 271 yards and a touchdown. He fumbled twice, one of which was recovered by the Chiefs.
But it was Kansas City’s stingy defense that once again took a stranglehold on the game. The unit limited Houston to 73 rushing yards on 24 attempts, effectively shutting down Ben Tate and Arian Foster. A pivotal third quarter stand on the goal line proved vital to the Chiefs’ success.
Meanwhile, Kansas City quarterback Alex Smith threw for 240 yards and scored a rushing touchdown, while running back Jamaal Charles also crossed the goal line en route to 86 yards rushing. Ryan Succop’s 22-yard field goal in the third quarter put the Chiefs up 17-13, and from there the defense took over.
The Chiefs moved to 7-0 for the first time since 2003, which is good news for the club. According to the Kansas City Star, every team that has ever begun the season with seven straight wins has moved on to the postseason, with nine (of 30) lifting the Lombardi Trophy.
Vegas Impact: The Chiefs (5-2-0 ATS) failed to cover the spread for just the second time this season. The only other time the team failed to cover was a 17-16 home win over the Dallas Cowboys in Week 2. Houston (1-6-0 ATS) meanwhile covered for the first time this season. The total went under, a common trend in Chiefs (1-6-0) games this season.
Up Next: Kansas City (7-0, 4-0 home) will play for at home for a third straight game on Sunday (1:00 p.m. ET), hosting the Cleveland Browns (3-4, 1-2 road). The Browns have won three of the last four meetings between the sides, including the last time the two met at Arrowhead Stadium (Dec. 2009).
Opening Odds – Favorite: Kansas City Spread: 7 Over/Under: 40 (matchup)
San Diego Chargers 24, Jacksonville Jaguars 6
The Chargers jumped out to an early 14-0 lead as running back Danny Woodhead scored from two yards out and quarterback Phillip Rivers connected with Eddie Royal for a 27-yard touchdown. The Jaguars could only muster up a Josh Scobee field goal before halftime.
A quiet third quarter saw the teams trade field goals before San Diego put the game out of reach on Ryan Mathews’ 3-yard run early in the fourth. The Chargers, who avoided any letup after a short week of practice, emerged victorious over a Jaguars side that has gone 0-4 against the AFC West this season and appeared to be looking ahead to this week’s trip to London for the NFL International Series.
Vegas Impact: San Diego (5-1-1 ATS) remains one of the NFL’s very best against the spread, having covered in five of seven games this season. Having covered against Denver last week, Jacksonville (1-6-0 ATS) returned to losing ways against the spread. The total went under for the third straight Chargers game.
Up Next: San Diego (4-3) will rest up this week, enjoying a bye before traveling to D.C. to take on the Redskins in Week 9.
Oakland Takes Bye Week
After a 24-7 loss to Kansas City in Week 6, the Oakland Raiders were idle this weekend as the team took its designated bye week. Despite the team not taking to the field, much was written of the Raiders this week, particularly in relation to the offensive line and whether the extra rest will improve a unit that has been banged up and struggled all season.
It was also reported that quarterback Terrelle Pryor, who has so far impressed in the starter’s role after beating out Matt Flynn for the job, met with quarterback guru Tom House in Oakland on Sunday.
Meanwhile, with their lease expiring on the Oakland Coliseum at the end of the season, there has been more talk and speculation regarding the Raiders’ future in the city. Los Angeles has, of course, been mentioned as a possible destination, but for now it appears owner Mark Davis would prefer to opt for a new stadium to be built on the current site of the Coliseum, as he told the Oakland Tribune.
Up Next: The Raiders (2-4, 2-1 home) host the Pittsburgh Steelers (2-4, 1-2 road) on Sunday (4:05 p.m. ET). The Steelers have picked up two wins on the bounce and are starting to get a little closer to resembling the team many expected to take the field this season. Oakland will look to send this current resurgence packing. The Raiders have won the last two meetings between the two sides played in Oakland, dating back to the 2006 season.
Opening Odds – Favorite: Pittsburgh Spread: 1.5 Over/Under: 40.5 (matchup)
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