NFL Standings, Week 2: Chiefs alone atop AFC West
By Jalon Dodson
Week 2 of the 2019 NFL season has concluded, and after three of the AFC West teams lost on Sunday afternoon, the Chiefs are alone at the top.
With Week 2 in the books, it’s clear nothing is certain except death, taxes, and the Oakland Raiders losing to the Kansas City Chiefs.
After the Denver Broncos, Los Angeles Chargers, and Raiders lost on Sunday afternoon, there is just one team in the AFC West that remains undefeated: the Chiefs. However, it’s important to note that Chargers and Broncos lost by a combined score of only five points. The season is still young, so of course, anything can happen. For the time being, the Chiefs are leading the pack.
Let’s take a closer look at the NFL standings, beginning with a divisional look.
Kansas City Chiefs (2-0, 1.000)
After a slow start against the Raiders, the Chiefs trailed 0-10 at the end of the first quarter. The last time the Raiders had a double-digit lead on the Chiefs, the latter lost the game in 2014. The major difference: the 2014 Chiefs didn’t have Patrick Mahomes. The elite quarterback put up yet another MVP-caliber performance in the second quarter, delivering 4 touchdowns and finishing with over 300 yards after the conclusion of the first half. Without offensive starters like wide receiver Tyreek Hill and offensive tackle Eric Fisher, Mahomes stepped up and showed the NFL that he remains the best in the business.
Los Angeles Chargers (1-1, .500)
Nothing was clicking for the Chargers. Frustration on both sides of the ball, partly due to injuries that the team has struggled with, crushed its hopes of beating the Detroit Lions. Although statistically it was a decent game for quarterback Philip Rivers (293 passing yards, 21/36 completions), he threw no touchdowns and one interception in the loss on Sunday. Without key weapons such as running back Melvin Gordon, Rivers will have to step up his game in order to move past the Chiefs and make the playoffs.
Oakland Raiders (1-1, .500)
The Raiders looked sharp in the first quarter against the Chiefs, but as explained above, fell short as the explosive offense that the Chiefs boast lit up the field. Quarterback Derek Carr’s 2 interceptions and just 198 passing yards did not help his team’s case. With a rough road schedule ahead, the Raiders will have to come together and figure things out if they want a winning season.
Denver Broncos (0-2, .000)
A struggling offense ultimately proved to be the downfall for the Broncos against the Chicago Bears on Sunday afternoon. Although starting quarterback Joe Flacco put up 292 yards on 35 completions, his 1 touchdown and 1 interception proved to be just shy of what the Broncos needed in order to beat the Bears in Mile High.
The AFC as a whole bore witness to a somewhat fortuitous Week 2. With hype aplenty, the Baltimore Ravens head into Week 3 against the Kansas City Chiefs with all sorts of momentum. After beating its last two opponents (Miami Dolphins, Arizona Cardinals), the Ravens are one of nine teams who remain undefeated.
One of the more pressing headlines comes out of the AFC North with Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger suffering a season-ending injury that will require Tommy John surgery. Falling behind in the AFC North at 0-2, the Steelers must look to Mason Rudolph to lead its offense in what will be a long shot for the AFC Playoffs.
The AFC South is facing its own drama as well, as cornerback Jalen Ramsey of the Jacksonville Jaguars has requested a trade. After an 0-2 start and losing its starting quarterback, the Jaguars are moving ahead toward another letdown of a season unless Gardner Minshew is the draft diamond they hope he is. With 23-of-33 completions, 213 passing yards and 1 passing touchdown, his NFL debut as a starter was not spectacular by any means, however, it showed promise. If he is able to get the Jaguars offense under a groove, there may yet be hope for the struggling AFC South team.
Roethlisberger was just one of two veteran quarterbacks to fall to injury in Week 2. In the NFC South, quarterback Drew Brees suffered a thumb injury against the Los Angeles Rams that required surgery, and will subsequently keep him out for likely 6 weeks. The Saints look to Teddy Bridgewater to lead its offense, and for the sake of Saints fans, hopefully he will be able to keep the team afloat while Brees recovers.
After questions of sustainability and quarterback Aaron Rodgers’ impact for the 2019 season, the Green Bay Packers are atop the NFC North as Week 3 approaches. Although he has just 412 passing yards on the season (to put that number in perspective, Mahomes had more passing yards against the Raiders), Rodgers has 3 touchdowns and no interceptions. While 3 touchdowns is not necessarily a stat that jumps off of the page, but consistency is what has won the last two football games. Rodgers will need to maintain that consistency in order to keep the Packers ahead in the NFC North and deliver a trip to the playoffs.