Around the AFC West: How the Chiefs rivals look after Week 1

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DENVER, CO – SEPTEMBER 14: Drew Lock #3 of the Denver Broncos throws under pressure by Jadeveon Clowney #99 of the Tennessee Titans in the second quarter of a game at Empower Field at Mile High on September 14, 2020 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)

Let’s take a look around the AFC West to see how everyone came out of Week 1..

Oh, happy day! Football is back!

To be honest, it felt completely weird watching football yet oh so right. A small semblance of normal in weird times. I love having something to look forward to on Sundays as well as Mondays and Thursdays—I could get used to this!

As I have done for the last two years, I am going to write a weekly recap of the AFC West teams as well as a look ahead at the upcoming week. So, let’s dive in.

Denver Broncos

The Denver Broncos hosted the Tennessee Titans on Monday Night Football to end Week 1. The Titans (as I’m sure we all remember) lost to the Chiefs in the AFC Championship game and made some moves this offseason that looks like they got better, including signing Jadeveon Clowney and locking in Derrick Henry.

The Broncos made moves, too. They added speedy weapons like Jerry Jeudy around Drew Lock making their team younger and faster in hopes that they can keep up with the Chiefs. The Broncos played without star pass rusher Von Miller as he suffered a season-ending ankle injury just a week before the start of the season. Miller’s absence coupled with Bradley Chubb still returning from his knee injury last season means Denver’s defensive line is a little light.

The Broncos were almost gifted this game on the leg of Titans kicker Stephen Gostkowski. Neither team was really able to get any offense going for most of this one, and heading into the fourth quarter, the teams were tied at 7-7.

In the fourth quarter, the Titans went up a touchdown, but just as had happened all game Gostkowski missed another opportunity. (He missed three field goals and an extra point). Broncos running back Melvin Gordon punched the ball into the end zone. The game now sat at the feet of Ryan Tannehill. Tannehill drove them into field goal range and everyone held their breath to see if Gostkowski would miss again. He did not and launched the ball through the uprights to give the Titans a 16-14 win over the Broncos.

The Broncos did try and get tricky with a play that looked awfully familiar, but they just weren’t able to run it as well as the Chiefs. Unfortunately for the Donkeys, they don’t have the best quarterback and tight end in the NFL at their disposal.

As mentioned earlier, the Broncos are without Miller all year. In addition, Courtland Sutton was questionable heading into the game and was listed as officially inactive thanks to an AC joint sprain. Running back Phillip Lindsay left the game with turf toe and cornerback A.J. Bouye left the game with a shoulder injury. All are injuries to watch if the Broncos want to have a chance to win the AFC West.

Next week, the Broncos travel to Pittsburgh to take on Ben Roethlisberger who is coming back from elbow surgery last season. The Steelers looked good in their return. In particular, their defense looks nasty, and this will be a tougher contest for the Broncos. I think this comes down to the quarterback. Roethlisberger just has more experience and won’t make as many mistakes as Lock will, who will succumb to the nasty Steelers defense. I give this game to the Steelers, and it will be a fun one to watch.

Game time is 12:00 p.m. Sunday.

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