The first quarter of the 2018 season is in the books.
It always feels like an eternity waiting for football to start once it ends, but once we’re in the thick of it the season always seems to blow by – funny how that works, huh?
Through four weeks of play, the Raiders own a record of 1-3, but they’re determined to turn things around. The AFC West – as it’s been for several years now – is highly competitive this year, and there’s plenty of talent throughout the division.
Let’s discuss what’s transpired in the last few weeks:
Current record: 2-2
After starting the season 2-0 the Broncos have dropped to .500, and should be 1-3, had it not been for the Raiders inability to hold the lead in the fourth quarter during the team’s Week 2 skirmish. Free agent acquisition Case Keenum has been a big improvement for the Broncos after struggling with inconsistent play from Trevor Siemian and Brock Osweiler in 2017. Through four weeks, the Broncos rank 13th in the NFL, and a large part of that is because of undrafted rookie Phillip Lindsay. The former University of Colorado Buffalo has been a spark plug for Denver, averaging 5.9 yards per carry. The Denver native has been a pleasant surprise for the team on offense, and should continue to see extended reps in the future.
The defense still has Von Miller, and to no one’s surprise, he’s still a baller. No. 58 has four sacks on the year, and is still wreaking havoc on opposing offensive lines. Nothing new here; however, the same can’t be said about the Broncos special teams unit. When the team signed former Raiders punter Marquette King in free agency they expected to see an uptick in production at the position, but so far he’s struggled, which Broncos Head Coach Vance Joseph has been quick to call out.
“He’s got to perform better,” Joseph said postgame Monday. “We’re at home and it’s his job to flip the field. That isn’t happening. He’s got to play better.”
According to 9News, the team is supposedly going to hold a punt off between King and practice squad punter Colby Wadman to determine who will take over at the position.
Next up on the docket is a road trip against rookie quarterback Sam Darnold and the New York Jets.
Kansas City Chiefs
Current record: 4-0
I’m not too big to admit that I was wrong about Patrick Mahomes.
Prior to the start of the 2018 season, I thought he was being overhyped, as the hot takes from across the nation circulated on Twitter, but it’s hard to dispute them at this juncture. Through four games, the 23 year old from Texas has thrown for 1,200 yards, 14 touchdowns, and has yet to throw an interception. Mahomes faced his first real test defensively Monday night against a stout Broncos defense, and after falling to a 10 point deficit, he rallied his troops and sparked a fourth quarter comeback featuring a left handed pass (he’s right handed) on third down.
Andy Reid’s Chiefs look hard to beat right now, and with the amount of weapons they have it doesn’t look like they’re slowing down any time soon.
Los Angeles Chargers
Current record: 2-2
Joey Bosa, the Bolts star pass rusher, has been unable to take the field in 2018 due to a lingering foot injury, but that could change this Sunday. Monday, Raiders Head Coach Jon Gruden said he anticipated No. 99’s return this weekend; however, Bosa was listed on the Chargers injury report and did not participate in Wednesday’s practice. If the former Ohio State Buckeye were to miss out on his team’s divisional clash with the Raiders that would bode well for the Silver and Black. While Gruden anticipates Bosa's return, ESPN reporter Eric D. Williams reported Bosa would be out for Week 5. During his first two seasons in the NFL the 23 year old has back-to-back 10-plus sack seasons. Even though he’s missed the first four games of the season, the Chargers are seeing production from another first round draft pick, Derwin James.
The former Florida State Seminole is leading his team in sacks (3), tackles (20), and is tied for the most interceptions with one. He’s wasted no time announcing his arrival to the NFL, and it’s scary to think he’s done this in his first four career games. This will be James’ first time meeting Derek Carr; we’ll see if the Raiders offense can force some rookie mistakes.