Week 6 of the NFL season will be packed with AFC West action.
Thursday night the reigning Super Bowl 50 champions will travel to San Diego to take on the Chargers. This will be the first time the Broncos and Bolts have gone toe-to-toe this season, and will be featured as the nationally televised event on Thursday Night Football. The two teams sit at opposite ends of the win-loss spectrum, Denver currently 4-1 and San Diego 1-4. This game has the potential to have a big impact on the AFC West further down the line.
The other two teams in the division will square-off this Sunday, when the Oakland Raiders take on their division rival at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum. The Kansas City Chiefs will head to Oakland coming off of a bye week, and Pro Bowl running back Jamaal Charles could possibly make a significant contribution this weekend. Charles has been hindered all season by an ACL injury he suffered last year, but could be a force to be reckoned with.
With this week being a battle of the AFC West, let's get you up to speed on what's occurred.
Last week, rookie quarterback Paxton Lynch made his first NFL start in place of the injured Trevor Siemian, and was unable to help the team come away with a victory. The first-year player didn't have a terrible outing, throwing for 223 yards with one touchdown and one interception; however, the inexperience showed, as Lynch was sacked six times for a loss of a loss of 40 yards altogether.
Siemian missed the game because of a shoulder injury he suffered in Week 4, but will be making his return to the field this evening for Thursday Night Football. Through four games, Siemian has appeared to be one of the Broncos' difference-makers, and has proved to be capable of being the team's starting quarterback.
In his second year in the NFL, first as a starter, Siemian has thrown for 824 yards, six touchdowns, and three interceptions. He's been one of the better signal-callers this season and holds the 13th best quarterback rating in the league. Siemian will have the opportunity to face a depleted and injury-plagued San Diego Chargers team Thursday, but the Bolts have proven to still be a difficult team to face this season, regardless of what their record says.
After going 2-0 in his first two road starts, Siemian will have the chance to make it three wins on the road when he takes on the Chargers at 5:25 p.m. PT at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego.
Kansas City Chiefs
This Sunday, the Chiefs travel to Oakland to battle the Silver and Black in front of Raider Nation. Prior to this week, Kansas City endured a rough road loss against a potential Super Bowl contender in the Pittsburgh Steelers. Following their 43-14 defeat, the team entered their bye week with an opportunity to regroup and get back to work.
After losing to the Steelers in the fashion that they did, the team will be looking to bounce back. For both the Chiefs and the Raiders, this will be a big game that can be a difference-maker in the future. Last season, Kansas City beat the Raiders both times they met and lead the overall head-to-head series 58-51-2.
One player who can definitely assist the Chiefs is Pro Bowl running back Jamaal Charles. He's slowly increased his participation in practice as he's recovered from his ACL injury. According to Chiefs.com, Charles participated in a full practice on Wednesday, the first time since last season.
"I feel good," Charles said with a grin. ""It's time. It's here. There's no hiding no more."
Charles could potentially be a full-go this Sunday and will challenge the Raiders defense to stop him. The game will take place at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum at 1:05 p.m. Pacific time.
San Diego Chargers
A week removed from the loss of cornerback Jason Verrett and a loss to the Oakland Raiders, the Chargers find themselves in a bit of a hole. Not only has their starting roster disintegrated due to a multitude of injuries, but the team also trails the rest of the AFC West with a record of 1-4.
Tonight, the Bolts can attempt to change that trend by knocking off the tied for first place Broncos. A home victory could be the jolt of positivity or spark the team needs to get back on their feet.
Speaking of positives, last week defensive end Joey Bosa made his NFL debut and the man did not disappoint. Heading into the Week 5 matchup against Oakland, the Raiders had only allowed two sacks all season. After the game was over, the Silver and Black had allowed five sacks this season, with two coming from the 2016 NFL Draft's third overall pick.
For the team and Chargers fans, Bosa gave them a glimpse of what could be their future defensive star in the making.
In Week 5 the Broncos allowed six sacks, so if the Chargers want to pull off the win Thursday night, they will need Bosa to continue making plays off the edge.
Kickoff starts at 5:25 p.m. Pacific time at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego.