Another week of the 2021 regular season is in the books and Kansas City has three losses while the Chargers have four wins. However, the two teams in the division that started off 3-0 are now both 3-2. Let’s make some sense out of this interesting AFC West division after Week 5!
Kansas City Chiefs (2-3)
In Sunday night’s AFC Championship rematch against the Buffalo Bills, HC Andy Reid and the Chiefs fell to 2-3, their worst record since 2014. QB Patrick Mahomes, through the first five weeks of the season, has six interceptions which, as we all know, is not normal for the highest-paid player in the league. Against the Bills, Mahomes threw 54 times for 33 completions and only had two touchdowns. The pressure by the Bills’ defense led to two sacks, two interceptions, and one lost fumble, so it was evident that Mahomes was adversely affected. The offensive line is going to need to be a lot better if they want to give their quarterback the chance to be great. WR Tyreek Hill was also humbled after last week’s amazing performance, only catching seven of his 13 targets for 63 yards. Third-down was a problem for the Chiefs, as they went 5-for-12 with four turnovers, and it seems like the rest of the league is starting to figure out how to slow down this high-powered offense. The defense has been notoriously bad since the Super Bowl and has given up 24 or more points in each game since the previous matchup against Buffalo on January 24th. In this game, the Bills scored 38 points and totaled 436 total yards, cruising to a victory that will leave the Chiefs on their heels early in the season. Final Score: Buffalo wins 38-20.
Injury Updates: 1. Early Monday, we learned that RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire (knee) will be out a few weeks with an MCL sprain. He was put on the IR yesterday and will be expected to return in Week 9.
2. These players are all listed as questionable for Week 6: TE Travis Kelce (neck), G Joe Thuney (hand), DE Chris Jones (wrist), WR Tyreek Hill (knee), CB Charvarius Ward (quadriceps), and WR Chris Finke (undisclosed).
3. Other injuries are as follows: DE Joshua Kaindoh (ankle)- On IR (expected to return in Week 11), DE Malik Herring (knee- ACL)- On the NFI-R list for Week 6, and G Kyle Long (knee)- On the PUP list (expected to return in Week 7).
Next Game: Kansas City Chiefs @ Washington Football Team- Sunday, October 17th at 1:00 PM ET.
Las Vegas Raiders (3-2)
From undefeated to 3-2, HC Jon Gruden and the Raiders drop a second straight game. This week, it was a home game against the Chicago Bears. Las Vegas failed to get points early in the game, which gave Chicago a comfortable 14-3 lead heading into halftime. This put the Raiders in a “big play” mindset in the second half and watching the rest of this game made it seem as if Gruden had switched things up from his original game plan. 22 carries weren’t enough on the ground and it gave the sub-par Bears defense the advantage, earning them an interception from QB Derek Carr. He only threw for 206 yards from 22 completions on 35 attempts. RB Josh Jacobs returned in this game and had the sole Las Vegas touchdown, but 48 yards on 15 carries and 3.2 yards per carry are not former first-round pick numbers. Defensively, the Raiders played well given the circumstances. Chicago only totaled 252 yards on offense, as well as getting 20 points. Linebacker Denzel Perryman led the team in total tackles with 12, while defensive end Yannick Ngakoue came up with two sacks (and also one TFL and two QB hits) against the Bears. In next week’s divisional matchup against the Broncos, this Raiders’ offense is going to have to help their defense while QB Teddy Bridgewater tries to turn things around in Denver. Final Score: Chicago wins 20-9.
Gruden has been caught up in some drama, as e-mails of him saying racist remarks, anti-gay slurs, and woman-bashing have surfaced recently. On Monday morning, after the loss, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that even more e-mails have been obtained by Las Vegas owner Mark Davis. This comes at such a crucial time, and it is evident that it affected the Raiders in Sunday’s matchup.
As of Monday night, Gruden has resigned as the head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders. Rich Bisaccia, the assistant head coach/special teams coordinator for the last four seasons, has taken over as interim head coach for the time being. It is unclear what is next for Gruden, but I think it is fair to say he will not be coaching anymore.
Injury Updates: 1. These players are questionable for Week 6: RB Peyton Barber (toe), ILB Darron Lee (undisclosed), and WR Trey Quinn (undisclosed).
2. Players on IR who are due to return in Week 6 are as follows: QB Marcus Mariota (quadriceps), LB Nicholas Morrow (ankle), LB Javin White (knee), and G Richie Incognito (calf).
3. Other injuries are as follows: T Kamaal Seymour (undisclosed)- On the NFI-R list for Week 6; DT Gerald McCoy (knee) and G Denzelle Good (knee- ACL)- Both on season-ending IR; TE Derek Carrier (pectoral), CB Damon Arnette (groin), and CB Trayvon Mullen (toe)- All on IR (all three are expected to return in Week 9).
Next Game: Las Vegas Raiders @ Denver Broncos- Sunday, October 17th at 4:25 PM ET.
Denver Broncos (3-2)
In a game in which the Broncos were favored, they missed a step against Pittsburgh, which leaves them at 3-2 now after starting the season undefeated. This game was more of a test for the Steelers and the recent woes that they’ve suffered, but Denver continues to show that they aren’t a bad team. In fact, they could be a year or two away from being serious contenders, and they can use their play this season as leverage. In the recent loss, quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, who had to pass concussion protocol after an injury the previous week against the Ravens, continued to surprise fans and analysts by competing close week in and week out. Minus the one interception, Bridgewater had a great game, throwing for 288 yards and two touchdowns in the near-loss. Rookie running back Javonte Williams and vet back Melvin Gordon combined for 95 yards rushing, also holding their own against the especially tough Steelers defensive line. An early 50-yard bomb to WR Dionte Johnson put Pittsburgh up early, and they didn’t look back after that. The Broncos’ defense wasn’t as good as it had been earlier this season, but it is filled with young players and Von Miller (who is still hanging around). I believe they’ll continue to progress as the season continues. In the divisional matchup next week, pay attention to the QB battle, as I think one of these guys is going to have to win a tightly contested game late in the fourth quarter. Final Score: Pittsburgh wins 27-19.
Injury Updates: 1. These players are questionable for Week 6: RB Melvin Gordon (undisclosed), DB Mike Ford (leg), and CB Ronald Darby (hamstring).
2. Players on IR who are due to return in Week 6 are as follows: RB Mike Boone (quadriceps) and CB Michael Ojemudia (hamstring).
3. Other injuries are as follows: WR Jerry Jeudy (ankle), LB Jonas Griffith (hamstring), OLB Bradley Chubb (ankle)- All on IR (all three are expected to return in Week 7); TE Albert Okwuegbunam (hamstring)- On IR (expected to return in Week 8); WR K.J. Hamler (knee- ACL), ILB Josey Jewell (pectoral), ILB Natrez Patrick (leg), T Cody Conway (knee- ACL), and C Brett Jones (biceps)- All on season-ending IR; DB Duke Dawson (knee- ACL + MCL) and DB Essang Bassey (knee- ACL)- Both on the PUP list (both expected to return in Week 7).
Next Game: Denver Broncos vs. Las Vegas Raiders- Sunday, October 17th at 4:25 PM ET.
Los Angeles Chargers (4-1)
After beating two division rivals in back-to-back weeks, the Chargers took on the challenge that is DE Myles Garrett and the Cleveland Browns. In what was the highest-scoring game of the season so far, QB Justin Herbert shifted his position in the MVP race, throwing for 398 yards and four touchdowns. This has been THE performance that we’ve come to expect of Herbert, and he thrives to do it each week. Even after being hit a few times (8 QB hits in total) and sacked twice, Herbert remained poised and answered every one of Cleveland’s scores in the fourth quarter shoot-out. Of course, he had help in the win, as running back Austin Ekeler scampered for 66 yards on the ground and 53 through the air, adding three touchdowns to the mix. Ekeler has been one of the better backs in football through these five weeks, with his health being a huge reason why. If he can continue his newfound success in the run game to compliment his pass-catching ability, we could be looking at a top-three running back by the end of the season! WR Mike Williams was loud this week, with eight receptions for 165 yards (one being a 72-yard touchdown) and two touchdowns. He just keeps raising the price of his upcoming contract extension/free-agent contract! Final Score: The Chargers win 47-42.
Defensively, LA possibly possesses not only the best safety in the league in Derwin James but also possibly the best rookie cornerback as well in Asante Samuel Jr. However, 42 points will have defensive-minded head coach Brandon Staley searching for answers. The main key for the Chargers’ defense is staying healthy. QB Baker Mayfield played an amazing game (23/32 for 305 yards and two TDs), but Herbert just played a little better. Can the Bolts continue to take down top contenders in Staley’s first season as a head coach? We’ll see next week when they head to Baltimore to take on the Ravens.
Injury Updates: 1. RB Justin Jackson (groin) is questionable for Week 6.
2. T Bryan Bulaga (back) is on the IR but is expected to return in Week 6.
3. Other injuries are as follows: G Oday Aboushi (knee- ACL)- On season-ending IR; DT Justin Jones (calf) and LB Kenneth Murray (ankle)- Both on the IR (both expected to return in Week 8).
Next Game: LA Chargers @ Baltimore Ravens- Sunday, October 17th at 1:00 PM ET.
- a) https://www.profootballrumors.com/kansas-city-chiefs-news-rumors, b) https://www.profootballrumors.com/oakland-raiders-news-rumors, c) https://www.profootballrumors.com/denver-broncos-news-rumors, d) https://www.profootballrumors.com/san-diego-chargers-news-rumors
- a) https://www.cbssports.com/nfl/teams/KC/kansas-city-chiefs/injuries/, b) , c) , d)
Note: ProFootballRumors has not changed their Raiders and Chargers team news links from Oakland to Las Vegas or from San Diego to Los Angeles, respectively.
Edited By: Isaac Dirrim and Rupayan “Abs” Samanta.