The Oakland Raiders have a favorable matchup in Week 2 in the New York Jets. Could Oakland be in first place by itself in the AFC West after this weekend?
The AFC West had the best week of the four divisions in the AFC. Three of the four teams won with the only loser being the Los Angeles Chargers, who fell on the road to the Denver Broncos on Monday Night Football. The Oakland Raiders and the Kansas City Chiefs got big road wins in Week 1 by handling the Tennessee Titans and the New England Patriots, respectively.
Heading into Week 2, we have a three-way tie for first place in the division between the Broncos, Chiefs and Raiders. Technically, the Broncos have the early tiebreaker because they have a win in divisional play over the Chargers. However, that could all change by Sunday evening. Could the Raiders be in first place all by themselves after Week 2?
That’s very much in play and here’s why. Oakland has by far and away the easiest Week 2 game of the four AFC West teams. The Raiders will host the rebuilding New York Jets on Sunday afternoon. If the Raiders don’t win by a touchdown at home against New York, then they didn’t get it done. It would be a total shocker to not see the Raiders improve to 2-0 with an easy win over the Jets.
The Chargers need to see Kansas City and Oakland lose to get back in the mix in the early division race. Even if the Broncos lose, the Chargers will be back of Denver in the standings because of their head-to-head loss to the Broncos on Monday night.
Los Angeles will host the Miami Dolphins on Sunday afternoon. Keep in mind that the Dolphins haven’t played yet this season due to Hurricane Irma postponing their home opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. That game has been rescheduled to Week 11, when both teams would have had their bye. It’ll be interesting to see how the Chargers and Dolphins’ game shakes out. Either team can win that game at the StubHub Center in Carson.
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So what are the Raiders’ chances of being in first place by themselves at 2-0 on Sunday night? Surprisingly promising. While the Broncos won their home opener over Los Angeles, Denver will be home underdogs to the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday afternoon. Dallas is a team that actually plays better away from home, so the Mile High crowd won’t be a huge factor in the game.
As for the Chiefs, they have a tough matchup at Arrowhead in the early afternoon. Andy Reid will face his disciple Doug Pederson’s Philadelphia Eagles in Week 2. The Eagles looked terrific in Week 1 against their NFC East rival Washington Redskins. Some think the Eagles will win the NFC East this year. This one could go either way, but the Chiefs should be favored at home.
To be in first place, the Raiders just need to the Broncos to lose. Oakland would actually have the tiebreaker over the Chiefs due to a better record over AFC opponents (2-0) than Kansas City (1-0). Denver would have the edge if the Broncos beat the Cowboys to improve to 2-0 because they have a division win over the Chargers.
Obviously, the Raiders just need to take care of business. Their early season schedule is favorable. If Oakland can have six or seven wins entering their Week 10 bye, this should be another season of playoff football for the Raiders. Maybe the Silver and Black can win the division for the first time since 2002?