AFC West Report: Top Teams All on the Road

With Denver and San Diego both making trips to the east coast over the weekend the Chiefs may have figured the road trips were a push with their game at Miami. Now with Hurricane Wilma's projected path aiming at South Florida the Chiefs will have to play on an abbreviated week in a game they can ill afford to lose.

The Kansas City Chiefs (3-2) came up with the big defensive play they've been waiting for years, when safety Sammy Knight knocked away a Mark Brunell pass that was intended for Santana Moss in the Chiefs 28-21 win over the Redskins on Sunday. Now a game and a half out of first place in the AFC West division the Chiefs will have to play catch up by winning a game 1500 miles away from home with about thirty hours notice.

The Dolphins (2-3) are reeling after two consecutive losses on the road and are eager to return home where they won both of their games against quality opponents in Denver and Carolina. The good news for the Dolphins is that Ricky Williams should see a little more action this week than he did last week in the 27-13 loss to the Buccaneers.

The Chiefs will have to play in the heat and rain. The forecast for the game is 86 degrees with the heat index at 96 degrees with the humidity. This should be a solid game for the Chiefs defense as they should be able to capitalize on the inept Miami offense. The defense made plays and caused turnovers in the win against the Redskins, and the formula should be the same in Miami.

Eric Warfield could return to the lineup as well as the Chiefs will take the "wait and see" approach. Starting cornerback Dexter McCleon is out and DeWayne Washington will start opposite Patrick Surtain. On offense Larry Johnson will be questionable but wide receiver Samie Parker won't suit up.

"I think it's outstanding we can keep the game in South Florida for our fans," said Dolphins Head Coach Nick Saban who doesn't want a New Orleans Saints type of home game in Giants Stadium. "Both teams have a similar circumstance, the maturity of those teams will determine who can go out there and play the game and be successful," Saban added. He did acknowledge that the game moving up doesn't help the chances of Junior Seau playing from his injury or Jason Taylor's availability from a situation that involves one of his wife's family members being in the hospital.

Television for the game will be showed only in the local markets for Kansas City and Miami, the game will not be televised in most of the Chiefs territory or nationally, with the conflict with High School football across the country. The Dolphins are a two-point favorite after being two-point underdogs before the game was moved up. Kick-off will be at 7:00 EST.

The Denver Broncos (5-1) will head to the New Jersey Meadowlands for a 4:15 EST game against the New York Giants (3-2). The Giants haven't lost at home this season and have scored 113 points in just three home games. Simply, the Giants offense is dynamic in the Meadowlands.

Tight end Jeremy Shockey and quarterback Eli Manning look to finally have a good rapport going; as the two connected on a touchdown that pushed their game into overtime in their teams loss to Dallas last week. Tiki Barber seems to be getting better with age as well. As much as the Giants have been criticized about their defense, they for the most part have held their own and looked good doing it last week in Dallas. They only gave up 16 points.

It will be the same old story for the Denver defense, play well enough to give the running attack on offense a chance to win the game. The last time Denver went into Giants Stadium the Broncos were undefeated. Kent Graham led the Giants to the win but the Broncos went on to win the second of their two Super Bowls. Tatum Bell and Mike Anderson have turned into a solid one-two punch behind the zone-blocking scheme on the offensive line.

Jake Plummer continues to be one of the best-kept secrets in the NFL. Very quietly and consistently he has made his presence felt as the general of the team. The biggest improvement has been his lack of interceptions. Plummer has only three on the season with a quarterback rating of 83.6.

Along with another solid effort by Plummer, special teams and the defense will have to come up big to slow down the Giants offensive attack. The Broncos lead the Chiefs by a game and a half and they lead the Chargers by two games.

Speaking of the San Diego Chargers (3-3) they'll travel to play the Philadelphia Eagles (3-2) at Lincoln Financial Field Sunday afternoon at 1:00 EST. This will be the third consecutive week that the Chargers will have to a play a team that is coming off a bye week. The Chargers along with the New England Patriots have the hardest schedule in the National Football League.

The Chargers are coming off a big division win that virtually buried the Oakland Raiders at the bottom of the division with their 27-14 win last week in the "Black Hole". Once again LaDainian Tomlinson proved that if you put the ball in his hands enough than good things will happen. Tomlinson scored two touchdowns on the ground and threw his second touchdown of the year in the win. Tomlinson is a solid candidate for the leagues MVP.

The Eagles are well rested after having last week off. Many of their players left town and relaxed. Quarterback Donovan McNabb says he feels much better and that might not be good news for the Chargers. The Eagles are coming off an embarrassing 33-10 loss to division rival Dallas.

With the game and schedule controversy, the Chargers have a little off the field drama as well. Phillip Rivers has made it no secret he wants to play. Drew Brees has made it impossible for Marty Schottenheimer to play Rivers. The Chargers traded back-up quarterback Cleo Lemmon to Miami for A. J. Feeley and a sixth-round draft pick. That adds speculation about Rivers future in San Diego. General Manager A. J. Smith downplays the trade by saying that the Chargers were more interested in the sixth-round draft pick. The Chargers also acquired another sixth-round pick by trading Toniu Fonoti to Minnesota in a move that didn't come as a surprise.

This will be the first of two trips to the East Coast in three weeks for the Chargers. They will play at home against the Chiefs next week and then it's off to play a rematch of last years playoff game against the Jets in New York. The Chargers and Eagles will be the marquee match up of the weekend.

The Oakland Raiders (1-4) will look for their second win of the season when they host the Buffalo Bills (3-3) Sunday at 1:15 PST. The Bills can claim the AFC East lead for themselves with a win. They are currently tied with New England, but the Patriots have a bye. The Raiders hope to win just to keep a pulse in the division race.

The Raiders have been victim of the schedule themselves getting a harder schedule than the undefeated Indianapolis Colts who made the playoffs last year. Injuries have not helped either. The Raiders were loaded at receiver but that has never come to form with Gabriel, Curry and now Randy Moss missing time. Moss is out just for the week so far as he went down early in the game against the Chargers.

The Raiders have to capitalize on their division foes going to the East Coast. Expect LaMont Jordan to get the bulk of the load this weekend with Moss likely out. Losing can't be an option for the Raiders and if they do it will be time to talk about Norv Turner and his job status once again. The Raiders are four games out of first place. Top Stories