Posted on November 6, 2022
With the 49ers and Broncos on a bye, there are just six west teams playing this week. But those six teams are featured in some intriguing games.
There is an NFC West battle between the Seahawks and the Cardinals, a playoff rematch between the Rams and the Buccaneers, and an opportunity for the Chiefs to beat another contender in the Titans.
The Chargers also play the Falcons in what could turn into an exciting game and the Raiders play the Jaguars in a matchup between two skidding teams.
Will this week be the most entertaining week of games for the west teams? Probably not.
But that doesn’t mean that a few of those games won’t end up being incredibly fun to watch.
Here is a quick preview of each of those games.
Chargers (4-3-0) at Falcons (4-4-0)
Sunday, November 6
10:00 a.m., PT, FOX
For one, they are coming off a bye which should result in them being well-rested and healthy, or at least as healthy as this Chargers team can possibly be this year.
Then there is also the fact that Los Angeles is a much better team than Atlanta.
But that won’t prevent this game from being closer than expected. The Falcons are in first place in their division despite their 4-4 record, so they are good enough to steal a win here.
The Chargers are going to have to take advantage of a Falcons defense that has given up the most yards in the league.
That could be a challenge for Los Angeles.
Although they do have quarterback Justin Herbert and running back Austin Ekeler, both of whom of superstars, they will be without wide receiver Mike Williams and possibly wide receiver Keenan Allen.
The Chargers could potentially struggle to stop the Falcons’ offense, which will be even more important if their own offense underwhelms.
Atlanta matches up very favorably with Los Angeles on offense. The Falcons are one of the most run-heavy teams in the league, averaging 33.5 rushing attempts per game which is the second-most in the NFL.
The Chargers, on the other hand, are allowing 5.7 yards per carry, which is the most in the NFL.
That could be something that quarterback Marcus Mariota and the Falcons can exploit, especially if running back Cordarrelle Patterson makes his return from the IR.
The strategies employed in this game will be highly intriguing because both teams should have advantages in different areas.
Whichever team executes its game plan better and capitalizes on its opponent’s weaknesses more will be the winner.
Raiders (2-5-0) at Jaguars (2-6-0)
Sunday, November 6
10:00 a.m., PT, CBS
The good news is that one of these teams will get to rebound from their loss last week. The bad news is that the other team will continue its streak of disappointing performances.
The Raiders may have had the most disappointing performance of the entire season last week when they got shut out by the Saints.
They are really going to need a bounce-back game this week and have a good opportunity to do so against the Jaguars.
The key to that will be getting their star players involved, which for some reason isn’t as simple as it sounds.
Running back Josh Jacobs and wide receiver Davante Adams were both ineffective in the loss to New Orleans, which will certainly have to change if Las Vegas wants to get back in the win column.
Those two players should be able to have good games against a Jacksonville defense that has been solid but not great this year.
The Jaguars are tied for third in the fewest yards allowed per carry, so it may make sense for the Raiders to attack them through the air. That would mean quarterback Derek Carr would need to rebound from a very poor performance last week.
There will also be plenty of pressure on Jacksonville quarterback Trevor Lawrence, who is still looking to officially break out in his sophomore season.
The Raiders are a bottom-five pass defense, so Lawrence and wide receivers Christian Kirk and Zay Jones should be successful against them.
Both of these teams have fared pretty similarly so far this year, which means that the game should be pretty close.
It sounds very cliché, but whichever quarterback plays better will likely be the one earning the victory.
Each guy has enough talent around him to succeed and is in a pretty favorable matchup, so whoever is able to put it all together will be the one to lead his team to victory.
Seahawks (5-3-0) at Cardinals (3-5-0)
Sunday, November 6
1:05 p.m., PT, FOX
Case in point, the Seahawks and Cardinals faced each other three weeks ago in Seattle. The Seahawks won that game 19-9 in a game where the Cardinals failed to score an offensive touchdown.
Now, obviously, that game won’t just repeat itself, or else there would be no point in playing them twice. But that game does provide at least a sense of how the two teams should play each other this time around.
Since that game, Seattle has only gotten better, reeling off two straight wins against winning teams. The Cardinals earned a win against the Saints but dropped a game last week against the Vikings.
The Seahawks are officially a good offense with quarterback Geno Smith leading the way. They rank sixth in yards per play and have scored the second-most points in the league.
Arizona was effective at keeping Seattle out of the end zone last time around, but with the way Smith is leading the offense now, it doesn’t appear that the Cardinals will be as successful in round two.
The Cardinals have allowed the second-most points in the league and are particularly vulnerable through the air, where Smith can use wide receiver Tyler Lockett and D.K. Metcalf to Seattle’s advantage.
Arizona is hoping for a much better offensive performance in the rematch, hoping to at least score a touchdown on that side of the ball.
The biggest thing that has changed since these two teams squared off last is the return of wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins from his suspension.
He has provided an essential boost to the offense, especially considering they lost wide receiver Marquise Brown to injury around the same time. The Cardinals have scored 68 points in the two games with Hopkins, who has caught 22 passes for 262 yards.
The Seahawks’ defense has also turned a corner recently, beginning with that game against the Cardinals. They have allowed just 45 points combined in their last three games, which starts with the Arizona game.
Seattle should expect an improved performance from Arizona quarterback Kyler Murray this time around, but its defense should be able to handle that.
Outside linebacker Uchenna Nwosu has been excellent off the edge and rookie cornerbacks Tariq Woolen and Coby Bryant have continued to impress.
The matchup between Woolen and Hopkins will be particularly interesting because it may be the young corner’s toughest test to date, but one that he should be up for considering his fantastic rookie year.
The law of averages would suggest that the Cardinals would win this game to split the series.
But the law of a different kind of averages, mainly the average of 26.3 points per game, which is what the Seahawks score and the Cardinals allow, would suggest that Seattle should be able to make it 2-0 against its division foe this season.
Rams (3-4-0) at Buccaneers (3-5-0)
Sunday, November 6
1:25 p.m., PT, CBS
But since both teams seem miles away from the teams they were last season, this game may end up being pretty boring.
The main issue for both teams has been the quarterbacks, which is incredibly surprising given the talent at the position for each team.
But Matthew Stafford has struggled to lead the offense for the Rams while Tom Brady has looked his age behind center for the Buccaneers.
This game may end up being a defensive battle, which is an area where the Rams probably have the advantage.
Tampa Bay started the season fielding one of the best defenses in the sport.
But after shocking losses to the Steelers and Panthers and a predictable loss to the Ravens, it is clear that the Buccaneers are no longer juggernauts on the defensive side of the ball.
That was made even more clear with the announcement that outside linebacker Shaquill Barrett will be out for the season with an Achilles injury.
At this point, the Buccaneers’ only hope of slowing down the Rams is that the ankle injury that wide receiver Cooper Kupp suffered at the end of the game last week keeps him out of this contest, which it doesn’t sound like will be the case.
Even with the struggles of the Tampa Bay defense, Los Angeles may not be able to score on them. The Rams are averaging the sixth-fewest points per game and have the second-least efficient run game in the league.
The team with the least efficient run game in the league: the Buccaneers.
Tampa Bay has been completely unable to run the ball this season, which has placed even more pressure upon the 45-year-old shoulders of Brady.
The Buccaneers’ passing attack has been solid this season. They have the second most yards through the air but are just 15th in yards per attempt.
The Buccaneers should be able to beat the Rams through the air considering they are allowing the 10th-most yards per attempt.
This game probably won’t be a very high-scoring game. It probably won’t be a game with a bunch of rushing attempts either, or at least it shouldn’t be.
They might as well just remove the offensive lines and turn this game into a 7-on-7 contest.
Chiefs (5-2-0) vs Titans (5-2-0)
Sunday, November 6
5:20 p.m., PT, NBC
But the Titans are a scary team themselves, mainly due to the absolute dominance of running back Derrick Henry. The real danger of this Tennessee squad is its defense, which has quietly been one of the best units in the league.
The Titans are allowing the eighth-fewest points per game and haven’t given up more than 17 points to an opponent in four games, all Tennessee wins.
The Chiefs are definitely going to score more than 17 points this week, though. They are widely regarded as the best offense in the league and have backed it up by scoring the most points despite having their bye week.
Quarterback Patrick Mahomes is once again playing like one of the best players in the sport while tight end Travis Kelce has been as reliable as ever.
But the emergence of wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster and Marquez Valdes-Scantling, and maybe even the newly acquired Kadarius Toney, is what puts them over the top.
The Titans have the talent to slow the Chiefs down, but that is about as much as they can manage.
Safety Kevin Byard is one of the premier players at his position while defensive tackle Jeffery Simmons is emerging as one of the best front seven players in the league.
This game ultimately will come down to whether or not the Titans can keep up offensively.
The Chiefs don’t have an outstanding defense, but they are good enough on that side of the ball to win them games. They have also been one of the better units against the run, although they won’t be able to completely stop Henry.
Tennessee will need quarterback Ryan Tannehill to not only be healthy but to play well in order for them to have any chance. The Titans have been a bottom-10 pass offense this season but that will have to be much better to beat the Chiefs.
Tennessee should be able to keep this game close because it is a relatively good team. But whether or not the Titans can ultimately pull off the upset will come down to the offense.
The Chiefs are going to get theirs on offense so Tannehill, Henry, and Company will need to keep up if they want any chance at getting a win.
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