Posted on September 28, 2022
Week Three was not a particularly great one for the west teams. The eight teams went a combined 2-6, with each of those wins coming in matchups between two teams from the west.
It isn’t a great sign that the AFC West, which was supposed to be the best division in the league by far, and the NFC West both have a combined record of 5-7 between each of their four teams.
But there is still plenty of season left. There is enough time for each team to earn more wins and improve their standing, both in this ranking and in their respective divisions.
For now, here is where each of the eight west teams stand after three games.
1. Kansas City Chiefs (2-1-0)
Due to all the losses suffered by west teams, the Chiefs retain their spot atop this list despite their 20-17 loss to the Colts.
While any loss is not great, Kansas City’s loss is actually as bad as it may look on paper.
The defense continued its stretch of very good play to open the season but the team was ultimately let down by special teams.
A muffed punt by rookie wide receiver Skyy Moore set up a short-field touchdown for the Colts and kicker Matt Amendola, filling in for the injured Harrison Butker, missed his lone extra point along with a late field goal that would have given the Chiefs a three-point lead.
Those types of mistakes will not be a problem for the rest of the season. This seems like a one-week fluke that will be an outlier by the end of the season.
At the end of the day, the Chiefs still have quarterback Patrick Mahomes, the best player among these west teams, and that gives them a leg up on the rest of the competition.
2. Los Angeles Rams (2-1-0)
The Rams have quietly been climbing back toward the top of this ranking after dropping way down following their season-opening throttling at the hands of the Bills.
Los Angeles has now won two straight games and got their first cover of the season when they beat the Cardinals 20-12.
There are still plenty of concerns about the offense outside of wide receiver Cooper Kupp, who is still dominant.
Quarterback Matthew Stafford, wide receiver Allen Robinson, and both running backs Cam Akers and Darrell Henderson have been underwhelming so far but are showing signs of improvement.
The Rams’ defense has been impressive, though. They held the Cardinals out of the end zone for the entire game on Saturday and allowed Arizona quarterback Kyler Murray to complete just 63 percent of his passes.
Los Angeles may not be the incredible offensive team that they were last year but thanks to the defense, they are still a top team in the west and are certainly the team to beat in their division.
3. Los Angeles Chargers (1-2-0)
Despite being third on this list, the Chargers aren’t inspiring a ton of confidence right now. They are coming off of a 38-10 loss to the Jaguars in which they looked very outmatched.
But there are a few reasons to be optimistic about Los Angeles’s season even after the disappointing showing over the weekend.
Quarterback Justin Herbert was clearly not at 100 percent against Jacksonville, so it is hard to fully grade his performance. He was still able to make some incredible plays because he is a freak, but this team will look much better when he is fully healthy.
The Chargers were also without wide receiver Keenan Allen, who seems very close to returning, defensive end Joey Bosa, who left the game with an injury and left tackle Rashawn Slater, who suffered a season-ending biceps injury during the game.
The injuries are not a great sign because that is the quickest way for a season to fall off the rails but it does provide some hope that Los Angeles can be a different team once they sort through the injuries.
4. Denver Broncos (2-1-0)
The Broncos being in the top half of this list does not feel right but as one of just three west teams with a winning record, they belong here.
Denver earned a win on Sunday by beating the 49ers 11-10 in one of the worst primetime games in recent memory, but a win is a win no matter how bad the game looked.
This team so far has had a very Jekyll-and-Hyde-type season, with the offense and defense being the complete opposite of each other.
The Broncos have scored the second-fewest points this year but have also allowed the second-fewest.
Quarterback and Russell Wilson and the offense have massively underwhelmed this season but they have still managed to win games because the defense has been on fire.
Cornerback Pat Surtain and outside linebackers Bradley Chubb and Randy Gregory have been outstanding.
If it weren’t for some awful game management at the end of the game against Seattle in week one, Denver may actually be 3-0.
If the Broncos can turn it around on offense anytime soon then they can be a very dangerous team, but as of now, they are a decent team with some major issues.
5. San Francisco 49ers (1-2-0)
As the other half of that disastrous Sunday Night Football game, the 49ers aren’t in a great spot at the moment either.
Similar to the Broncos, the Niners’ defense has been great, third-fewest points allowed. But the offense left much to be desired in its first game of the season with quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo as the starter.
San Francisco’s offense theoretically should have looked better against Denver than in its previous two games. Garoppolo was supposed to bring a sense of security to the unit given his experience in the system, and tight end Geroge Kittle played for the first time this year.
Instead, the 49ers scored just 10 points and Garoppolo looked incapable of running the offense.
That is not a great sign for a team that was not only supposed to compete with the Rams for the NFC West but possibly for the entire conference.
Similar to the Broncos, this team can turn it around quickly with some improvement from the offense but there is no certainty that Garoppolo will be able to orchestrate that, which leads to their placement atop the bottom half of this ranking.
6. Arizona Cardinals (1-2-0)A week after pulling off a miraculous comeback against the Raiders, Arizona had a complete dud of a game. Losing 20-12 to the Rams doesn’t seem too bad at first glance but once you realize that the Cardinals’ 12 points all came off field goals, it looks much worse.
The same issues that plagued Arizona for two weeks have persisted through week three.
The secondary is very, very bad. They got lucky that Stafford wasn’t playing at his usual level, and that Kupp dropped a surefire touchdown pass, or else Los Angeles would have scored more than 20 points.
Arizona has given up the second-most points in the league this year, 87, including 31 points in the first quarter, which is the most in the league.
On the other side of the ball, the Cardinals’ offense has been a lot of quarterback Kyler Murray making plays and not much else.
Murray has had success throwing to wide receivers Marquise Brown, 24 catches for 251 yards, and Greg Dortch, 20 catches for 198 yards, it just hasn’t led to points often enough.
Arizona is in serious trouble if it isn’t able to improve at least one side of the ball. And if Murray suffers any sort of injury or gets banged up down the stretch, this team could fall apart very fast.
7. Las Vegas Raiders (0-3-0)
The 2022 season has certainly not started out the way Las Vegas hoped it would. They are the only team without a win so far but have lost all three games by a combined 13 points.
The most recent loss for a 24-22 defeat at the hands of the Titans who also entered the game without a victory.
The Raiders are confusing this year because all of the moves this offseason suggested that they would be a force on offense, yet that has not been the case.
They have particularly struggled in the red zone, where they have converted just 46.2 percent of their chances into touchdowns, the seventh-lowest rate in the league.
That was evident on Sunday when Las Vegas got to the red zone six times yet scored only two touchdowns. The playcalling in that area of the field has been awful, despite the fact that they have one of the best wide receivers in the game in Davante Adams.
The offense is going to need to score some more points in order to win games, especially with the defense struggling.
The Raiders have given up the eighth-most points this year and once again have one of the worst pass rushes in the league, recording a league-low two sacks in three games.
Las Vegas is clearly a much better team than its 0-3 record suggests but they need to start winning games now in order to still be a threat come the end of the season.
8. Seattle Seahawks (1-2-0)
In a matchup between two teams destined for the top of the 2023 NFL Draft, the Seahawks fell to the Falcons 27-23 on Sunday.
Seattle continues to be outmatched on the ground on both sides of the ball.
The Seahawks gave up 179 yards to running back Cordarrelle Patterson and Atlanta, bringing their season total to 471 yards allowed, which is tied for second worst in the league.
On offense, they actually had a decent output rushing for a season-high 112 yards. That accounts for half of their 224 rushing yards on the year, which is the fourth-fewest in the NFL.
It was obviously going to be tough for Seattle up front, especially on offense with a line bookended by rookie starters. But when Geno Smith is the quarterback, the offense has to rely on the ground game, or else it is going to get bad.
There probably isn’t much hope for Seattle for the rest of the season.
Although a few of the matchups should be winnable, the Seahawks aren’t going to earn a lot of victories this year, setting them up with a good draft pick as they continue the rebuild.
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