After a few years of being a putrid division the AFC West has finally gained steam. Denver is strong. The Chiefs are monstrous. And San Diego is Charging. Outside of the Oakland Raiders this division is pretty tough and filled with competition.
As a sports fan I want the Raiders to be good. I feel like it would be beneficial for the league if they were but as it stands they aren’t. This offseason in free agency they had a ridiculous amount of cap space and with it they picked up Justin Tuck and James Jones. A bit of a disappointment for them but improvements nonetheless. They also traded away Terrell Pryor and got Matt Schaub so a bit of a change up at the QB position. Outside of Michael Huff Tuck, James Jones and Charles Woodson I don’t see a single positive thing about this team. They got Maurice Jones-Drew who has been on the downside of his career and Darren McFadden who has yet to even play half a season. I can’t bring myself to say they have a chance at beating anyone in the division in a single game. Raiders will end the season with a pitiful 2-14 record and which’ll finish last in the division.
Kansas City Chiefs:
Many of you might be wondering why I have the Chiefs here. Last year the Chiefs were a top 5 defense, had the best RB for the year and had a great coach in Andy Reid. Now let’s look at what they actually did.
They failed to beat a single team that was over .500. To add on to that most of the teams they beat were beaten down at the QB position; facing backups in most of those wins. Jamaal Charles has had many problems staying healthy in past years and defenses will be locked in on him as he was their primary source of offense in passing and rushing the ball last year. And if they do happen to lockdown Charles it falls on Alex Smith to win the game. Alex Smith is a game manager and he is great at it, because he will more than likely never be a reason you lost a game. The problem is however, is that he can’t win you a game either.
I believe the defense will be solid, but last year teams were able to drop 40+ on them so their defense isn’t lockdown. I honestly don’t think they’ll have a chance this year with defenses locking into Jamal Charles. I have them going 8-8; barely missing the playoffs and finishing 3rd in the division.
San Diego Chargers:
This team made some noise last year and if they get one stop at the end of their Divisional Round Playoff game against the Broncos we might be talking about a very different Super Bowl inregards to last year. With that being said for a couple of years now Philip Rivers has been stuck throwing to guys I’ve never heard of and an aging Antonio Gates. Until last year when San Diego snatched a guy named Keenan Allen in last years draft. Keenan made the most of his opportunities and became one of seven guys to ever get a 1,000 receiving yards in their rookie season. He’s a very underrated guy and should be mentioned more in debates of future receivers because he is a stud. Philip Rivers finally got some useful weapons and used them to perfection.
He was quietly the 5th best QB last year and I believe he does the same this year. He has Danny Woodhead who was used multiple times as a receiver out of the backfield a veteran in Antonio gates at TE, Keenan Allen a rookie on the rise and Ryan Matthews who hasn’t quite lived up to expectations but is a 1,000yd rusher regardless. Their defense hasn’t been great but it isn’t bad either. I can’t remember the last time their defense lost them games. I have them going 10-6 placing second in the division and snatching a playoff spot for the 2nd year in a row.
This here is a no-brainer. The Denver Broncos still have Peyton Manning at the helm which means it’s championship or bust for them once again this year. All of us saw this team humbled, beat down, bullied, whatever you want to call that atrocity in the Super Bowl. The blueprint is out. Play the Broncos rough and they’ll back down. I’ve seen it already happen against the Texans this preseason with Manning getting in the face of a guy after the guy popped Wes Welker into another concussion, getting an unnecessary penalty call. While I do like to see Peyton show some emotion on the field it makes you wonder if other teams are taking note of how they can get into the psyche of the Denver Broncos.
They lost Knowshon Moreno who had his best year last year to the Miami Dolphins and they also lost Eric Decker who had become a very solid WR for them to the Jets. They picked up Demarcus Ware from the Cowboys and I’m a bit skeptical of the move after seeing him be a no-show for many games for the Dallas Cowboys due to injury and age. They also got a solid corner from the rival Patriots, Aquib Talib. Only problem is the fact that every game it seems like you need him he isn’t there and gets some kind of injury. Nonetheless the Broncos have one thing nobody else has and that is the greatest regular season QB of all time.
Peyton Manning will do this year what he has done for the past decade and that is be surgeon by picking apart opposing defenses. I expect him to not have the record breaking season but to end the season 2nd in the MVP race. (we’ll get to who I think will later. ) The Broncos will finish this season 13-3 taking the division title and earning themselves a first round bye in the playoffs.
AFC South Preview: (http://wp.me/p33YLP-iM)
AFC North Preview:
AFC East Preview: (http://wp.me/p33YLP-iw)