The AFC West had an argument last season that they were the best division in the NFL, with the Los Angeles Chargers and Kansas City Chiefs both finishing 12-4. In fact, the 12-4 records were the two best in all of the AFC. When you have two teams finish so well, though, that generally means the other two weren’t so hot. That was definitely the case in the West last year as the Denver Broncos finished at 6-10 and the Oakland Raiders finished a paltry 4-12. Will we see the same outcome this year or is a shakeup in store?
As much as I like Jon Gruden and respect him as a coach, he is playing the long game for the Oakland Raiders. Mark Davis, son of legendary owner Al Davis, has given the keys to the kingdom to Gruden along with a 10-year contract to rebuild this once fearsome franchise! He immediately made big moves last year by releasing stars Amari Cooper and Khalil Mack. It showed on the field as there were no playmakers and their record took a beating. Gruden has turned around and picked up Antonio Brown and Vontaze Burfict along with a strong draft class to begin the rebuild. Expect the Las Vegas Raiders to be strong but the Oakland Raiders of this year will struggle once again. The Elldee Sports Formula is predicting a 2-win season, much to the dismay of the Black Hole.
The Denver Broncos are hoping to regain their Super Bowl form from 4 years ago. Their one major problem that is preventing them from achieving that is QB play. They hoped that Case Keenum would be the answer but that clearly did not work out and have parted ways after only one season. They have decided to bring in Joe Flacco from the Baltimore Ravens but Joe hasn’t been much more than a game manager for the past few seasons and I don’t know if he is really going to bring much change in the Mile High City. Outside of the quarterback, this team didn’t make any earth shattering moves from a 6-win squad and the Elldee Sports Formula is predicting only a one game increase from last year. At 7-9, the Broncos will once again miss the playoffs.
Kansas City and Coach Andy Reid have been on fire as of late. Led by sensational quarterback Patrick Mahomes, the Chiefs hope to continue to improve offensively. They led the league in points per game last year as they were able to effectively balance the passing attack with a strong rushing game. In fact, over the last three seasons, this offense has consistently climbed the statistical rankings. The other side of the ball has not fared as well, though, as the defense has fallen in the rankings just as fast as the offense has risen. The overall defense has dropped from 24th to 28th and finally to 31st last year. After finishing tops in the division last year, they now get a much more difficult schedule and that porous defense will be exposed even more during the regular season. Elldee Sports is predicting a 9-7 record this year and also predicting the Chiefs to miss the playoffs.
Things are looking sunny in California for the Los Angeles Chargers. Unlike their rivals in Kansas City, the Chargers have an offense and defense that are both ranked in the top 10 of the NFL. Phillip Rivers and Keenan Allen lead an all-star cast on offense. The running game may take a ding if management and Melvin Gordon cannot come to an agreement but I wouldn’t worry too much about that as negotiations appear to be moving forward. The defense will be anchored by a monster D-line consisting of Melvin Ingram, Joey Bosa, and Brandon Mebane. The schedule sets up nicely for this crew and they will win the AFC West with a 13-3 record.
The AFC West will be represented by the LA Chargers as the #4 seed. Kansas City, coming off of a 12-win season will fail to make the playoffs but still finish 2nd in the division. The Denver Broncos will improve and finish one game better than last year at 7-9. Oakland will round out the West with a 2-win season but expect a bright future once they get to Vegas. Until next time, good luck.