2016 AFC West Preview
2015 record: 7-9 (third in AFC West)
Key acquisitions: OL Kelechi Osemele; WR Bruce Irvin; CB Sean Smith
Key losses: NONE
W2W4: I get it, you are probably reading this and asking yourself, what the f*** is he thinking having the Raiders as the division winner? But, I seriously see them as a contender. The Raiders have a core group of young, athletic and talented guys as the skill positions and a QB with a cannon at the helm. Mix those aspects in with an improving defense, in a division projected to have a down year, and the Raiders being on the upswing, I think this is their opportunity to step back into the spotlight.
2015 record: 12-4 (Won AFC West, Super Bowl Champions)
Key acquisitions: QB Mark Sanchez?;
Key losses: TE Owen Daniels; QB Peyton Manning (Retirement); QB Brock Osweiler
W2W4: Hard to think of the reigning Super Bowl Champs as the non-favorite to repeat as the division champs, especially in the AFC West, but this is a quarterback driven league, and the Broncos right now do not have a proven option there. They will be the first team in NFL history to start a QB with zero career starts the season following a Super Bowl victory. The defense is still lethal, but they are going to spend a lot of time on the field, and we all know that is never good, especially when you play eight games a mile above sea level.
Kansas City Chiefs
2015 record: 11-5 (second in AFC West, wild card spot)
Key acquisitions: QB Nick Foles
Key losses: CB Sean Smith; S Husain Abdullah (Retirement);
W2W4: An admittedly obscure team to me, the Chiefs are the organization you know is there, but you don’t pay much attention too, unless you’re a fan. However, there in lies the problem, they were the quietest 11-5 team I’ve ever seen and their defense is no joke. Their problem – They are BORING. Last season, a wide receiver caught a TD pass for the first time since 2014, stats like that are just unheard of. However, they have proven to be a steady-eddy team, with a pretty balanced attack. My one major cause for concern is the health of their best player, Jamaal Charles. If Charles can stay healthy, they have a shot at the division.
San Diego Chargers
2015 record: 4-12 (fourth in AFC West)
Key acquisitions: DE Joey Bosa (FINALLY); WR Travis Benjamin;
Key losses: NONE
W2W4: The Chargers, who just a few years ago were one of the high-flying offenses in the league, are a mere afterthought now. While Philip Rivers appears to still be a quality fantasy football quarterback, he hasn’t done much on the field to help his team make the playoffs. While the Bolts didn’t lose anyone of importance, they didn’t get a heck of a lot better either. With the final signing of Joey Bosa to help bolster their defensive line and the signing of Travis Benjamin to help the WR core, they’ve begun to put the pieces in place, however, they aren’t there yet and it will be another down year for San Diego.
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