The AFC West has been one of the most cut-and-dry divisions in recent years, with the Kansas City Chiefs continuously taking home the crown, but this is the NFL, and you never know what will happen.
Here are our bold predictions for how the division will play out.
- Denver Broncos
Things can’t be worse for the Denver Broncos than in 2022. Nathaniel Hackett was a laughing stock, Russell Wilson looked like a shell of himself, and the roster went down with the ship. Well, now they have a clean slate, and I expect Sean Payton to come in and maximize this roster. Still, it all comes down to Wilson. If he is the same quarterback as last year? As a competitor, I expect a significant improvement from him. He may not be elite, but in Payton’s system, he’ll put the Broncos in a position to win games. He has a talented group of weapons around him and a solid offensive line that will have this offense running like a well-oiled machine. They don’t have anything to worry about defensively, so if Payton does his job with the crime, this is a playoff team despite being in a crowded AFC.
- Las Vegas Raiders
Josh McDaniels Fired Midseason
The Las Vegas Raiders shouldn’t be a bad team. Jimmy Garoppolo isn’t a liability, Josh Jacobs and Davante Adams are stars, and the defense should be slightly improved. However, while we expect Payton to elevate a struggling Broncos team, we already have a sample from Josh McDaniels in Vegas, and it wasn’t pretty. The Raiders are the worst team in the division, and given their rough schedule, they will need a creative offensive mind to get the most out of their “game manager” quarterback. Nothing about the 2022 Raiders offense was innovative. While the Raiders might not be a dumpster fire, they’ll not show any progress as a team, resulting in Mark Davis letting his head coach go before the end of the year.
- Los Angeles Chargers
Number 1 Offense in the AFC
My expectations are through the roof for this LA Chargers’ offense. We’ve been waiting for the official “leap” from Justin Herbert, and now, with Kellen Moore in as offense, I believe he can take Herbert and this offense to another level. To start, the talent surrounding him is unquestionable. Keenan Allen, Mike Williams, Quentin Johnston, and Joshua Palmer create the deepest receiving room in football, and we’re not even talking about what Austin Ekeler brings to this team. Injuries have been a problem for this group in recent years, but they can’t get hurt yearly, right? With Herbert’s brand new contract, he’ll live up to it immediately.
- Kansas City Chiefs
Lack of Wide Receiver Depth Finally Catches Up
Travis Kelce and Patrick Mahomes do wonders for this Kansas City Chiefs offense, but they’ll need to find a receiver to replace Tyreek Hill eventually. Last year, JuJu Smith-Schuster wasn’t great, but you knew what you were getting. He brought reliable production, but with him gone, there is nothing reliable about this Chiefs receiving room. Who is their top wide receiver? Marquez Valdes-Scantling is nothing more than a deep threat, Kadarius Toney is always hurt, Skyy Moore struggled as a rookie, Richie James is nothing special, and Rashee Rice is a rookie. Mahomes is Mahomes, and he’ll be able to make any receiver better, but they can’t seriously put these receivers on the field and expect consistency. They’re throwing darts blindly and hoping for a bullseye. Maybe one will hit, but I expect the Chiefs to need to trade for a wide receiver midseason as this group struggles.
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