June 4, 2013 Leave a comment
This to me seems like a cut and dry division. The Broncos are head and shoulders above the competition. The other three teams in the division are very close to becoming competitive in their own rights, but are still far from the Broncos level.
Broncos– The Broncos finished 13-3 last year, and had the potential MVP in Peyton Manning. They also have Demaryius Thomas, who was outstanding while getting over 1,400 yards receiving. Then, in the off season they signed Wes Welker, another good receiver to compliment both Thomas and Decker. They also have a potential defensive player of the year in Von Miller who recorded 18.5 sacks last year. Lastly, they had one of the biggest steals in the draft by snagging Sylvester Williams with the 28th overall pick in the draft. Overall, the Broncos were great last year, and they seem to only be getting better.
Raiders– The Raiders are a team in the rebuilding stages. They went 4-12 last season, and struggled with their lack of quarterback play. They had an above average draft class, grabbing a 2nd round pick and taking Menelik Watson who has a huge upside and absolutely stealing Sio Moore and Tyler Wilson in the 3rd and 4th rounds. But in the end, I think they have some fatal flaws. They didn’t draft a defensive tackle until the 6th round, and as of right now appear as though they will still have struggles stopping the run. Plus, we don’t know how effective Matt Flynn will be as a first-year starter with a weak supporting cast around him. In the end, I see them making an improvement, but not much of one as they need to compete. It all depends on their run defense and Matt Flynn, if they step their games up they can get 8-10 wins, but we haven’t seen any evidence to show that they would improve drastically at those positions.
Chiefs– The Chiefs were the worst team in all of football last year, yet still managed to have six pro bowlers in 2013. I believe they are a few defensive players and a quarterback away from being a contending team in the weak AFC. They made a plethora of moves during the off-season, trading the 34th pick for Alex Smith, signing Sean Smith, Donnie Avery, Chase Daniel, Anthony Fasano, Dunta Robinson, and Mike Devito. These acquisitions clearly show that they are committed to winning and adding talent to positions of need. Their season to me depends on their defense and how well Alex Smith plays. Will we see the rookie from the 49ers or the Alex Smith of late? These are questions that won’t be answered until the season starts. I think the Chiefs have the potential to win 10 games, but with a new coach and new system in place it would be incredibly difficult. When all is said and done I see them being around 6-8 win team, with the new system and coach being considered. But who knows, they could shock us and even be a playoff team, the AFC wildcard is wide open.
Chargers– The Chargers are a team that is also in rebuilding stages. They need more players on defense, along with weapons to help out Philip Rivers. In my opinion that had the best first 3 rounds in the draft picking up: D.J Fluker, Manti Te’o, and stealing Keenan Allen in the 3rd. Unfortunately, they have both offensive and defensive struggles alike. They lacked a good offensive line to protect the shaky Philip Rivers, and they lacked viable weapons for Philip Rivers to throw to. Malcolm Floyd led their team in receptions with 56 and led in receiving yards with 814. And their leading rusher Ryan Mathews led the team with 707 rushing yards and only scoring one touchdown rushing. Their defense lacked in the play-making department as well. Shaun Philips led the team with 9.5 sacks, and Eric Weddle led their team in INT’s with only three. Fortunately, they made a change at coach from Norv Turner to Mike McCoy, but it’s hard for first year coaches to really make huge impacts. This team needs a lot of help, and although Philip Rivers has shown that he can be an elite quarterback, he hasn’t played like one for two years. Their defense has been lacking to say the least. Last year they went 7-9, so I don’t see them being a whole lot better the first year, but if they can fix their defense, and Philip Rivers can get out of his funk, they could easily be finish 2nd in the AFC West.
Overall, this is not a great division. The Broncos are very good and have only improved, but the other teams are in rebuilding stages. The Chargers, Chiefs or Raiders could surprise us, but I think they need more talent still. You can’t predict injuries, improvements, and a plethora of things until the season actually starts.