The AFC West was one of the weaker divisions in 2010 – not helped by the surprisingly poor showing by the San Diego Chargers, who self destructed into finish 9-7 from a schedule which should have seen them getting a 1st round bye. Still it was nice to see the Chiefs making progress and Oakland managed a rare divisional sweep despite finishing 8-8. 2011 looks like being just as interesting, however a tougher schedule means its unlikely that Kansas will be in the post season again.
1 San Diego Chargers – San Diego finished with the top ranked offense and defense in 2010 but a series of unaccountable errors left them 9-7 lamending what might have been had it not been for goal line fumbles. They have lost Shawn Merriman but that shouldn#t be too much of a problem given he has looked a bit out of sorts in the last couple of seasons and they have the depth and talent to overcome such things. They have been quiet on the free agency front, seming content with what they have got and with Floyd and Jackson now seemingly secored at Wide receiver there is no reason to beleive that Philip Rivers will not put up Pro Bowl numbers again this year. Their schedule is not overly taxing and they should hit the bye week at 4-1 and we expect them to finish at 12-4.
2 Kansas City Chiefs – The Chiefs are starting to look rather good, and although they still rely on proven veterans such as Mike Vrabel and Thomas Jones, they do have a lot of young talent coming through. Their 1st round draft pick Jon Baldwin will give Matt Cassel someone to throw to and in Jones and Jammal Charles they have the running game too. Overall its too much to expect them to repeat the division win however they could still have a winning season and we them to finish 9-7; not enough for a wild card but still credible and they could be a team to watch in 2012.
3 Oakland Raiders – The Raiders look to be on their way back too after the dismal years which followed their Superbowl loss to Tampa. We thought an 8-8 season was on the cards last year, however this year we feel the loss of Nnamdi Asomugha and Zach Miller has weakened the team. The signing of Kevin Boss is a bit of a help but we dont see any major impact from their 2011 draft choices and thing a 6-10 season beckons.
4 Denver Broncos – The return of John Elway will be a big boost to the Franchise, however it is unlikely to be enough to instantly turn around their fortunes. Still there is plenty to like about the Broncos with Tim Teebow and Kyle Orton giving them QB options, and the drafting of Vom Miller has strengthened the defense (although we think they should have taken Dareus). They have plenty of talent at WR and TE and if they can sort out the defense and their running game then they could pull off a few surprises in 2011. However we think this is a rebuilding season and a 5-11 finish is likely.