The AFC West looks a strange division again this season with it being by far the weakest in the AFC , however the Super Bowl winner could easily come out of it. With what looks like the easiest schedule in the NFL this season it will be one of the biggest upsets of all time if the San Diego Chargers don’t win it, however any of the other three could realistically finish second.
The San Diego Chargers finished 13-3 last season and won their last 11 regular season games including hard fought wins at Dallas and the NY Giants, however once again they choked in the post season losing to the NY Jets 17-14. They have rang the changes big style in the close season offloading 7 veterans including Tweet Happy Antonio Cromante and La Danian Tomlinson, and signing a couple of journeyman corners. This is not a major problem for the Chargers though as they have filled the gaps pretty well in the draft, and have resigned their key free agents. The Vincent Jackson side show will remain a distraction, however with a pretty easy schedule they should go 12-4 at least and take the division with ease and possibly home field advantage.
The Oakland Raiders have been a bit of a shambles since their Super Bowl loss to Tampa back in 2003 and it is not Say to build a case for them in 2010, however someone has to finish second and finally they might just be good enough. The addition of Kyle Boller and probable starter Jason Campbell may finally bring a bit of stability at QB following the Ja Marcus Russell debacle, and they have upgraded their defense with the drafting of Ronaldo McClain & Lamarr Houston. However they still look fragile on offense and cant expect Darren McFadden to win the games for them single handily. Strange though it sounds given its the Raiders we are talking about they have drafted well this year and defensively at least they should be quite solid.
Unfortunately with no offensive line to speak of apart from two promising rookies and with no weapons out wide for Jason Campbell its hard to see how they can make much of a step up. They could challenge Denver for second place and we are just giving them the edge.
The Denver Broncos have started their last two seasons like potential playoff teams, only to fade disastrously in the second half. This has to be due to their wafer thin squad and with more leaving than arrived in free agency it is hard to see how they can improve things. The Defensive line still looks weak to me and adding a couple of decent veterans is not the answer given Williams is now 34 and it is questionable as to how much more punishment he can take. With the D line looking so poor it is strange that they chose to pass up on all the talent available, using two 1st round picks on offense. Both Thomas and Decker should see some action though and with Brandon Marshall and Tony Scheffler they will get plenty of chances to shine. This could be a disapointing season for Broncos fans and they could easily slump to third.
The Kansas City Chiefs seem to be in perpetual rebuilding mode of late, however slowly but surely they are laying the foundations of potential success. They did well in the draft picking up Eric Berry who looks promising and in Dexter McCluster they have a serious threat out wide. Ryan Lilja and Thomas Jones will bring leadership and experience to the team, with both being used to winning which will instill a bit more fire in the team hopefully.
The Chiefs will certainly be able to run the ball with the Jomes Charles combination looking quite exciting and they have a decent QB in Matt Cassells so with a lot of luck they could be a 7-9 team. In this company they could easily finish 2nd or third, but we just feel they will need another nice early draft pick next year before they can move off the bottom.
Overall expected finishing positions
1. San Diego Chargers
2. Oakland raiders
3. Denver Broncos
4. Kansas City Chiefs.