The AFC West has provided the conference Superbowl representative for the last two seasons running and there is a very good chance they complete the hat-trick. However, are the Chiefs head & shoulders above the rest or is the gap closing. Even within the division, this could be the case, but we think it will be another season before they are dethroned.
If Kansas City had one weakness last year it was on the Offensive Line, and that was cruelly exposed in the Superbowl. Injuries to key players and lack of depth here contributed to their poor showing and they have made some moves to address this. Adding Joe Thuney (even at an eyewatering cap number) was essential given Eric Fisher has gone. They look likely to start a couple of rookies.
The Chargers will be the hype pick, thanks to Justin Herbert’s excellent rookie season. There is talent all over the roster however their season will really depend on Herbert not having a Sophomore slump.
The Broncos look to have the division’s best defense, however, their QB situation is still a bit of a concern. If they get that right then they could be playoff-bound as they have some talented receivers and a couple of very good running backs.
The Raiders remain a bit of an enigma. They can put up points on most teams, but their defense needs to step up. They drafted five players that side of the ball this year, however, none look like day one starters. In a division with high octane offenses, this could be their undoing.
Whatever we do expect tall the teams to win their fair share of games.
AFC West Predicted Finish.
1st Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs are one of the best all-round teams in the NFL. Andy Reid is one of the best coaches around and of course, they have Patrick Maholmes at QB. Those two alone would make any team competitive. If they have a chink in their armour this year it will be having to start two rookies on the offensive line.
Second-round pick Creed Humphery from Oklahoma and sixth-rounder Trey Smith will have to adjust to the NFL quickly and with the Browns & Ravens to open it will be a baptism of fire!
Still, $80m dollar man Joe Thuney is a great addition and with a solid receiving lineup and a good running game they should have another deep postseason run.
2nd LA Chargers
The Chargers finished the season strongly in 2020 winning their last four games and despite some changes look stronger this year. They have addressed their Ol weaknesses, drafting Rashawn Slater and signing Corey Lindsey.
Is Jared Cook is an adequate replacement for Hunter Henry at TE and is there enough depth at running back are questions we have. Otherwise, they look good enough to step up on last seasons efforts and earn double-digit wins.
3rd Denver Broncos
If the Broncos had managed to entice a veteran QB in the summer (think Aaron Rodgers) then we might have had them really challenging the Chiefs. However, they will start either Teddy Bridgewater or 2019 2nd round draft pick Drew Lock who was uninspiring last year. However, if either manages to step up the Broncos will be good. Their running game will benefit from the addition of Javonte Williams and they have plenty of receiving options.
Their defense coached by Vic Fangio looks stacked! The secondary was massively improved with the signings of Ronald Darby & Kyle Fuller and they drafted Patrick Surtain II. With lockdown corners and a ferocious pass rush combo of Von Miller & Bradley Chubb, they are going to be a handful for any offense.
They could be the surprise team of the season and we can see them on the playoff fringes.
4th LV Raiders
It is hard to fathom the Raiders, hence we have them pegged here. They have some talent but it never seems to gel completely. They struggled offensively last year despite Derek carr doing his bit with over 4100 yards passing. When your leading receiver is a TE you know that you have problems but despite this they let Nelson Aghohor walk in free agency.
Most of their draft & free agency efforts was directed towards the defense, which should be good, however, you need to score points to win. If we are wrong and their offense picks up then they too should be pushing for the playoffs.
Overall the AFC West should be fun to watch in 2021.
AFC North Final Wins Total
Kansas City Chiefs 12-5
LA Chargers 10-7
Denver Broncos 9-8
LV Raiders 8-9
So there you have it our predictions for the AFC West which looks like being dominated by the Chiefs as long as their offensive line performs.
While you are here why not check out our other AFC West Posts or have a go at some of our NFL Quizzes. Go on have a go and don’t forget to share?