AFC West Predictions
San Diego Chargers (10-6)
LT is gone. Vincent Jackson is trying to join him. Shawne Merriman is worried more about his Madden stats than becoming productive. That said, the Chargers just have way too much talent to not win the AFC West. Ryan Mathews will be an excellent partner for Darren Sproles and the defense will be buffeted with the addition of Donald Butler. It will all come down to nerves and execution in the playoffs, which isn’t music to a San Diegan set of ears.
Kansas City Chiefs (8-8)
Crennel and Weis will bring some gravitas to a team that hasn’t done much since Dick Vermeil left town. Will they have the players to duplicate their magical run in New England? Matt Cassel is a legit QB, and with new additions Dexter McCluster and Tony Moeaki, he might be able to show it. Jon Asamoah will be critical in upgrading the Chiefs improving, but below-average offensive line. Eric Berry needs to make plays early and often for Romeo’s 3-4 to stand up to the elite AFC offensive attacks.
Few teams had as high of profile off-season as the Broncos. They traded Brandon Marshall and Tony Scheffler, getting value for the former and peanuts for the latter. They drafted the most well-known college football player maybe ever in Tim Tebow, while also trading for Brady Quinn. Those are some pretty well known names to, at this point, hold clipboards for Kyle Orton. Two guys will try and fill Brandon Marshall’s mouthy shoes: Demaryius Thomas, who is not known for his route-running acumen, and Eric Decker, who is. A defense that had some trouble with the run did little to get better, but the Bronco’s pass defense should be tough again, adding two intriguing corners in Perrish Cox and a NEPD favorite Syd’Quan Thompson.
Raider fans have been clamoring for a “real” quarterback since the departure of Rich Gannon, smarting for years and years as JaMarcus Russell, Daunte Culpepper, etc… slung their playoff hopes into row twelve. They now have Jason Campbell, and where he will end up on the continuum between Gannon and Russell is anyone’s guess. What we do know is that Raiders added some intriguing parts to try and shore up their porous run defense and offense. Two young offensive tackles in Campbell and Veldheer hold a lot of promise for the future, while 1st-round linebacker Rolando McClain and defensive tackle Lamarr Houston played at the highest level in college.