Sunday, August 14, 2011

NFL Preseason Predictions! Part 3: The Monotonous AFC West

They're not that good...but they're also not that bad. Meet the 2011 AFC West Division.

1. Kansas City Chiefs 10-6

Just look at their options in the running game. Jamaal Charles, a speedy back who can score at any point in time, Thomas Jones, Dexter McCluster, and recently added power back Le'Ron McClain. That's ridiculous. Matt Cassel has a few more options at receiver other than Dwyane Bowe, with the talented Steve Breaston and rookie Jonathan Baldwin. Eric Berry, Javier Arenas, and Brandon Flowers lead the young but gifted secondary, which should show an improvement with some more experience under its belt. Glenn Dorsey and Tyson Jackson will provide the pressure up front, and the linebacking core, while below average, has some potential as well. A much better team all around, which could mean a big year in KC.

Final Prediction: Loss in Divisional Round

2. San Diego Chargers 6-10

Now that Darren Sproles is gone, it's completely up to Ryan Matthews to keep the running game alive. This is finally a chance for Matthews to live up to his hype and produce some offense for the Chargers on the ground. Phillip Rivers will continue to play well with Vincent Jackson, Malcom Floyd, and Antonio Gates catching the ball. The Bolts defense aren't as good talent-wise as they normally are, so don't expect many forced turnovers or sacks this year. Overall, San Diego is solid team with a lot of work left to do. We'll see what Norv Turner can put together this year but I think it'll be a tough road to the playoffs.

Final Prediction: Miss Playoffs

3. Denver Broncos 6-10

There are so many different scenarios that could happen in Denver, I just don't know where to start. The Broncos' identity rests with its quarterback, who's yet to be named. Kyle Orton is the front runner for now, but Tim Tebow is quickly gaining attention from both the media and the fans. He's got the intangibles to be an elite quarterback, but the arm accuracy and decision making needs work. With experience, he'll acquire both. Orton, on the other hand, will give Denver a better chance to make the playoffs this year as a guy who's started plenty of games and possesses the skills (just barely) to take the Broncos to the postseason. He's not a playmaker, he's not a home-run threat, and he's not going to sell stadium tickets, but he can get the job done. Tebow's upside far outweighs Orton's, but if John Fox is looking for consistency, he'll take Orton as the starter. Whoever does get the job will have plenty of targets to throw to with Brandon Lloyd and Eddie Royal, plus a solid backfield with Knowshon Moreno, Willis McGahee, and LenDale White. The Broncos took a big step forward at the linebacker position when they drafted Von Miller with the second overall pick, and he'll work well alongside Elvis Dumervil and Champ Bailey as the leaders of this defense. It won't be an amazing year for the Broncos, but you may see flashes of brilliance periodically.

Final Prediction: Miss Playoffs

4. Oakland Raiders 4-12

Jason Campbell at QB. Eh. Darren McFadden at RB. Okay. Darius Heyward-Bey at receiver. Blah. Another poor year is in the mix for Oakland, who made zero good picks in the draft and didn't do much in free agency. Every team's success starts with solid ownership and management, two things the poor Raiders lack. The defense has some young talent, but it won't be able to handle the Patriots, Packers, or Jets this season. Until Oakland makes some changes at corporate, they won't see any changes on the field.

Final Prediction: Miss Playoffs

Alas, we are DONE with the AFC. Next up, the notorious NFC, which consists of the reigning Super Bowl Champions, what some have been calling a "dream team", and rising clubs determined to make names of themselves.

Thanks for reading and don't forget to vote on the poll!


Anonymous said...

whoa whoa whoa buddy! hold up... 6-10 for the Chargers??? I know Sproles is gone, but do you not remember that the Chargers are also notorious for coming back in the end? Come on... you should have at least given them a season of 7-9!!!

P.S. You should have more choices for the pole...(Chargers...). Like we say every year: "We'll get it next year!"

airdisch said...

The Chargers are also notorious for failing miserably in the playoffs...there's a reason the saying is "we'll get it next year" because the Chargers never get it THIS year.

But I think I will add more choices for the poll.

Anonymous said...

Yeah yeah need to rub it in my face :)

airdisch said...

Haha all you need is another playmaker on offense and a couple more pieces to your defense and you'll be alright. Norv is a good coach so it won't be a terrible year...San Diego just doesn't have an easy schedule at all.