NFL Predictions AFC West

Kansas City Chiefs

Patrick Mahomes

As much as it pains me to say this, the Chiefs are yet again going to be a top team in the league this season. After a rollercoaster of a season a year ago, starting with Mahomes dislocating his knee cap, to clinching the 2nd seed in the AFC, and lastly Winning the Super bowl. This team keeps getting better and better with Andy Reid calling the shots on offense and Patrick Mahomes, well you know the story with him. How can this offense be stopped? I will tell you they can’t!!! The scariest part was when the Chiefs drafted Clyde Edwards-Helaire they got even better on offense, which I didn’t think was possible. He is going to be Mahomes secret weapon this upcoming season, a back who has great hands and elusiveness. If Tyreek Hill or Travis Kelce are covered downfield look for Mahomes to check it down to the young rookie and watch him avoid tackles and fly up the field, just like he did for LSU. Teams around the league will ultimately have to out score this team to beat them. Which we saw a couple years ago when they had a shootout with the Rams, with the final score being 54-51 in favor of the Rams. What an awesome game that was to watch! The defense, on the other hand, was good at times and really bad! The second half of the season, and in the playoffs they were a topped ranked defense. But at the beginning of the year they struggled with stopping the run, and getting pressure on opposing teams quarterbacks. They will look to lean on the shoulders of Chris Jones, and Tyrann Mathieu. Offensively, they will be the best in the league again, but defense will be the major question surrounding this team, and could be the reason for no repeat!

Record Prediction: 13-3

Los Angeles Chargers

Joey Bosa

The Chargers are about to be a scary good team in the future, I’m calling it now! If you break this team down they have talent all over the place. On defense, they have Joey Bosa who is an absolute nightmare for opposing teams quarterbacks with 11.5 sacks a year ago. Casey Heyward, Chris Harris, and Michael Davis are arguably the best trio of corners in the division. Heyward is the leader of that group and is basically to the point where opposing quarterbacks will not throw to his side. We also can’t forget about Derwin James, one of the top young safety’s in the game. James was selected to the Pro Bowl in 2018 which was his rookie season, but due to injuries missed most of the season in 2019. The Chargers plan to use him all over the place this upcoming season and he will be one of the main leaders on their defense. Looking at the other side of the ball, they still have some work to do. The main focus will be who is under center Tyrod Taylor or Justin Herbert? My opinion is that they will do exactly what the Browns did with Taylor and Baker Mayfield. Taylor will start the season, and they will transition Herbert under center after a few weeks. Herbert is a big guy (6’6), who has a very strong arm, solid pocket passer, and is not afraid to tuck it and run. Not to mention the Chargers have some very good players to go around either Taylor or Herbert. Keenan Allen, Mike Williams, Austin Ekeler, and Hunter Henry, are dangerous in the open space when they get the football. As you can see they have many good pieces, the next step is just putting them all together!

Record Prediction: 7-9

Las Vegas Raiders

Derek Carr

Big offseason for the Raiders moving from Oakland to Las Vegas. Just that move alone should worry Raider fans. The night life, gambling, parting, will all of that be a major concern this season? My opinion is yes, you have many young players who have never had the type of money that they have now, and with those temptations many players could make some poor decisions. Sure many teams are located in big cities like LA or Miami, but Vegas is a different monster. Looking at the roster this season the Raiders have been very active on both sides of the ball. On defense, adding Nick Kwiatkoski and Cory Littleton boost up the middle of the defense where they struggled a year ago. On offense adding depth out wide was the main focus. They signed Nelson Agholor and drafted Henry Ruggs III. Both guys are going to be key with the downfield success. Tyrell Williams and Darren Waller were the most productive pass catchers last season for Carr. Waller was Carr’s favorite target with 1,145 receiving yards on 90 receptions. However, another offseason move the Raiders made was signing free agent quarterback Marcus Mariota. The former number two overall pick gets a fresh start with the Raiders. What does that mean for Derek Carr? We Know that his relationship with head coach Jon Gruden is not perfect, and Gruden has always thought very highly of Mariota. I think this means Carr is on a short leash. Gruden will not be afraid to hand the job over to Mariota. I believe Carr will win the starting job, but he will have to perform well each and every week or he will be benched. With the additions they have made, and having Josh Jacobs who ran for 1,150 yards his rookie season, they will be a sleeper team in the division. They still do not have enough fire power to dethrone the Chiefs, but each year under Gruden the roster is getting better and better.

Record Prediction: 8-8

Denver Broncos

Drew Lock

Watch out folks the Drew Lock Saga has officially began. Lock is under center and fans should be excited. He started 5 games last season and went 4-1, only losing to the Kansas City Chiefs. Lock is the real deal and has weapons all around him. Starting with Courtland Sutton who had 1,112 receiving yards a season ago. Noah Fant was the Broncos first round pick in 2019. He ended the season strong and will look to be a major contributor in the upcoming season. But this team doesn’t just stop with those two, they drafted Jerry Jeudy and KJ Hamler with some saying that Jeudy is the best receiver in the 2020 draft class. Look for both of these guys to be major targets downfield for Lock. The Broncos added depth in the run game when they signed Melvin Gordon. Gordon is a great runner and pass catcher, he will fit in perfect with the scheme new offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur likes to run. Shurmur likes to spread it out and beat teams downfield, which is something Lock did well with when he was in college. The Broncos are ready to score a ton of points on opposing teams defenses the offensive line does a better job of opening the running lanes and protecting Lock. The Broncos also have a top 10 defense lead by Vic Fangio, a brilliant defensive minded head coach. All Pro Von Miller is the captain of the Broncos defense and will look to build off his 8 sacks he had a year ago . If the offense can put points on the board and get a lead I have no doubt in my mind this defense can hold the lead for the Broncos. The Broncos are the real deal and are in line for a solid season.

Record Prediction: 9-7

Division Breakdown

It’s no secret the division is still ran through Kansas City. The Chiefs will yet again win the division and will be a heavy favorite to win the Super Bowl. However, they should be looking over their shoulder a little bit because the Broncos will be the biggest threat to the Chiefs this season. With a loaded defense and a young up-and-coming offense this team is beginning to look scary good. If John Elway finally hit a homerun with Drew Lock and he isn’t a bust, this team should be in the mix of playoff talk. As for the Chargers and Raiders, I think they have solid seasons but are still a year or so out of playoff talk. Most look at this division and call it weak, but all four teams have revamped their rosters and are loaded with young superstars! In a couple more seasons the AFC West will be the toughest division in football. You heard it here first!

Last Division next week: AFC East

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