AFC West is a Division of Dark Horses

Posted: May 16, 2013 in NFL, Sports
Tags: , , , , , ,

We all know that the Broncos sit atop the AFC West. Heck, after their off season they may sit atop the entire AFC, but don’t write off the rest of the division just yet. The Kansas City Chiefs are coming off the NFL’s worst record in 2012 but following a strong offseason the Chiefs could be in position to worst to…fifth seed in the playoffs, just as the Colts did last year.
Brandon Albert gets to stay at LT, but the right side gets stronger with Eric Fisher. The weapons are there on offense, the defense boasts 5 pro bowlers and an improved D-Line and secondary. Not to mention the chip Alex Smith and Andy Reid are carrying on their shoulders after being ousted from their longtime homes. This is a team with a lot of talent and a lot to prove.

The Chargers are the awkward middle child of the AFC West’s non-Broncos teams. I’m really not sure how good or bad this team is. The offseason has been promising, a new head coach and QB guru to help Philip Rivers get his groove back, some talented rookies at key positions, including Manti Te’o at ILB, DJ Fluker at OT and Keenan Allen joins an already formidable (or at least very tall) group of WR’s (Robert Meachem and Allen are both 6’2, and last season’s starters Danario Alexander and Malcolm Floyd are both 6’5.) The Chargers also filled some holes in free agency, signing CB Derek Cox and bolstering the offensive line with the addition of OT King Dunlap (okay so this may be more of a lateral move, but they’re trying.) The offseason acquisition that really interests me though is RB Danny Woodhead. A fan favorite in New England I’d like to see Woodhead take on a bigger role in San Diego where he’ll be sharing the back field with Ryan Matthews, and Jackie Battle. I think the Chargers could really surprise some people this year, or they could fall apart the same as previous seasons.

Finally we reach the Raiders, the darkest of dark horses. No one’s expecting much of the Raiders this year, and rightfully so, but they still deserves some recognition. This is a team that finally seems to be rebuilding the right way. They spent some money in free agency, they got their guy in the draft and picked up some extra piks in doing so and they should feel good about the direction the team is headed in. Carson Palmer is gone, replaced by 3 young QB’s who each bring a unique skill set to the table. The WR situation is unique in that Oakland seems to have a revolving door at the position, each years draft class replacing the last. Denarius Moore leads the pack, and I’m looking for last years undrafted free agent acquisition Rod Streater to step up into that #2 spot leaving Jacoby Ford and Juron Criner to round out the line up…I also wouldn’t rule out giving Brandon Lloyd a call to bolster the group and provide a veteran presence. Darren McFadden needs to return to form after a rough 2012, and theirs a lot of other pieces that need to fall in place for the Raiders to get anywhere this year, but I think this is a team that can feel good about it’s future, and just maybe that will inspire enough confidence for the Raiders to make some noise.

The bottom line is the AFC West may not be as strong as it’s NFC counter part, but I’m really looking forward to seeing these teams play this year, and that’s got to count for something.

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