2013 NFL Preview – AFC West – Broncos, Chiefs, Raiders, Chargers

Today’s post continues our 2013 NFL preview and predictions with a look at the AFC West division. The post today will be a bit of a different layout than we had in the past writings, however, as we will just write flat out about the layout of the division due to the lack of overall competiton we expect here. 

This division should go to no one else other than the Denver Broncos. The Broncos are clearly the best team in the division, if not the best team in the league. With Peyton Manning at the helm needing to prove that he can win big games, and having the addition of WR Wes Welker from New England in the offseason, as well as the development of WR Eric Decker and WR Demarious Thomas over the last few seasons along with a top-tier defense, the Broncos should roll through the AFC West rather easily. We see the team going 13-3, being #1 in the AFC playoffs and getting to SuperBowl 48 to play the San Francisco 49ers. Oh, and to make it even scarier for the rest of the division and the NFL as a whole, Manning now has 3 RBs he can hand it off to, including a big, bruising back in Montee Ball, the one offensive weapon Manning has never truly had in his career. 

In the rest of the division, its going to be a big crapshoot to see who is going to be legitimate this year. The second place team looks to possibly be the Kansas City Chiefs. The Chiefs underwent so much last year with the situation with Jovan Belcher and never really getting good traction in the league. But they have undergone massive change in KC by bringing in new Head Coach Andy Reid from the Philadelphia Eagles, and the arrival of Quarterback Alex Smith from the San Francisco 49ers, the Chiefs should have a strong offensive unit, which has been anchored by RB Jamal Charles and WR Dwayne Bowe. 

Where the Chiefs will most likely have their best success will be in the defensive game with Tamba Hali, Eric Berry and Derrick Johnson anchoring the unit. The Chiefs are on the rise, overall and should be a possible wildcard contender, but Alex Smith will need to show that he can elevate talent to a higher level and be a strong leader on the field, as well as instill confidence in the rest of the team. In his time in San Francisco, there was always the threat of him losing his job, now, that threat is completely gone as he is definitely the guy now. 

To me, the San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders are in the same boat right now for looking for franchise pieces. The Chargers have to find out if Philip Rivers is going to be the main guy going forward in San Diego. He has thrown for 3,000 and 4,000 yards before in his career, but they haven’t helped the overall development of the organization. RB Ryan Matthews is a nice piece but has to stay healthy. TE Antonio Gates is a stud but in order for him to finally win in the league, he may need to get to a change of scenery soon, just so that he will have a legitimate chance at winning a SuperBowl at some point soon. Gates has been one of the best TEs in the league since 2000 and he has put up outstanding – possibly Hall-of-Fame numbers, but no championships or deep playoff runs to show for it. 

The Raiders are in the same position. The team signed QB Matt Flynn from Seattle in the offseason, basically due to the fact that they needed someone to fill that void that was used by QB Carson Palmer, who was a fill-in himself when he was there. The Raiders can not succeed without someone there who will be a true franchise quarterback and Flynn is not that guy. He has made most of the his money off of a 500 yard passing game against Detroit 2 seasons ago in the last game of the season where Detroit wasn’t really working that hard and was getting ready for the playoffs. Flynn was ousted for the starting spot in Seattle by rookie QB Russell Wilson in training camp last year and that was the end of Flynn in Seattle before he even got started. 

The best things to see about the Raiders this season is if RB Darren McFadden can help out your fantasy team and the Charles Woodson retirement tour. 

That’s our view on the AFC West! Catch you all later! 

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