2011 AFC West Preview & Predictions
The Chargers are notorious under-achievers, but I think this is the year they finally live up to all the hype and talent level. Philip Rivers is a top 5 quarterback in the NFL and he has plenty of weapons to work with. Malcolm Floyd and Vincent Jackson are big receivers who pose substantial mis-matches for opposing defenses. Couple that with a fast, opportunistic defense and the Chargers should come away with the division crown.
Key Arrivals – Laurent Robinson, Travis LaBoy, Takeo Spikes, Bob Sanders
Key Departures – Darren Sproles, Legedu Naanee, Buster Davis, Kevin Burnett
Prediction – 11-5/First in AFC West
Kansas City Chiefs
Matt Cassel and the Chiefs were a pleasant surprise last season. Running back Jamal Charles led the league in rushing while veteran Thomas Jones was among the leaders in rushing touchdowns. They also have a young, talented secondary as well as a formidable defensive line. With all that being said, I think the Chiefs’ treacherous schedule will be their kryptonite.
Key Arrivals – Steve Breaston, Sabby Piscitelli, Le’Ron McClain, Kelly Gregg
Key Departures – Maurice Leggett, Mike Vrabel
Prediction – 9-7/Second in AFC West
The Raiders swept the division last season but had trouble with all of the other teams on their schedule. Jason Campbell has to learn yet another offensive system now that former offensive coordinator Hue Jackson is now the head coach, not to mention the loss of their best receiver in Zach Miller and his defensive equal in Nnamdi Asomugha. Nothing new here. The Raiders are a mess, which is a shame considering they do have some talent.
Key Arrivals – Kevin Boss, Stephon Heyer, Justin Smiley, Trent Edwards
Key Departures – Nnamdi Asomugha, Zach Miller, Robert Gallery, Bruce Gradkowski, Johnnie Lee Higgins
Prediction – 7-9/Third in AFC West
There’s been a lot of controversy surrounding the Denver Broncos and their quarterback situation lately. While Kyle Orton is clearly more ready than Tim Tebow, that doesn’t mean he’s the unanimous choice to start at quarterback. The Broncos are not a playoff team and Tebow provides the only incentive to watch or attend Broncos games. Whatever happens, Tebow will start at some point this season. Hopefully it’s sooner rather than later.
Key Arrivals – Ty Warren, Brodrick Bunkley, Willis McGahee, Derrick Harvey, Daniel Fells, Dante Rosario, Jeremy Jarmon
Key Departures – Jabar Gaffney, Chevis Jackson, Renaldo Hill, Correll Buckhalter, Daniel Coats, Ryan Harris, Justin Bannan, Daniel Graham
Prediction – 5-11/Last in AFC West