Welcome back, we are now down to two divisions left and this edition is the preview for the AFC West. There has been a bit of shuffling in the division. Patrick Mahomes is now the starting Quarterback for Kansas City. Jon Gruden is coaching the Raiders, Case Keenum is now under center for Denver and San Diego is getting settled out in Carson, California. This division is a sneaky one in that there may be a Superbowl contender just waiting out in the open. Let’s take a look and see what we can expect.
Kansas City Chiefs
After winning the division last season, the Chiefs decided to go young by trading away Alex Smith and giving the keys to the team to Patrick Mahomes. This kid looks ready. Big arm, mobile and has had a year to learn the offense. In preseason Mahomes has looked as good as advertised. Andy Reid has got to counting down to the regular season to unleash the kid, especially with the weapons at his disposal. Those weapons in include, Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce, and Kareem Hunt. Expect some major shootouts.
Notable Additions: CB Orlando Scandrick, RB Damian Williams
Notable Losses: RB Charcandrick West, FS Ron Parker, CB Marcus Peters
Los Angeles Chargers
The Chargers have been one of the unluckiest teams in years past. They have had a ton of injuries and have not made the postseason since 2013. To start this season, they already have three players on injured reserve. The players on IR are Tight End Hunter Henry, Cornerback Jaylen Watkins, and Cornerback Jason Verrett(second time). Despite the injuries, the Chargers came really close to winning the division last season and clinching a playoff berth. After starting the season 0-4, they won nine of their last 12 games to finish at 9-7. This season, expectations are high as they still have Philip Rivers who is always is one of the best signal callers in the NFL and their defense has two elite pass rushers in Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram. With the combination of veterans on offense and the talented play-makers on defense, I would not be surprised if the Chargers were one of the last teams competing for a chance to play in the big game. The only thing holding them back is health.
Notable additions: C Mike Pouncey, TE Virgil Green, SS Derwin James
Notable Losses: RB Branden Oliver, LB Korey Toomer, OLB Jeremiah Attaochu
The Raiders have a new Head Coach, you’ve might have heard of him. Jon Gruden is back in Oakland and he is determined to get the Raiders back to where they were a few seasons ago. He inherits a team with Derek Carr at Quarterback, receivers Amari Cooper, Jordy Nelson, Martavious Bryant and beast mode in the backfield. One player who they may be without though is the All-Pro defensive end, Khalil Mack. Mack and the Raiders have been in a dispute over a contract extension. As a result, Mack has been holding out and many reports expect him to miss some regular season games. There have also been rumors that Mack will be traded which would be unfortunate for the Raiders to lose a player of his caliber.*Update*Mack has been traded to the Chicago Bears.
Notable Additions: WR Jordy Nelson, CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, LB Tahir Whitehead
Notable Additions:P Sebastian Janikowski, P Marquette King, WR Michael Crabtree, CB Travis Carrie, RT Austin Howard
Denver comes in with a new starting Quarterback and they looked to get back to the postseason as well. They drafted Bradley Chubb in the first round of the NFL draft and that should scare opponents because he is an explosive pass rusher who will be playing opposite Von Miller. This division arguably has the most talented pass rushers but Denver has to top that list. Throw in Shane Ray and its game, set, match. The Broncos look to find a balance to their elite defense by looking to open up things on offense more. Case Keenum is a definite upgrade and with weapons in Demarius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders, the Broncos will have a ton of options at their disposal.
Notable Additions: CB Adam Jones, DT Clinton McDonald , CB Tramaine Brock, QB Case Keenum, RB Royce Freeman
Notable losses: RB CJ Anderson, TE Virgil Green, CB Aquib Talib