Sunday, August 28, 2011

AFC West: 2011 Outlook

The AFC West appears to be a division completely up for grabs; San Diego seems to have the most talent, yet Oakland is coming off a season where they went 6-0 in the division, all while the Chiefs are the defending division champions. The West has a bit of a tough draw as far as scheduling in 2011, playing against the NFC North, and the AFC East.

1 - San Diego (12-4)
I'm just waiting for the year that the Bolts put it all together and make a deep playoff run. While I'm not a huge fan of Norv Turner, the Chargers boast one of the league's elite QBs, and serious MVP candidate, in Philip Rivers. If I had to make a Preseason MVP pick, I'd go with Rivers or Aaron Rodgers. Not only is Rivers a great player, but they have formidable weapons around him in the form of huge WR Vincent Jackson, and All-World TE Antonio Gates. The Defense is good enough, the Offense can keep up with anyone. I'm on the San Diego bandwagon this year.
2 - Kansas City (7-9)
The Chiefs caught me, and a lot of others for that matter, by surprise last season. I had previously considered Jamaal Charles as a speedy change-of-pace back, certainly not the first-tier NFL RB he's become. K.C. is coming off a successful season that ended with a home playoff game against Baltimore. I think Dwayne Bowe comes up a bit short of his 15 TD campaign in 2010, and the team takes a small step back in 2011. Chiefs will beat some good teams, not be a contender.
3 - Oakland (6-10)
The Raaaaaidaaas *Chris Berman Voice* enter 2011 with a higher level of confidence than they've had in recent years past. Last season, Oakland went 6-0 against their divisional foes. Darren McFadden stayed healthy and finally looked like the dynamic player they thought he'd be when drafting him #4 overall in 2008. Losing Nnamdi won't help anything for the Raiders, and I just flat out don't like this team's roster enough to consider them a contender. However, I think one of OAK's WRs will break out - J. Ford or D. Moore.
4 - Denver (3-13)
Pretty much all you hear out of Broncos camp is "Tebow this, Tebow that." With Kyle Orton cemented in as the team's opening day starter at QB, the Broncos should be a more competitive team. Orton orchestrated a solid passing attack for Denver in 2010, and I think the Offense should remain a step ahead with him than where they'd be with Tebow. The Defense was porous last year, but the pass rush should improve drastically with the return of Elvis Dumervil, and the addition of 2nd overall pick Von Miller. The team struggles in 2011; could Stanford Alum John Elway be staring Stanford QB Andrew Luck in the face?

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