AFC West Preview

Raphael Haynes
Follow me


[author image=”” ]Raphael Haynes, Atlanta, GA @mrcontroversy21[/author]



The AFC West has usually been predictable. This division has been dominated by the Denver Broncos since Peyton Manning been there, which might be the case this year or will it? Each teams made some drastic moves whether in free agency or the NFL Draft. There might be one change, the Oakland Raiders don’t intend on being the door mat in this division. The San Diego Chargers believe with a happy Phillip Rivers, they can contend for the division while the Kansas City Chiefs believe they finally have the right pieces to take over the division. 


Oakland Raiders

Record in 2014: 3-13

Key player: Khalil Mack

Player to watch: Latavius Murray

Outlook: For years, the Raiders have been the laughing stock of the division, but something seems different about these 2015 Raiders. Management decided to sign Jack Del Rio, a head coach with head coaching experience (the first since Art Shell). Another difference is Oakland has a young quarterback in Derek Carr that seems like he just might pan out. Not to mention, a wide receiver that looks unRaider-like, (which is not a bust) in Amari Cooper. If Murray can be take pressure off of Carr by running the ball effectively and staying healthy, this could be a good year for the Raiders. Yes, the defense is getting better by the minute with Mack leading the ship and Woodson still looks like a problem for offensive coaches. These are not the Raiders we have gotten use to seeing. Prediction: 7-9


San Diego Chargers

Record in 2014: 9-7

Key player: Keenan Allen

Player to watch: Melvin Gordon

Outlook: A happy Phillip Rivers is an effective Phillip Rivers.  The Chargers go as far as Rivers goes but he isn’t the reason why they have been hovering around average the last three year. Two years ago, the running game pretty much carried the team to the playoffs but last year was a little different. The injury plague Ryan Matthews signed with the Philadelphia Eagles. So what do they do, go after a running back in the draft and did they ever. Melvin Gordon was their first round draft pick and was brought on to shoulder the load in the backfield but still has a nice supporting cast in Danny Woodhead and Branden Oliver. What hurts the Chargers more than anything is the four game suspension of Antonio Gates. Ladarius Green is not a bad backup but the suspension will put a damper on a fast start. Prediction: 7-9 


Kansas City Chiefs

Record in 2014: 9-7

Key Player: Wide receiver- Jeremy Maclin

Player to watch: Safety- Eric Berry

Outlook: The Chiefs took a step back last year mainly due to losing their emotional and team leader Eric Berry. The passion that was lost was evident even on the sidelines. Berry is back and that just might be enough to get K.C back where they want to be which is in the playoffs. The defense looks determined to perform at a high level where as the offense needs to follow them. This will be Alex Smith’s third year in the offense. After hearing a lot of criticism for not connecting with a wide receiver in the end zone, Andy Reid decided to help his signal caller out by signing Maclin. This should open up the offense for others since the defensive coaches has to actually think about a game plan for a wide receiver. If Jamaal Charles can stay healthy and Travis Kelce plays anywhere close to how he played last year, this team can make a lot of noise, just not in the AFC West but in the NFL. Prediction: 11-5


Denver Broncos

Record in 2014: 12-4

Key player: Running back- C.J. Anderson

Player to watch: Linebacker- Shane Ray

Outlook: Why give a prediction on the record when it’s an automatic 12 win season for a Peyton Manning team. There is much speculation about Manning’s arm and how much will he throw with new head coach Gary Kubiak’s ball control offense. Yes, Anderson will and needs to be huge for this team but who are we kidding, this is Manning’s offense and he will still air it out like he always have. The Julius Thomas lost puts a small dent in the offense but Owen Daniels will benefit like every other tight end that’s ever played with Manning. On the defensive side of the ball, the pass rush will be unstoppable especially with the addition of the rookie Ray. Ray could have been the the second best player in the draft but his off the field antics before the draft blessed the Broncos. They still have Aqib Talib and T.J. Ward in the secondary. But of course, the regular season is not the issue, its the playoffs and No. 18.  Prediction: 12-4 

Raphael Haynes

Atlanta, GA

View All Posts

Leave a Reply