2009 AFC West Regular Season Predictions

Rob HugheyContributor IMay 7, 2009

ENGLEWOOD, CO - MAY 03:  Head coach Josh McDaniels of the Denver Broncos oversees practice during minicamp at the Broncos training facility on May 3, 2009 in Englewood, Colorado.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

     The Division that no team wanted to win would be a good way to describe the West last year. The Broncos held a three game lead with three to play and collapsed down the stretch. That opened the door for the Chargers, who looked all but left for dead at 5-8. San Diego won out and clinched the division title with a measly 8-8 record.

  The West Champion Chargers will start 2009 with their big playmaker back in LB Shawne Merrimen. They also drafted DE/OLB Larry English out of Northern Illinois. Those moves should help out a defense that was soft against the run last year. Running backs Darren Sproyles was franchised and Ladanian Tomlinson signed a three year deal. Fourth Round selection RB Gartrell Johnson could be the steal of the draft. Johnson will add depth to the backfield.

  The Broncos got rid of a two-time Super Bowl Champion Coach and a Pro Bowl Quaterback. Many feel this can't be a step in the right direction. Cutler was dealt to the Bears for Kyle Orton and draft picks. They used their first overall pick on highly touted running back Knowshon Moreno.  Denver also drafted some cornerback help in Alphonso Smith and Darcel McBath. The Broncos inked veteran safety Brian Dawkins in February.

   The Kansas City Chiefs started out 2009 by signing a new coach. Todd Haley, Offensive Coordinator from the Arizona Cardinals was inked marking the end of the Herm Edwards experiment. The other big story was trading for QB Matt Cassell and LB Mike Vrabel. The Chiefs also parted ways with Tony Gonzalez trading him to the Falcons.  Some belief the Chiefs reached by taking DE Tyson Jackson with the third overall pick.

   The Oakland Raiders made it official.  Al Davis removed the interim tag from Coach Tom Cable. QB Jeff Garcia was brought in the offseason to challenge and mentor Jamarcus Russell. The Raiders grabbed WR Darius Heyward-Bey with the seventh overall pick in the draft. Considered a reach at seven, they also drafted safety Mike Mitchell another reach in the second round.


AFC West

San Diego 12-4

Denver 7-9

Kansas City 4-12

Oakland 2-14