Although the Denver Broncos had the lead in this division for the first 16 weeks, the San Diego Chargers had the lead for week 17, and that's the only week that matters.
Last year, the Broncos simply dominated this weak division. The Chargers, however, dominated the Broncos in week 17 and took the AFC West title for the third year in a row.
The San Diego Chargers hope to stay the leader of this division and have a pretty good chance of doing so. For the past few years, the Chargers have been the only strong team in the division.
Now yes, the Broncos had somewhat of a good season last year until they fell apart at the end, becoming the first team in NFL history to blow a four-game lead in a division with only four games left.
Over this recent offseason, however, this wild, wacky division was shaken up a bit. There was everything from drama to injury.
Let me start off with the Denver Broncos.
This team fired their long time head coach, Mike Shanahan, and hired New England's offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels. That hire lost the teams star quarterback, Jay Cutler.
After hearing his name in the discussion of a trade, Cutler wanted nothing more with the team. That led to him being traded to the Chicago Bears for Kyle Orton(QB) and three draft picks.
The Broncos still don't have a starting quarterback put in place. As of now, the team has Orton, Chris Simms, and the rookie out of Fresno State, Tom Brandstater. The team does not know who will be their starting quarterback for this upcoming season quite yet.
Now on to the Oakland Raiders.
In the first round of the draft, the Raiders were expected to pick Michael Crabtree(WR), but instead chose Darrius Heyward-Bey, a speedy wide receiver. It is just like Al Davis to change his mind at the last second and choose a quick receiver.
With Heyward-Bey, however, JaMarcus Russel(QB) will hopefully have a come-to target with his strong arm.
As for the Kansas City Chiefs, a lot has changed for this team. They have a new coach, a new general manager, and a new quarterback.
Their new GM, Scott Pioli, traded a second round draft pick for the New England Patriots quarterback, Matt Cassel. A brilliant thing to do in my opinion.
Although Cassel had a fantastic season last year playing in place of the hurt Tom Brady, will he have as good as a season this year?
I believe a lot of the reason he did so well was because he already had a team and the right receivers around him. With Tony Gonzalez now playing for the Atlanta Falcons, Cassel doesn't exactly have a star receiver to go to. Well at least he doesn't have one yet.
The Chiefs new coach, Todd Haley, will definitely have his work cut out for him this season. This team has talent, that's not up for discussion, but will it show this coming season?
Last, but not least, is the San Diego Chargers. They barely won this division last year with an 8-8 record. This year, they are hoping the season won't be as bumpy.
Not a lot has changed for this talented team, however. They have a lot of their starters and coaches back.
With the return of Shawn Merriman, this defense looks to go back to its 2007 form. The fans and coaches sure hope it does, anyway.
The team will also have a healthy Philip Rivers and LaDainian Tomlinson. So far, things are looking good for this team.
Although the Chargers seem to be the most talented team in this wild, wacky division, that doesn't make them a shoo-in for the title. Now some Bolts fans might disagree, but I believe the Chargers aren't the only division contender this season.
I have a feeling this division might just come down to the last few weeks like last year, but again, the San Diego Chargers will come through and win.
Well there you have it—a preview of the wild, wacky, AFC West Division—the home of the Broncos, Raiders, Chiefs, and Chargers.
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