"This year is the Raiders' year," the fans write on boards, articles and web sites. They talk about it at work and debate everyday with fellow AFC West fans over the Raiders' chances.
The Chargers' fans have had the crown for years and have been able to lay it down without much to say from any of the other teams in the division. Of course, year in and year out Denver looks like a contender and seems to flounder in the second half.
KC, out of the AFCW, seems to be the team people should watch. Although they are often written off and disrespected by betting firms and NFL sites.
Eric Berry and Tim Tebow had some great battles in college. Now they will get to battle for years—twice at minimum—and entertain the fans of the Broncos and Chiefs. Tim Tebow will also get to face Rolando McClain, who at Alabama laid a hurting on the former Gator.
The Chiefs have gathered what appears to be the No. 1 running duo in Charles and Jones. Looking to relieve stress from Cassel, the Chiefs appear to have installed a serious contender for the top running team in the NFL.
The only problem is the offensive line. With the addition of Cassel and the progress of Bowe, you would figure the Chiefs would give Cassel time to look downfield. Next year, the Chiefs draft a LT with their first pick, no doubt in my mind.
They had the worst defense in the AFC West, but they had a better offense than Oakland.
Maybe Campbell changes that. Jason Campbell will at least have to be comparable to Kyle Orton, Matt Cassel and Philip Rivers for the Raiders to really compete. I would say he is serviceable like Orton. Cassel still needs to justify his paycheck, and Rivers is a top QB—period.
In fact, Rivers is the best player in the AFC West. His pieces may (or may not) change, but he is a difference maker as a player. He is knocking on the door and sooner or later someone is going to answer.
The Raiders had the 26th ranked defense and upgraded both the offensive and defensive lines. Heyward-Bey may produce this year. Should Campbell and Bey produce, the Raiders are looking at minimum two more wins. Rolando will help to make the rankings more respectable for Oakland.
The Chargers have no reason not to produce. Mathews looks like a very good back.
The AFC West will be the best division in football for running backs: Moreno, Buckhalter, Mathews, Sproles, Charles, Jones, Bush, Mcfadden and Arrington.
The Denver Broncos are my pick. Not just that, though, I honestly see Denver as having the most underrated receiver corps in the AFC West. Don't forget that Denver drafted what many experts seen as two of the top five receivers in this years draft. Add to that Royal, Gaffney, Stokely, Lloyd and Mckinney. Denver has some serious high performers.
They had the best defense in the division last year and only solidified it with a bigger and better line, veterans in the nickel and Parrish Cox who may be the steal of the draft.
Add into the mix the master mind that is Josh McDaniels offensively, and you get some real interesting things going on in Denver.
Tebow this and that wont matter much this year. He will have to see the field no matter what. Denver would feel the heat from the league if the rookie never touched green this season.
Should he work out, Denver will be the AFC West powerhouse by 2013 and may be the NFL's best team period. Tebow can change everything if he works.
If not, Denver at this point has two very serviceable QBs left.
San Diego has been the dominant team for six years.
Denver cant get over the hump.
Raider and Chiefs can't win.
That's all old.
This year is different. Teams in the AFC West are different in more ways now than in the last decade.
The NFL is ever-changing.
This year, I think San Diego finishes 3rd.
The Raiders fourth barely by one game.
The Chiefs second.
Denver will come in first. They will win the AFC West in 2010 and maybe for years to come.