Well, I had planned on writing this earlier today, but a certain game came out and I've been a little preoccupied. Seriously, this day will rival Christmas for fewest articles written.
Anyway, this is part two of my NFL predictions, and today I'm attacking the AFC West.
The big dogs are the Chargers. If you look at the team from top to bottom, you will have trouble finding a huge weakness.
They're solid at QB, absolutely set at RB, and Gates helps a receiving core that is a tad lax. Their O-Line is extremely fluid, with multiple guys (McNeill, Hardwick, and Dielman) who could go to the Pro Bowl.
The Chargers might be even better on defense. Their front line is strong, with anchor Jamal Williams flanked by Igor Olshansky and Luis Castillo. Linebackers Shawne Merriman and Shaun Phillips are absolute beasts in the pass rush game, while Stephen Cooper and Matt Wilhelm complement those two perfectly.
They also have a tough secondary, with interception extraordinaire Antonio Cromartie and Quentin Jammer, a better overall corner. This team could go deep in the playoffs.
Denver follows behind.
Jay Cutler looks like a future star for this team, but they've lost Brandon Marshall for the first three games and have questions in the running game, although that has never been an issue for Mike Shanahan before.
However, last year was by far their worst rushing year in quite a while, which was a combination of Shanahan out-coaching himself with the RBBC and a weakened O-Line.
The Broncos are still fairly solid defensively, with studs on all three lines (Dumervil, D.J. Williams, and Champ Bailey and Bly). Williams sustained a bad-looking hit by a teammate in their pre-season game a few days ago, so we will see what happens there.
Oakland and Kansas City follow them. KC has tons of work to do, especially on the QB front. I have a feeling the Brodie Croyle experiment will fail and they'll go for a QB in the draft next year. This team's strongpoint will be on defense, with Derrick Johnson, Bernard Pollard, and newcomer Glenn Dorsey.
However, the unit will be tremendously hurt by the loss of Jared Allen to the Vikes, especially when there was no reason to let him go. That move was a head scratcher. This team is in full-time rebuilding mode.
The wildcard in this division is the Raiders. They have an extremely strong running game and a big QB with loads of potential. They have a great cornerback tandem with Asomugha and DeAngelo Hall, and have a strong LB core with Thomas Howard and Kirk Morrison. Look for them to be a surprise.
Here's how things will pan out:
San Diego 11-5
Kansas City 3-13
Check out how the NFC West will do and look for the NFC South tomorrow. As always, I look forward to your feedback and comments.