AFC West Predictions
The first dominoes of NFL free agency have officially fallen. Tuesday afternoon kicked off with the news that Aaron Rodgers will remain in Green Bay, and fireworks continued with the shocking announcement that the Denver Broncos acquired Super Bowl winning quarterback Russell Wilson.
Despite an injury-riddled 2021 season, Wilson continues to be one of the league’s top quarterbacks. In Denver, he is put into a great situation, featuring a talented, young supporting cast.
With this, however, comes expectations to not only make the playoffs, but win a Super Bowl. It will not be easy especially, with the teams that now compete in his new division. This article will cover the four teams of a loaded AFC West, and my prediction for who will lead the division in
the 2022 season.
Las Vegas Raiders
A playoff team from a year ago, Derek Carr and the Las Vegas Raiders look to return to the tournament under head coach Josh McDaniels. Las Vegas had one of the league’s best passing offenses despite not having a true number one wideout and constant injuries from star tight end Darren Waller.
However, it will be difficult to repeat their success from a year ago without major upgrades to their defense. Outside of pass rusher Maxx Crosby, Vegas lacks talent at every level of their defensive unit, including a struggling secondary.
With the powerhouse offenses present in the division, it will be difficult for this team to stop anyone in a divisional game. While it is not impossible this team sneaks into a wildcard spot once again, it will be an uphill battle to get back to where they want to be.
If everything goes right for this Broncos team, I do not see why they can not be legitimate AFC contenders. However, in this division, it may be tough for Denver to have success right out of the gate, especially with a plethora of new faces.
Denver’s defense is filled with young talent, including young stars Bradley Chubb and Justin Simmons. Just a season ago, the unit ranked top ten in yards allowed and points allowed.
Offensively, Russell Wilson has a plethora of weapons both through the air on the ground, many who are under 25. Jerry Jeudy and Courtland Sutton both are capable of having breakout seasons in 2022, as both have shown flashes in the past. Along with them, rookie phenom Javonte Williams and veteran Melvin Gordon will be able to take pressure off Wilson through the run game.
It is tough to say exactly how good this Bronco team will do next season, but for now, I have them as the third best team in the AFC West.
Los Angeles Chargers
All Brandon Staley had to do was not call a timeout, and the Los Angeles Chargers’ season could have had a very different ending to it. The team barely missed the playoffs a year ago, and with rising star Justin Herbert, the team has the potential to compete for a title.
Los Angeles continues to have a high-powered offense, and with the team on track to bring back star wideout Mike Williams, the team should not take any steps back,
Defensively, Los Angeles needs to improve, but with another year under defensive mastermind Brandon Staley, I expect the unit to improve. They have too much talent to be the 4th worst scoring defense, which they were a year ago.
Kansas City Chiefs
Until someone dethrones them, I will continue to list them as the number one team in the AFC West. Despite all the great passers in the division, Patrick Mahomes remains the cream of the crop.
The Chiefs are much more than their quarterback, however. The offense is flooded with superstars, and the team is expected to make a run at another wide receiver during free agency.
Defensively, the potential loss of Tyrann Matheiu could be troublesome, but not enough to place Kansas City as anything other than the 2022 NFL Super Bowl favorites.
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