It’s always interesting to get input from a fan of another team.
It’s even better when that person is a fan of a division rival. I sat down with Ryan Tracy of Arrowhead Addict (Kansas City Chiefs site) and got his thoughts on the 2016 San Diego Chargers.
(Me): The Chargers finished in last place in the AFC West for the first time since 2003. In what is one of the tougher divisions in football, do you see the Chargers turning it around this season, or do you think they will finish last again?
(Ryan): While the Chargers did improve their roster in the offseason, I don’t think it’s enough. Truthfully, I still expect them to finish fourth in the AFC West.
As a Chiefs fan, do you think Philip Rivers is one of the more underrated quarterbacks in the league?
Underrated, no. He is widely recognized as an top-tier quarterback. Despite his age, he continues to be a quarterback that can carry his team to wins.
The Broncos have finished first for the last five seasons. They are also coming off a big Super Bowl win. But they have lost a few key pieces on defense including DE Malik Jackson, and their quarterback situation is murky. Is this the year that the Chargers, Chiefs or Raiders claim the AFC West division title?
Yes, this is the year that Oakland and Kansas City can challenge for the AFC West title. It will be close between these three teams, but in the end, I don’t see Denver claiming that title.
The last time the Chargers made the playoffs (2013), they had the No. 13 rushing offense; but it’s been a different story these last two seasons. The team invested a lot in Melvin Gordon. Do you see him bouncing back in Year 2?
The question is whether the patchwork offensive line can come together. The strength looks to be the right side of the line. But Gordon is best when hitting seams, not sure he has a lot of room to maneuver. Gordon has the talent to be the next Jamaal Charles, but that looks like it’s at least one more draft away.
What players on this Chargers’ roster do you see having big years in 2016?
Look for Melvin Ingram to take a step forward. With Joey Bosa in position to bookend him, Ingram could finally make some noise. The two could become a solid duo in 2016. On offense, Rivers is a perfect QB for Travis Benjamin. If they can build some chemistry, Benjamin could be the home-run hitter in this offense.
Give me your take on how the Chiefs will fare this year, and why Pro Bowl safety Eric Berry has yet to be signed to a long-term deal.
The Chiefs will push to take over control of the division in 2016. With Denver taking a step back, Kansas City should be in the driver’s seat. They put up 24+ points in both their meetings with the vaunted Bronco defense last season. Oakland has made a lot of improvements, but I don’t see they have it put together enough to take the AFC West crown..yet.
AFC West predictions? Let’s here them!
Very little change from last season in terms of outcome. I see the final AFCW standings as KC – 1st, Denver – 2nd, Oakland -3rd, San Diego – 4th. However, I do expect to see the improvements in S.D. and Oakland show up in the standings. I expect the division to finish the season with five or six more total wins than in 2015.