Playoff picture: AFC West
Not much has changed for the teams in the AFC West. Sure the Raiders and Broncos made big-name additions in Antonio Brown and Joe Flacco, but the pecking order of the division should remain the same.
Brown, Tyrell Williams and Josh Jacobs certainly elevate the talent on the Raider offense, but their offensive line is still a question mark. Let’s not forget this is the same team that traded Khalil Mack and then severely reached on Clelin Ferrell to replace him.
They surprisingly released their best linebacker in Brandon Marshall. That defense is not going to be good. Not to mention, no other team will travel more than the Raiders this season. If they don’t beat Denver on opening night, they could be staring right down the barrel of an 0-7 start to the season. Best case for Jon Gruden’s squad seems to be a six-win season.
The Broncos have a great pass rush, a very good offensive line, and one of the best home-field advantages in the league. Vic Vangio finally got the shot at being a head coach that he deserves.
Flacco should be an improvement over Case Keenum at quarterback, but they are hardly stocked with great pass catchers. Emmanuel Sanders somehow looks better than ever after tearing his Achilles in December, but they lack a reliable second option behind him.
Courtland Sutton and Noah Fant should get there eventually but rookie tight ends always struggle to adjust to the NFL and Sutton has not yet shown that he can consistently contribute. Expect the Broncos to be better than they were last year. They could push for seven or eight wins.
The Chiefs are a team without many weaknesses. They have the best offense in football with a quarterback whose floor seems to be throwing for 40 touchdowns. While Chargers fans would love to see a Chiefs regression happen, that seems highly unlikely.
Frank Clark, Alex Okafor, Mathieu, and Juan Thornhill will almost certainly upgrade the defense. The one concern with the Chiefs is the cornerback position, especially since most teams will be throwing to keep up with the Chiefs’ offense, which could lead to some shootouts.
But there aren’t many teams in the league that can keep up with Patrick Mahomes and Co. Expect at least 12 wins for the Chiefs. But if they won 14 games that should hardly surprise anyone.