2. Kansas City Chiefs, 12-5
Even with the Kansas City Chiefs losing multiple key players and having the hardest schedule in the league by a long shot, they still end up with 12 wins in my projections. Look, at the end of the day Patrick Mahomes is still an elite quarterback and he will elevate some of the guys they brought in.
I do not think Kansas City is even as good as they were last year and while a 12-5 record will look really good, they will look a lot more human. A lot of these games will be a grind and I genuinely do think with a stacked AFC that the Chiefs will get worn down and this will be the first time in Mahomes' career that he does not make the AFC Championship.
I personally have the Chiefs splitting with the Chargers, splitting with the Broncos and taking both games against the Raiders. While Kansas City has a painfully brutal start to the season, the team also has a pretty easy end to the season, which will lead them to a 12-5 record.
I have KC losing in Week 14 in Denver to move to 8-5 on the season. However, they then finish with two games against the Raiders as well as the Texans and Seahawks, two teams who will no longer be pretending like they can compete and will instead be scouting the 2023 NFL Draft. Four wins in a row will give the Chiefs a 12-5 final record, making the AFC West really close at the top.
However, the Chargers will not only finish in first place with 12 wins and the tiebreaker but they will win the AFC West outright with more than 12 wins.