Final AFC West standings prediction: Where do the Chargers finish?

Kansas City Chiefs v Los Angeles Chargers
Kansas City Chiefs v Los Angeles Chargers / Sean M. Haffey/GettyImages
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1. LA Chargers, 12-5 record (second seed in the AFC)

As long as the Chargers play up to their talent level this season they should win the AFC West. The team will even be fighting for the top seed in the AFC but I do ultimately think that is the Bills to lose at this point. Buffalo is a great team with a pretty easy division and a schedule that is manageable.

Most NFL pundits will ask the Chargers to prove it first before picking them to win the AFC West and that is completely justified. This is not the first time that there is hype around the Chargers heading into the season and in those previous instances the Chargers fell short.

That being said, this year definitely is different for the Chargers. First of all, this is the most talented team that the Bolts have had since the 2006 Chargers. There have been some talented teams in recent years that got overhyped by fans; this is not one of them. This legitimately is a top-five roster in the league.

Justin Herbert is also under center for the Bolts. Every Chargers fan loves Philip Rivers but there is a difference between Rivers and Herbert. Rivers was never considered to be in that elite tier of guys and were never a legitimate MVP candidate like Herbert is this season. Herbert is just on another level.

The Chargers were 9-8 last season and easily could have been a 10-11 win team with some very small tweaks in what happened. With a schedule that seems easier than last year and a better roster overall, it does not seem far-fetched at all to predict the Bolts to win 12 games this season.

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If they don't, and they fall short of the playoffs yet again, then it is time for the front office and coaching staff to do some soul searching.