2016 NFL Preseason Outlook: AFC WEST
SAN DIEGO CHARGERS – AFC WEST
(2015 record 4-12)
KEY ADDITIONS: DE Brandon MeBane, DE Joey Bosa, S Dwight Lowry, CB Casey Hayward, WR Travis Benjamin
KEY DEPARTURES: S Eric Weddle, CB Patrick Robinson, TE LaDarius Green
It was a tough year for the Chargers last year finishing with the third worst record in football at 4‐12. Basically they could not do anything right. First round Pick Melvin Gordon did not score a single touchdown last year. The only that went right last year was the combo of quarterback Phillip Rivers and longtime tight end Antonio Gates. San Diego’s defense was one of the worst in the NFL.
In 2016 the Chargers try to bulk up there defense with 3rd overall pick Joey Bosa out of Ohio St, Joey is exactly what the Chargers need on the edge to help get to the quarterback. Losing corner back Patrick Robinson is a huge lost in the secondary for San Diego leaving them very thin in back there. Casey Hayward could help soften the blow but it will not be enough for teams to continue to air it out against the Chargers.
Phillip Rivers got a little help on offense with WR free agent Travis Benjamin; Travis had a very nice year for a bad Browns team last year. He will be nice deep ball threat for Rivers. If River and the Chargers want to have any success on offense of end they really need Melvin Gordon to step it up and play like a first round Pick. It is going to be another long year for the Chargers. I see them finishing last in the AFC West.
KEY PLAYERS: RB Melvin Gordon, QB Philip Rivers, DE Joey Bosa, TE Antonio Gates, WR Keenan Allen
OAKLAND RAIDERS – AFC WEST
(2015 record 7-9)
KEY ADDITIONS: LB Bruce Irvin, CB Sean Smith, LT Kelechi Osemele,
KEY DEPARTURES: WR Rod Streater, RT J’Marcus Webb
The Oakland Raiders were a team that was on the up and coming last year with Quarterback and future star in the NFL Derek Carr. Carr and Rookie Amari Cooper last year were very much on the same page in 2015. They should be even be more on the same page in 2016 which could be very scary for the rest of the NFL; Oakland was led by Khalil Mack last year who was dominating on the defensive side of the ball with 77 tackles and 15 sacks.
In 2016 look for the Raiders to be a very scary team in the AFC. With signing of Bruce Irvin from Seattle he will bring some veteran leadership to this young Raiders Defense. Kelechi Osemele will be great to help bolster that offensive line and protect Derek Carr. Latavius Murray is a very solid back who can run and catch the ball out of the back field. The Raiders defense will be one on the best in the NFL. Mack is going to be even better than last year which is going to be fun to watch if you love defense.
I really like this Raiders team. They are ready to win NOW. I think they go out and take over the division from the Broncos. I know everyone around the league is saying the same thing but they are right. Raider’s fans should be ready for a fun season. This season is going to bring you back to the good old Raiders days.
KEY PLAYERS: QB Derek Carr, RB Latavius Murray, WR Amari Cooper, LB Khalil Mack, LB Bruce Irvin
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS – AFC WEST
(2015 record 11-5)
KEY ADDITIONS: WR Rod Streater
KEY DEPARTURES: CB Sean Smith, SS Tyvon Branch, LT Donald Stephenson
The 2015 Chiefs won a playoff game by beating the Houston Texans in the Wild card round of the playoffs. In the following round lost to the New England Patriots with some bad clock managing by Coach Andy Reid. KC lost Jamal Charles early in the season with a torn ACL. The chiefs did not miss a step in the running game with the emerges of Running back Charcandrick West who really helped soften the blow. Jeremy Maclin was a great free agent signing in 2015 who caught 87 balls for 1,088 yds. and 8 TD’S. In 2014 the Chiefs had zero TD to any WR. So getting Maclin was a huge lift to the Chiefs. Alex Smith Probably had his best season as pro throwing for over 3,000 yds. and 20 TDS. He only threw 7 INT. That is exactly what Alex Smith is a quarterback who controls the ball and does not make a lot of mistakes.
On the defensive end in 2015 the lost on Justin Houston in week 11 really hurt the Chiefs pass rush. Eric Berry made an amazing comeback after cancer to have a great season. Chiefs really need to sign Berry to a long term contract; he is the back bone of this team.
In 2016 it is going to be all about Health with this team. Can Justin Houston come back from a knee injury? Can Jamal Charles come back from his knee Injury? The Chiefs are also getting older. Alex Smith is now 32 years old; Derrick Johnson is 33 years old. Losing Sean Smith is really going to hurt the secondary of the Chiefs as well. Smith is a much underrated corner for the Chiefs. He was always opposite the other team’s number on WR.
I think the Chiefs could take a step back this is year the AFC West everything needs to go perfect for them and in NFL that never happens.
KEY PLAYERS: FS Eric Berry, QB Alex Smith, RB Jamaal Charles, WR Jeremy Maclin, LB Justin Houston, TE Travis Kelce
DENVER BRONCOS – AFC WEST
(2015 record 12-4)
KEY ADDITIONS: QB Mark Sanchez, OL Donald Stephenson, OL Russell Okung
KEY DEPARTURES: QB Peyton Manning, QB Brock Osweiler, LB Danny Trevathan, OL Ryan Harris, DT Malik Jackson
Denver Broncos ended last year on top of the Football world beating the Carolina Panthers in the super bowl. The Denver Defense carried the Broncos all year long and in the super bowl. Denver was led by Von Miller who just received a new 6 year 114 Million dollar contract. This makes Von Miller the highest paid Defensive player in NFL history.
This is a totally different team in 2016 for Denver, Peyton Manning has retired, back up Quarter back Brock Osweiler who was supposed to be Manning’s successor has moved on to the Houston Texans. Now the Broncos with Quarter back Mark Sanchez who they acquired from the Philadelphia Eagles. Can Mark Sanchez carrier this offense? Who knows, do I think so? No. Mark Sanchez is a mediocre Quarterback who does not need reads defensive coverages that great. Denver is going to have to be carried again by the Broncos Defense. Von Miller is going to have to show he is worth all that money he got this off season. The secondary is probably the best in football with Chris Harris and Talib Aqib. If Denver wants to have a chance to repeat they are going to have to do it the same exact way they did it last year all Defense.
KEY PLAYERS: WR Demaryius Thomas, QB Mark Sanchez, CB Aqib Talib, RB CJ Anderson, LB Von Miller
If our predictions are correct the Oakland Raiders will leap frog the Kansas City Chiefs and the defending Super Bowl Champions to capture the AFC West title and head to the playoffs for the first time in over 10 years.