Here we are, 10 weeks into the season and the AFC West is as unpredictable as Rocky Mountain weather. Blindly throwing out a forecast of who is going to win the division is just as much of a guess for you and me as it is for any expert sports analyst. The truth is we can make an accurate assumption that the Green Bay Packers are going to win the NFC North, and the San Francisco 49ers are going to win the NFC West. However, other than that, every other division in the NFL is up for grabs, and by a number of teams. This is the season of the Green Bay Packers… and a lot of mediocre teams. Forget the 49ers for now. You’ll be reminded they’re around when they’re playing the Packers for the NFC Championship. But for now lets take a look at the AFC West. With Denver, Kansas City, and San Diego all at 4-5, and Oakland at 5-4, the AFC West is, in my opinion, the most competitive division in the NFL right now.
Kansas City Chiefs:
The Chiefs started off the year with a clobbering from Buffalo and Detroit. It looked as if the Chiefs began the year with their sights already on Andrew Luck. Nevertheless, the Chiefs won four in a row and amazingly found themselves atop the AFC West. But with losses to Miami and Denver, the Chiefs now find themselves in the middle of the pack in the AFC West, a rather familiar position for every other team in the division. Nonetheless, when the season is over with, the Chiefs are going to find themselves at the bottom of the division. Of their remaining seven games, the average winning percentages of the teams they play is over 65%. Just take a look at their upcoming schedule: @New England, Pittsburg, @Chicago, @NY Jets, Green Bay. And to make matters worse, the Chiefs likely lost their starting quarterback Matt Cassel for the rest of the season. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Chiefs finish the season 6-10 and in the basement of the AFC West.
San Diego Chargers:
‘Norv November’ surely isn’t turning out the way it has in the past. The Chargers have lost four straight after starting the season 4-1. What’s worse is that Philip Rivers is not looking like his old Pro-Bowl self, already throwing for a total of 15 interceptions, accompanied by 6 fumbles. Chargers’ majority owner Alex Spanos must be kicking himself in the rear for letting Darren Sproles go, who is blossoming in New Orleans’ high-powered offense. Rivers no longer has that quick and easy screen pass to throw to Sproles for a big gain. He has been forced to throw it over the middle more often and it has resulted in a bundle of turnovers and a 4-5 record. Their last three games are also brutal, finishing at home against Baltimore, and then going on the road to face Detroit and Oakland. The Chargers will definitely be relevant come December, but whether or not they can win the division may be far-fetched.
Four weeks ago you would think I was crazy to say the Denver Broncos have a chance of taking the division. But something (Tebow) has brought the Broncos back into contention. Say what you like about the guy, but he has this team winning games. Since Tebow took over at starting quarterback the Broncos are 3-1. During that stretch they pulled out wins in the infamous “Black Hole” and at Arrowhead stadium, in back-to-back weeks. That is impressive for any team in the NFL and it deserves to be recognized. The Broncos also have the easiest remaining schedule of all the teams in the AFC West, with opponents having an average winning percentage of only 51%. Something tells me that the Broncos are going to be around in late December and they could even shock the NFL world by making the playoffs.
The Raiders looked solid last Thursday beating the Chargers in San Diego. Carson Palmer is starting to look like his former self by throwing for 300 yards and 2 touchdowns. The Raiders are one of the most physical teams in the NFL and have proven that they can compete with anybody. They still have to visit Green Bay, which will most likely be a loss, but their schedule is rather favorable other than that game. The Raiders are also the only team in the AFC West that currently has a winning record, and therefore, are presently in the best position to win the division. Lets not forget that the playoff tiebreaker is head-to-head wins, and the second tiebreaker is division wins. Either could play a big factor in determining who wins the AFC West.