Rolling along with my preseason predictions, this time with the AFC West:
Raiders (10-7 last season): Before you complain, “Yes Ed, but you’re a total Raider homie”, hear me out! The Raiders improved more than any other team in this division, adding Davante Adams and Chandler Jones. In addition, the Chiefs lost Tyreek Hill. Prediction: 11-6 and the division winner.
Chargers (9-8 last season): Easily the strongest team in this division outside of Vegas. Prediction: 10-7 and challenging for a wild card berth.
Chiefs (12-5 last season): How do the Chiefs fall to 3rd place? They lost Tyreek Hill. He wasn’t a player you can easily replace, although God knows they signed everyone but the ghost of Cliff Branch. Prediction: 9-8.
Broncos (7-10 last season): How can the Broncos bring in Russell Wilson and end up in the cellar? Get real. If he had any value left, would the Seahawks have let him go? While he will be an improvement over what the Broncos had, that doesn’t make him great in this division. Prediction: 8-9.
P.S. My win-loss predictions are based on the strength/weaknesses of the teams, not an in-depth rundown of the schedule.
I’m actually with you on the Raiders. I’m not sure they will finish ahead of the Chargers, but I wouldn’t bet money against it, either.
I’m not sure I agree on your Chiefs analysis, though. Yes, losing Hill is a big blow. But the 2021 Chiefs had a lot of games when their offense struggled heavily. Why? Because opposing defenses had found the code to stop them. Despite being loaded with talent, they had become predictable.
That will change in 2022. I can see a scenario where they will be a top 3 passing offense, while producing no fantasy relevant pass catcher not named Travis Kelce.
I also have a headache with your Broncos projection. Yes, I do see the risk. But Russell struggled in Seattle because of the passing allergy Pete Carroll developed after his vanity forced him to make the stupidest game-deciding play call in Super Bowl history.
One thing is for sure: this is a killer division. I can see a scenario in which 3 teams will end up with 10+ wins, making it difficult for any team from other divisions to claim a wild card spot.
One thing I should have mentioned in this post: All of these teams are playing against the NFC West, easily the best division in the NFC. That will keep the overall win totals down here, allowing other divisions to promote wild card teams.
Was that Carroll, or Wilson himself? Honestly, it’s been a few years since Wilson looked dominant. Last season’s Wilson holdout was curious. I won’t go so far as to say that Wilson was definitely the problem, but I’m also not certain he wasn’t.
You realize the same thing happened during Andy Reid’s time in Philly? I’m not sure he’s gotten smarter since then.