Special Edition: NFL Preview: AFC West
1. Kansas City Chiefs Projected: 9-7
The Chiefs division title in 2010 was a great organizational triumph. Matt Cassel a great passer but he is still improving. The backfield though is the preferred mean of gaining yards on offense. Jamaal Charles is a game-changer and Thomas Jones is effective. An underrated move made by Kansas City this offseason was bringing in former Ravens fullback Le'Ron McClain. The receiving core is headed by Dwayne Bowe, Steve Breaston and Dexter McCluster. All aren't typical wide outs but are all talented. The defense is strong also and has stars in every unit. Glenn Dorsey switched to end but is better up the middle and the squad signed tackle Kelly Gregg for depth. Tamba Hali has excelled at linebacker since moving there from end and Derrick Johnson is solid. The secondary is headed by safety Eric Berry and young cornerbacks Brandon Flowers and Javier Arenas.
2. San Diego Chargers Projected: 8-8
With Phillip Rivers excelling at quarterback gives the Chargers chances no matter what the circumstances. San Diego is hoping that Ryan Matthews may end up being even better than speedy Darren Sproles. Fullbacks Mike Tolbert and Jacob Hester will give the team short yardage options. Rivers has fantastic accuracy and a decent arm and performs even without many options to throw too. Vincent Jackson has good hands and plays psychical but he isn't a number one target. Patrick Crayton, Richard Goodman and Malcolm Floyd are other great receivers. Antonio Gates is the best at his position. Nick Hardwick, Marcus McNeill and Kris Dielman. Defensive end is a pretty weak position for the Chargers and the D-Line is also weak. Linebacker Shaun Phillips and Larry English give the team strength in the middle. Takeo Spikes was added to give the team depth.
3. Oakland Raiders Projected: 6-10
In the wake of somewhat of a successful season Oakland is very hopeful for 2011. Quarterback Jason Campbell had one of his best seasons in the league and excells even without any top options. The ground games is very strong with Darren McFadden and Michael Bush. They're complete opposites, McFadden being speedy and agile, Bush being more of a power back. The Raiders have tons of young upcoming receivers like Darius Heyward-Bey, Jacoby Ford, Louis Murphy and Chaz Schilens. Oakland moved out Zach Miller and replaced him with tight end Kevin Boss. The offensive line is also young with tackles Bruce Campbell, Khalif Barnes and Jared Veldheer. The defensive line is led by end Richard Seymour who is declining but is still strong. Rolando McClain and Kameron Wimbley are stoppers in the middle. Without Nnamdi Asomugha the secondary isn't anything to speak of.
4. Denver Broncos Projected: 3-13
The Broncos faltered to a 2-14 2010 season and have many weak prime positions. Despite possibilities of Kyle Orton being moved to Miami the Broncos decided to keep him. He is still effective and gets the job done. Both Tim Tebow and Brady Quinn will be waiting in the wings. The backfield has tons of decent options to pass too. Knowshon Moreno, new veteran Willis McGahee and power man LenDale White are solid. Wide outs include Demaryius Thomas, Eddie Royal, Eric Decker and aging Brandon Lloyd. The offensive line is young and good with Ryan Clady and Ryan Harris. Elvis Dumervil is injury prone but is still one of the best ends in the NFL and stuffer Brodrick Bunkley. With linebacker Robert Ayers and Von Miller Denver is getting younger in the middle. The secondary is aging but Champ Bailey and Brian Dawkins still make plays.