2016 AFC West Previews & Predictions

The real reason Osweiler may have left the division.

The real reason Osweiler may have left the division.

What is it about the Denver Broncos winning Super Bowls and having quarterbacks retire?? This of course wouldn’t mean as much had Brock Osweiler stayed around. Now they have Mark Sanchez and highly regarded 1st round pick Paxton Lynch. This time around there won’t be a Mike Shanahan brain fart going with untested Brian Griese over veteran Bubby Brister. Hopefully Coach Kubiak will opt for the veteran and bring his prized rookie along slowly.

However an autumn wind is billowing in from the west. Its always fun to watch a team as it starts growing before your very eyes. Khalil Mack, Derek Carr, and Amari Cooper headline a young star studded group out in Oakland. The question is will it grow to a point to challenge for supremacy in the AFC West this season??

raiderfanlogo2016 AFC WEST PREDICTIONS

Oakland Raiders 10-6 *

Kansas City Chiefs 9-7

Denver Broncos 7-9

San Diego Chargers 4-12

Most will scoff at the notion of the Raiders overtaking the Chiefs until you realize Alex Smith is still their starting quarterback. We have seen the best of his abilities and he will just keep you in ball games. At times he plays scared of throwing the football down the field. Jamaal Charles just made it off the PUP list but when will he gain his original explosiveness??  Now with LB Justin Houston returning from knee surgery also can we expect the same production there?? They were 11-5 with the 7th best defense in the NFL and OLB Tamba Hali is coming back from a broken thumb. This team will slide back in 2016.

Anderson will breakout n 2016.

Anderson will breakout n 2016.

In Denver the preseason has played out exactly as The Chancellor thought, no one is taking control at the quarterback position. Mark Sanchez’s penchant for turnovers has come back to haunt him in both preseason games. We still don’t have a starter named going into week 3 of the preseason. First rounder Paxton Lynch still needs grooming. He’s taken a few more sacks than you’d like but could become the starter by mid season if the offense sputters. His arm has shown zip. Now he needs to develop touch and throw the ball on time.

For a team that was 6-1 in games decided by 6 points or less the one thing they can ill afford is turnovers. Turning the ball over 3 & 4 times a game will get a defense in trouble. Even a #1 ranked defense. Go ask the ’85 Bears, 2000 Ravens and ’02 Bucs why they didn’t repeat. So expect Coach Kubiak to lean on RB CJ Anderson who should breakout with a 1,400 yard season. However the ball doesn’t bounce a team’s way 2 years in a row and QB instability will lead to 3 or 4 close losses this season.

Carr will lead Oakland to the playoffs in 2016.

Carr will lead Oakland to the playoffs in 2016.

It won’t be enough to hold off the growing Raiders under Coach Jack Del Rio. Look no further than the stunning development of Derek Carr. Last year’s performance (350 of 573  3,987 yds 32 TDs / 13 ints) marked him as an up and coming superstar and this will be the year he cements that notion. Both Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree are back as his main receivers along with 1,000 yard rusher Latavius Murray.

The improvement has to come from last year’s 22nd ranked defense. Defensive Coordinator Ken Norton Jr did get LB Bruce Irvin from Seattle this year and signed S Reggie Nelson to replace Charles Woodson. Both are coming from winning organizations which should provide veteran leadership to help a young team learn how to win. First round draft pick Karl Joseph has Nelson to groom him for the pro game.

Circle the week 6 match-up with Kansas City, where the Raiders could be sporting a 4-1 record against a 1-3 Chiefs team. The knockout blow that could ignite an AFC West Championship for the Oakland Raiders.

The Chancellor & Super Bowl LI Trophy at the Hall of Fame.

The Chancellor & Super Bowl LI Trophy at the Hall of Fame.

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Report Card: San Diego Chargers

While the Denver Broncos have retooled their defense in an attempt to make it back to the Super Bowl, one team has begun to turn heads. The San Diego Chargers aren’t just posing as the #1 challenger for the AFC West crown. They’re posing as a legitimate threat to win the entire conference.

Phillip Rivers is the early season MVP of the league.

Phillip Rivers is the early season MVP of the league.

We keep wanting to take the Cincinnati Bengals seriously but when it’s time for them to win that champion’s building block landmark game, they fall flat on their face. Enter the San Diego Chargers…

Do you realize the Chargers are on a 5 game winning streak which began with a win over the defending champion Seahawks?? Did you know Phillip Rivers is the first QB in NFL history with 5 straight games with a passer rating of 120 or higher?? He is tied for 2nd with 15 touchdown passes thrown. Although Andrew Luck leads with 17, he’s thrown 7 interceptions to Rivers 2.

Head Coach Mike McCoy could be up for NFL coach of the year honors this season.

Head Coach Mike McCoy could be up for NFL coach of the year honors this season.

Their only loss was to the 4-1 NFC West leading Arizona Cardinals. So this team has been through an early crucible that should serve them well as they gear up for a huge game against Denver in 2 weeks. Therein lies the problem. How do they not look ahead of this weeks game against the Kansas City Chiefs?? That is the #1 item for Head Coach Mike McCoy to convey to his team.

Has anyone coached better than Mike McCoy this season?? You would be hard pressed to find one. At the beginning of the season you had backfield cogs Ryan Matthews & Danny Woodhead. Since they have been lost to injury, Branden Oliver (249 yds rushing / 124 yds receiving) has emerged as a spark plug. He runs with an explosive fury where Donald Brown is the steady sacrificial runner for this offense.

I know what you’re thinking… sacrificial?? Yes sacrificial.

The Chargers have been a power rushing team averaging 31.6 rushing attempts per game. The Chargers know Brown (59 car. 126 yds)will not break any nifty shifty runs. His runs are the equivalent of a boxing jab to just help wear down the defense. In keeping defenses honest TE Antonio Gates has re-emerged with 6TDs on 24 receptions. He hasn’t scored at this pace since 2004.

San Diego stands to get Ryan Matthews back from injury in 5 weeks. The ground and pound approach that has allowed Rivers to flourish has kept the defense rested as well. Right now they field the 3rd best defense in football.

Right now the Chargers have the NFL’s longest winning streak in football with 5. They have scored 30 or more in 4 games and it was their blueprint Dallas took to Seattle in their watershed victory last week. Two weeks from now they could be 6-1 going into that Sunday Night tilt in Denver. At stake, control of the AFC West and possible control of the conference as a whole.

Don't forget how well Charger coach Mike McCoy knows Peyton Manning.

Don’t forget how well Charger coach Mike McCoy knows Peyton Manning.

Last year the Chargers won in Denver on a Thursday night 27-20 but lost the rubber-match in the playoffs there 24-17. Those were the two lowest point totals for the record setting Bronco team a year ago who this year aren’t as potent. This year the Chargers are a little more battle hardened and must show it by not overlooking the Kansas City Chiefs.

The following week will take care of itself. Thanks for reading and please share the article.

Chiefs Get Their Man – Alex Smith Traded From 49ers to Kansas City

Matt Cassel is due to get released any day now.

Matt Cassel is due to get released any day now.

Remember in 2010 when the Kansas City Chiefs were 10-6 and won the AFC West?? That was the first year Matt Cassel was the starting quarterback and the future looked bright with WR Dwayne Bowe his main target for years to come. Then Offensive Co-Ordinator Charlie Weiss left and the offense completely fell apart as Cassel regressed. Two losing seasons followed and both Head Coaches Todd Haley and Romeo Crennel got the ax.

The Chiefs finished 2012 with a 2-14 record and scored an NFL low 211 points on the season. In 5 of their last 7 games they scored less than 10 points which was pathetic. Sure they had some injuries but every team suffers from injury. Yet with the NFL’s 20th ranked defense, had they scored or just been middle of the road proficient they could have been a playoff team. What held them back?? Matt Cassel and Brady Quinn’s combined 8TDs to 20 interception season was the main reason this team was held back.

To KC after being supplanted in SF, Smith will have the landscape to himself.

To KC after being supplanted in SF, Smith will have the landscape to himself.

Enter new Head Coach Andy Reid and newest Kansas City Chief Alex Smith. The San Francisco 49ers have agreed to trade Smith to the Chiefs once the league year starts. With this move Kansas City changes the landscape of the AFC West immediately.

The staple of the Andy Reid era in Philadelphia was his quarterback development. We’re not just talking Donovan McNabb, think back to the 2002 NFL season. In that year he coached AJ Feeley and Ty Detmer to a 5-1 record while McNabb recovered from a fractured ankle. That year they made the NFC Championship Game. In 2006 he coached an aging Jeff Garcia to a 5-1 record when McNabb was lost for the season and they made the playoffs winning a wild card game.

All this before we talk about the resurrection of Michael Vick’s career and the possible Hall of Fame career of McNabb, Reid develops quarterbacks and don’t forget his role in the ascension of Brett Favre’s career. Every quarterback that has associated with Reid has performed above expectations. He is the replacement to develop quarterbacks the Chiefs have sought since Charlie Weiss’ departure. He may be the best to develop quarterbacks in the last 25 years. Look at what he did last year with a rookie in Nick Foles??

Now Smith won’t look over his shoulder like he had to last year in San Francico. His replacement last year was thought by many, including The Chancellor of Football, to be an unfair decision. At the time he was outplaying Colin Kaepernick and finished with better stats than the man who replaced him. For 2012, A. Smith completed 70% of his passes for 1,737 yards 13 TSDs with 5 interceptions vs 62.4% for 1,814 yards 10 TDs and 3 interceptions. An uneducated fan will say “Yes, but they made the Super Bowl with Kaepernick” which is true but a total misnomer. They were already on their way there. In 2011 totally under Smith’s control they were 13-3 and lost in overtime in the NFC Championship Game. In that game he didn’t throw any interceptions. The same couldn’t be said for the 11-4-1 49ers that played in Super Bowl XLVII as Kaepernick did throw a 2nd quarter interception that held up comeback efforts.

Andy Reid needed a fresh start and the Chiefs and Alex Smith will give him the tools to be successful.

Andy Reid needed a fresh start and the Chiefs and Alex Smith will give him the tools to be successful.

Smith had come of age and was enjoying a decent 2012 and all hadn’t been healed from the 49ers letting him dangle in free agency while courting Peyton Manning. The only true reason he was replaced Russell Wilson’s success out of the pistol in Seattle. So the 49ers rolled over a plan last year that wasn’t going to take place until 2013.

Nevertheless Smith is free and will inherit a 1,500 yard rusher in Jamaal Charles. Kansas City has the #1 draft pick this year as well. He’ll have Dexter McCluster out of the backfield also. This could be the rebirth of WR Dwayne Bowe who was coming off back to back 1,000 yard seasons before last year’s 59 rec. 801 yard 3 touchdown performance. What will this team do with the first pick and what will the Chiefs attract in free agency with Alex Smith now in tow??

If Denver thinks the AFC West is going to be another cake-walk they had better think again. The Chiefs have a Head Coach in Andy Reid who has made the Super Bowl once and five NFC Championships total. He’s coming in with his quarterback in Alex Smith who helped the 49ers to last year’s Super Bowl and the NFC Championship Game in 2011. Don’t forget his signature win with The Catch III, the NFC Divisional Playoff win over Drew Brees and the Saints 36-32. https://taylorblitztimes.com/2012/01/21/nfc-championship-preview-alex-smith-coming-of-age/

The landscape has changed in the AFC West, with a few moves they could go from worst to first in a single year. Once the league year starts in March who will be attracted to Kansas City now that they have a coach, a quarterback, and a direction??

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Taylor Blitz Times new logo!!

Taylor Blitz Times new logo!!

NFL Week 13: AFC West – Both Ends Of The Spectrum

Peyton Manning has had command of the Bronco huddle from the outset.

Peyton Manning has had command of the Bronco huddle from the outset.

At this time last year, the Denver Broncos won the AFC West on the last week of the season, although they staggered to an 8-8 finish. This year with Peyton Manning orchestrating the offense, they have actually scored 349 points in 12 games where last year they scored 309 in 16. Their 9-3 record is good enough to wrap up the AFC West with a month left in the season. Although pundits like Peter King hailed the Broncos from the outset, we here at Taylor Blitz like to see progressive growth during the season. Make no mistake the Broncos are an improved team…but are we witnessing a transcendent team or are they the beneficiary of a weak division??

Before we start…take a look at the standings:

West Division

W

L

T

PCT

PF

PA

Home

Road

DIV

CONF

Strk

Last5

Denver Broncos y-Broncos 9 3 0 .750 349 244 5-1 4-2 4-0 6-2 W7 5-0
San Diego Chargers Chargers 4 8 0 .333 258 257 2-4 2-4 3-2 4-5 L4 1-4
Oakland Raiders Raiders 3 9 0 .250 235 376 2-4 1-5 1-2 3-6 L5 0-5
Kansas City Chiefs Chiefs 2 10 0 .167 188 322 1-6 1-4 0-4 0-8 W1 1-4

Did you notice the Chargers are in the midst of a 4 game losing streak, the Raiders in a 5 game losing streak, and even though the Chiefs won Sunday, it broke an 8 game losing streak for them?? So what does the crown in the AFC West really mean?? Against a group that had lost 17 straight games…

We need a litmus test that can tell us who the Broncos are and how strong they are. Now that they’re division champs, we have to assess if the Broncos are able to make a Super Bowl run. In actuality there is much in the way of substance but even more in the way of a mirage. Do you realize that aside from Sunday’s game with Tampa, the last time they played a team with a winning record was October 15th?? Even that game was against the backsliding Chargers who have lost 7 of their last 8 games. In their 7 game winning streak, only 2 have come against winning teams. In fact, the Broncos are only 4-3 against teams with winning records. One of the wins came against the Steelers who didn’t have Troy Palamalu, James Harrison, and Ryan Clark. You have to put an asterisk next to that one when assessing strength.

The Broncos are clearly a better team with Manning at the helm.  Denver’s offense is #5 in total offense and #3 in total defense but are they battle-hardened?? That is The Chancellor’s point. You have a team that is feasting on a lot of patsies and padding their record like an old Big 8 Nebraska college football team. They have losses to the Patriots and the Texans who have tie breaker advantages over them and Denver would have to travel to either in the playoffs. They are -3 in the turnover margin and the defense has only forced 10 turnovers on the road. Six of those came against the hapless Chargers.

Peyton Manning should be runaway NFL Comeback Player of the Year and in the thick of NFL’s MVP talks as well. He’s completed 304 of 447 (68%) for 3,502 yards, 29TDs with only 9 interceptions. He’s done this with a moderately talented receiving staff and has been the steadying hand for this year. Especially with the loss of Willis McGahee until the playoffs, teams are still gearing toward Manning. Wideout DeMaryius (what kind of name is that) Thomas is having a career year. His 69 receptions, 1,114 yards, and 8 touchdowns pace Bronco receivers. Thomas has more than doubled his 2011 output and still has 4 games to go.

Von Miller has been everywhere this year.

Von Miller has been everywhere this year.

There are some points of substance at individual positions. Von Miller has catapulted himself into the Taylor Blitz Time’s NFL Defensive Player of The Year award conversation. With 53 total tackles, 15 1/2 sacks, 5 forced fumbles, and an interception for a touchdown, this is a force. Those are Lawrence Taylor type stats and his highlights over the last month, no one has been able to match his play.

The secondary hasn’t forced a lot of turnovers and only have 5 interceptions for the year amongst the starters. How will this team fare in the playoffs in a game where they can’t generate a pass rush?? Most of these questions are going to go unanswered until we get into the thick of the NFL playoffs. What Coach John Fox hopes is the team can ride the wonderful wave of confidence once the playoffs start.

One game that now looms important is that week 15 match-up in Baltimore. Now that the Ravens lost to the Steelers, Denver is within striking distance of taking the #3 seed away with a win. If they lose in Baltimore, the Broncos worst fears could surface right before the postseason begins.  They’d have to be on the road for both the divisional playoff and conference championship games if they lose in Baltimore. That could send them to New England and Houston barring any upsets. Don’t forget they lost to both teams already and the nightmare loss to New England in last year’s playoffs could flash in the minds of Bronco players along with this year’s regular season loss. That could sap the confidence of the team if they fall behind early.

In other words…  no game will shape the 2012 AFC playoffs like the week 15 Denver Broncos at Baltimore Ravens matchup. The winner should at least make the AFC C hampionship…the loser?? Maybe the divisional round. Don’t look now but the Ravens are averaging 34 points per game at home. Buckle your chinstraps boys…the playoffs are coming

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NFL Week 7: AFC West – Illusions

Peyton Manning showed true greatness in Monday night’s stunning come from behind win.

In the waning moments of Monday night’s comeback, we saw the true nature of the San Diego Chargers under Norv Turner and the possibilities for the Denver Broncos with Peyton Manning. First lets look at the perennial underachieving Chargers. When our CEO talks about championship football teams, it’s usually around signature wins that bolsters their confidence as they mature over a season. Before you can prove to the rest of the NFL that you’re a force to be reckoned with, you have to knock down a bully in your backyard.

Now wasn’t it one year ago Rex Ryan boldly stated “Had I coached the talent the Chargers have, I’d have Super Bowl rings”, in an obvious dig at Turner?? How did he and his team respond after being called out?? They came out and took a 21-10 halftime lead on the Jets only to show no fight in the end while losing 27-21.  http://www.pro-football-reference.com/boxscores/201110230nyj.htm They were outscored 17-0 as the Jets promptly took their lunch money without much of a struggle.

Fast forward 358 days and here the Chargers were playing the odds on favorite to win the division in the Denver Broncos. This time they woke in the heat of battle up 24-0. Antonio Gates had just scored after the defense showed it could play Manning tough with Quentin Jammer’s 80 yard interception return for a touchdown. Their crowd was in it. Manning was having his struggles and Phillip Rivers looked like a world beater. So what happened???

Let’s take a look at the AFC West standings…

West Division

W

L

T

PCT

PF

PA

HOME

ROAD

DIV

CONF

STRK

LAST5

Denver Broncos Broncos 3 3 0 .500 170 138 2-1 1-2 2-0 3-2 W1 2-3
San Diego Chargers Chargers 3 3 0 .500 148 137 1-2 2-1 2-1 3-1 L2 2-3
Oakland Raiders Raiders 1 4 0 .200 87 148 1-1 0-3 0-2 1-3 L2 1-4
Kansas City Chiefs Chiefs 1 5 0 .167 104 183 0-3 1-2 0-1 0-3 L3 1-4

That was an incredibly gritty performance by Peyton Manning. Where he could have packed it in after his pick 6, he kept on firing. One strong point to the comeback was they didn’t totally abandon the running game. This kept the Chargers honest and his intermediate passing lanes open. The clinic he performed was reminiscent of the 21 point 4th quarter deficit he erased when his Colts came back on the champion Buccaneers 38-35 in 2003. This time he performed surgery for 2 quarters. Of course we all remembered his epic comeback in the 2006 AFC Championship against New England. However this one seemed better than those..surreal. He has been trying to make it work with a new team, and if you dissect his season, it’s as though he has to realize the strengths of his personnel and what they present in match-ups to the opposition. He’s had to do this in every game and then he gets hot. Do you realize that with 1,808 yards and 14 touchdowns, he is on pace for 4,821 yards and 37 TDs?? Yikes!! Can he physically keep it up for the duration of the season??

So what are we talking about when we say illusions?? In all actuality the Broncos only raised their record to 3-3 and right now the defense is allowing 23 points per game. They do rank 11th in total defense and can play stifling defense in fits and starts. So are they as good as their 3 wins or as flawed as they appeared in their 3 losses?? Puzzling but this win over the Chargers was the first over a winning team as well as a first triumph on the road. As for the rest of the season they only face 3 teams who are .500 or better, and 5 of their next 8 games are on the road.

The Broncos could ride that momentum into a winning streak and a more impressive record. Yet playing good football in spotty fashion has dug to deep a hole against quality teams. With upcoming games against New Orleans, at Cincinnati, at Carolina, home to the Chargers, and then away at Kansas City: If the Broncos were to rattle off wins against these under performing teams and inflate their record, are they a true elite team in the AFC?? Our CEO just shrugged his shoulders at the thought of that…

As for the Chargers, here they were with an inflated record of 3-2 with wins over the back-pedalling Raiders, Titans, and Chiefs. When it was time to step up and show they were for real in a showcase game, they gave us another epic collapse. Just like that loss last year to the New York Jets, it showed this team lacks toughness and has a damaged fight or flight mechanism also. They became clock watchers and couldn’t turn the tide once momentum was on the side of Denver. With the loss of WR Vincent Jackson, this team has lost all of the playmakers they once had to turn a close game in their favor. From a psyche standpoint they will not stand up and fight. As long as Norv Turner is the coach, this team is not to be trusted as being a Super Bowl caliber group.

As for the Raiders and Chiefs…it’s been an optical illusion that they have even taken the field this year.

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We would like to entice readers to tune in to The Artie Clear Show which has been a place where Taylor Blitz Times has been on several times talking football. Artie tells it like it is and as of October 17th will be live on Fox Sports Radio as well. Congratulations Artie Clear! Guys and girls, tune in. The Chancellor of Football from Taylor Blitz Times will be on there talking football again.

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2012 AFC Picks & Prognostications

The NFL season is underway and we are late with our version of what we believe will happen in the AFC this season. Many new faces in new places that have teams excited. Most notably was the debut of Peyton Manning in last night’s opening win over the Pittsburgh Steelers. So the Broncos are going to streak to the Super Bowl…right?? Not so fast. A lot of excitement left the arena in Cleveland as the rookie starting tandem of QB Branden Weeden and RB Trent Richardson completely underwhelmed in a 17-16 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. Had they provided just an ounce of offense they would have prevailed.

With fellow rookie QBs Andrew Luck, Ryan Tannenhill starting in Indianapolis and Miami respectively, they also took their lumps in week 1. Yet these teams knew they were going to have a long season and hope to see some growth as the season progresses.

Not so with many of the conference’s heavyweight teams in Baltimore, New England, Pittsburgh, and Houston. Can Joe Flacco perform better in a contract year for him?? Can the Ravens defense stay blood thirsty without Terrell Suggs?? How will the Steelers fare as their defense replaces some familiar faces?? Will the Patriots improve defensively this year with so much youth on that side of the ball?? Are the Texans the new team to beat coming out of the AFC South?? We’ll try to answer a few of these

2012 AFC Playoff Predictions

1. New England Patriots 13-3 ## AFC East Champs  Homefield Advantage

2. Houston Texans 12-4 AFC South Champs

3. Kansas City Chiefs 11-5 AFC West Champs

4. Pittsburgh Steelers 10-6 AFC North Champs

5. Baltimore Ravens 10-6 Wild Card

6. Denver Broncos 9-7 Wild Card

AFC CHAMPION: New England Patriots

Now based upon last night many will have the Broncos headed for the Super Bowl. Take a look at their schedule as a whole and you’ll see more than a few bumps in the road. Are the Broncos a more complete team than the Atlanta Falcons who murdered the Chiefs in Kansas City40-24?? That is where Denver is headed next week. The Georgia Dome will be loud as Falcons fans anticipate a Super Bowl season for their team. How about the defending AFC South champion Texans or going to defending AFC Champion New England Patriots?? Oh you didn’t know those were three of the next four Bronco opponents?? Sure they beat the #1 defense in the Steelers but that is without former Defensive Player of the Year in James Harrison and starting FS Ryan Clark.  That’s like winning Miss America without Miss California, Miss Florida, Miss Texas, Miss Ohio, and Miss Georgia not being available. Peyton did perform well in his debut however it was just one game and it has to be kept in perspective. The Broncos still have a lot of questions at receiver and their defense as a whole. They conclude with 3 of their final 5 against Tampa, the desperate to make the playoffs Ravens, and the Browns. You saw what that Browns defense did to Michael Vick and on any given Sunday…

There is something the Texans are missing and we won’t find out til later this season. This isn’t the same team that was on the field for them a few seasons ago. They are solid on defense but may have given up too much in letting LB DeMeco Ryans, DE/LB Mario Williams, and CB Duante Robinson out of town. They’ll be solid from a tactical standpoint but will they have playmakers on defense to turn a close game like they couldn’t against the Ravens in last year’s playoff?? Someone has to emerge..

In the AFC North these teams will beat each other up as the best defenses ravage the rest of the conference. The Steelers will emerge because of Ben Roethlisberger winning games with those fast receivers. They will transform into more of an offensive team as their defense ages and eventually will show wear. LB Larry Foote becoming the leader in the middle is well deserved and he played tremendous against Denver early on. They still have the best offensive / defensive personnel in the division and again will narrowly beat out the Ravens in the AFC North.

Out west Kansas City will emerge and play as they did in 2010 when they were one of the strongest teams in the league. They lost to the Falcons in week 1 but they are much better than they were in 2011. They are set at every skill position and RB Jamaal Charles looked good coming back from knee surgery. Matt Cassel is looking to have a rebound year and the Chiefs are solid on the offensive and defensive lines. A lot like Tampa in the NFC, this team took a step back although they have a good roster and should bounce back nicely in 2012.

As for the Chargers, they are the AFC West version of the Houston Texans. A lot of good football players but lack the playmakers to change games. Add to that WR Vincent Jackson is now down in Tampa and someone new has to emerge. Phillip Rivers is a good quarterback but he can’t go it alone. The Chargers will frustrate their fans as they lose close ball games all year. Until a few playmakers emerge they will watch the playoffs alongside the Oakland Raiders.

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