AFC West Preview: Denver Broncos, Kansas City Chiefs, San Diego Chargers, Oakland Raiders

Despite the best efforts of the other three teams, this division is the Broncos to lose and unless they suffer a significant amount of injuries this will be unlikely.

 

Source: John Leyba/ The Denver Post

Source: John Leyba/ The Denver Post

 

Kansas City Chiefs

 

Arguably the most improved team in the 2014 season was the Kansas City Chiefs.

 

At the end of 2012, the Chiefs decided to shake their organisation up a bit and this started by landing former Philadelphia Eagles coach Andy Reid as their new head coach.

 

In just his first year in charge, Reid turned the Chiefs into one of the form teams of the competition, but they faded away towards the back of the year.

 

While they will struggle to top the Broncos for the division title, expect them to be well and truly in the AFC wildcard race.

 

A lot of the pressure will be on their quarterback Alex Smith who managed a great season in his first year in a Chiefs uniform after making the move from the 49ers.

 

They will also need a substantial output from their running back Jamaal Charles if they want to be competitive this year.

 

Denver Broncos

 

Close but not close enough is the way that 2013 will be remembered Denver Broncos players and supporters.

 

Led by MVP Peyton Manning, the Broncos went on a rampaging run through the regular season breaking a number of offensive records, but in the Superbowl they were systematically destroyed by the Seattle Seahawks.

 

Expect them to be around at the pointy end of the season once again, with Manning looking for one more championship ring before he gives it up.

 

Despite losing wide-receiver Eric Decker to the Jets in free agency and having Wes Welker suspended for the early part of the season, the Broncos still have Demaryius Thomas and Julius Thomas to catch the ball down the field.

 

While their offense will undoubtedly fire, expect rapid improvement from their defensive unit after they went on a shopping spree over the off season.

 

The two big name signings that they landed were Demarcus Ware and Aqib Talib, and expect these two to flourish.

 

San Diego Chargers

 

They are always competitive, but have struggled to take that next step; that is the way that most football fans would describe the San Diego Chargers.

 

Once upon a time you could rely on the Chargers to at least win the AFC West, but that is no longer the case with their division rivals all making ground on them.

 

This is highlighted by the Broncos improvement since they signed Peyton Manning and the Chiefs since they signed Andy Reid as their head coach.

 

One thing that you can rely on when it comes to the Chargers is their quarterback Phillip Rivers.

 

Even though his chances of winning a championship may have passed him by, expect Rivers to make the most of what the Chargers have to offer on offense.

 

They also added some depth to their defense by selecting cornerback Jason Verrett from TCU and linebacker Jeremiah Attaochu from Georgia Tech.

 

Oakland Raiders

 

Is this the year that the Raiders can finally do some damage in terms of winning games?

 

That is the question that Raiders will be seriously considering heading into week one of the 2014 season.

 

The answer to this question looks like it could be a yes with how the Raiders have gone about their recruiting over the off-season.

 

With their first pick and the fifth overall pick of the draft, the Raiders landed talented defensive player Khalil Mack from Buffalo.

 

While with their second pick they took rookie quarterback Derek Carr from Fresno State.

 

Touted by many as one of the most talented at his position in the 2014 draft class, Carr proved the experts right as he beat out veteran Matt Schaub who the Raiders signed from the Texans.

 

Expect there to be improvement from Oakland, in particular with Carr having James Jones and Maurice Jones-Drew as weapons to play with on offense.

 

Written by: Joe Schwab @Meadowswidget

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