The AFC West is going to be great to watch next season

The AFC West is going to be great to watch next season
April 07
07:39 2022

I normally wait until after the NFL draft in April to write about the improvements made by teams in the league. This year, I could not wait because the teams in the AFC West division were so aggressive in the off-season, signing the best free agents on the market. It should make for a great year in the division next season.

The Kansas City Chiefs have been the top dogs in the division for several years and now the other teams in the division have had enough and everyone is making a push for the top. With the extra wild card spot, it’s not inconceivable to see every team from the AFC West make the playoffs.

The Chiefs lost one of the best weapons in Tyreek Hill to the Miami Dolphins for five draft picks: a 2022 1st-round pick (No. 29), a 2nd-round pick (No. 50), a 2022 4th-round pick, as well as 4th and 6th-round picks in the 2023 draft.

The Chiefs have had one of the most explosive offenses the league has ever seen. Now that quarterback Patrick Mahomes has lost one of his most valuable weapons, this seems to be the perfect time for the other teams to make a push for the crown in the AFC West.

Kansas City also lost speedsters Demarcus Robinson and Byron Pringle in free agency as well. On defense, the Chiefs also lost safety Tyrann Mathieu who is one of the better players at his position in the league right now. Finding a replacement for him will be tough.

The Chiefs did not stand idly by while everyone else was snatching up these quality free agents. They signed Ju Ju Smith-Schuster and Marquez Valdes-Scantling to revamp their receiving corps and signed former Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Ronald Jones to bolster their backfield.

The Chiefs should be one of the best teams in the league once again. It’s hard to count out Kansas City because of how explosive they are, but this season they will have to play up better if they expect to repeat as AFC West champions.

The Los Angeles Chargers are an intriguing team. They re-signed wide receiver Mike Williams to a three-year deal, but their biggest acquisition was former Chicago Bears pass rusher Khalil Mack.

With all of the quality quarterback play in the division, it is a must to have pass rushers who can get to the quarterback in a hurry. Mack, alongside Joey Bosa, will form one of the best duos in the league. They also landed the best cornerback on the market in J.C. Jackson to upgrade their secondary as well.

The Chargers barely missed out on the playoffs with a loss in the last week of the season. It would not be a shock if they turned things around to win the division outright. With emerging superstar quarterback Justin Herbert, stud running back Austin Ekeler, and wideout Keenan Allen, the Chargers will be scary.

I really like what the Las Vegas Raiders did this offseason as well. They pulled off the blockbuster trade with the Green Bay Packers for star wide receiver Davante Adams, pairing him with his former Fresno State teammate Derek Carr. The Raiders offense will be scary if everyone can stay healthy.

Carr now has a plethora of weapons in Adams, Hunter Renfrow, Darren Waller and Josh Jacobs. Las Vegas also brought in former New England Patriots running back Brandon Bolden to pair with Jacobs. Demarcus Robinson was also added to the receiving corps as well

On defense, the Raiders also added Chandler Jones to the mix to pair with Maxx Crosby. They may not be Mack and Bosa, but they may be just as good a duo. The Raiders were up and down last year due to several injuries, so this season if they can stay healthy, they should be a dangerous team to play.

The Denver Broncos have not made it to the playoffs since the 2015 season. They also have not had competent quarterback play since the retirement of Peyton Manning. That all changed with the trade for former Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson.

The addition of Wilson gives instant credibility to the Broncos and upgrades them to Super Bowl contenders. Denver should be dangerous on offense with Jerry Jeudy, Courtland Sutton and Tim Patrick at receiver. They also have Javante Williams and possibly Melvin Gordon in the backfield.

Denver did not stop with adding Wilson on offense; they also addressed a key hole on defense by adding pass rusher Randy Gregory from the Dallas Cowboys in free agency. The Broncos already had a good defense and now with Gregory they should be even better.

Jeudy, Sutton and Patrick have all had roller coaster careers in the NFL but that could be mostly due to the sketchy play at quarterback they have had to suffer through. Now with Wilson under center, the team will get an accurate look at how good their pass catchers can actually be.

One thing is for sure, there will not be an easy win for any team in the AFC West this season in division games. It would not be a surprise if every team in the division won at least nine or ten games. 

This should be fun to watch. 

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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