The season is not over, but one of my picks may be shaky

The season is not over, but one of my picks may be shaky
November 01
13:29 2022

When it comes to my sports predictions, I like to gloat when I am right and most often I am. But when it comes to one particular pick, I have to admit that it’s not looking too good for me a third of the way through the NFL season.

The AFC West had all the makings of one of the best divisions we have seen in the last 20 years. Nearly all of the teams upgraded talent on either side of the ball and with the extra playoff spot, I thought this division had the chance to have all four teams make the playoffs. One team is looking like they are on their way to the playoffs, one team is kind of a roller coaster, and the other two teams have totally underperformed.

Let’s start with the team that has lived up to the hype and that is the Kansas City Chiefs. The Chiefs are 5-2 on the year and coming off of a dominant win against the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday. They are starting to click on all cylinders and once again look like they are well on their way to winning the division. 

The Chiefs started off the year with two good wins against the Arizona Cardinals and the Chargers. With the loss of Tyreek Hill, many people thought their offense would take a major step back. Their offense is not as dynamic as it was in the past, however, Travis Kelce and the pieces they picked up in the offseason have been carrying the load. And let’s not forget that they still have Patrick Mahomes.

Kansas City has losses against the Indianapolis Colts and the Buffalo Bills and also have wins against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Las Vegas Raiders. Besides the loss to the Colts, I don’t think head coach Andy Reid and the Chiefs could have asked for a better start.

Mahomes is off to a good start to the season. Through six games, he has 1,736 yards, 17 touchdowns and 4 interceptions. The only problem I see for the Chiefs is their lack of a consistent running game. Clyde Edwards-Helaire has not been that dynamic in the running game, so the Chiefs need to figure out that part of their offense as the season progresses.

The Chiefs are everything I thought they would be. I knew they wouldn’t be as explosive without Hill, but with the weapons they added to complement what they already had in place; it was only a matter of time before the team gelled together as a unit. It looks like another division title is in store for Kansas City.

The Los Angeles Chargers have been a head scratcher so far this year because I can’t quite figure them out. Granted they have been dealing with a few injuries, most notably to their star wide receiver Keenan Allen, but their record stands at only 4-3 after an embarrassing loss to the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday.  

They have been very inconsistent this season, with their lone bright spot being running back Austin Eckler. Other than Eckler, there has been little to cheer about consistently for the Chargers. The Chargers have not beaten any of the quality teams on their schedule and in fact, have a couple of puzzling losses against teams they should have beaten.

Even star quarterback Justin Herbert is off to somewhat of a slow start based on the standards he has set so far. Admittedly, he is dealing with a rib injury and Allen’s hamstring injury doesn’t help, but their offense just doesn’t quite look like it did last year. Herbert has thrown for 2,009 yards, 12 touchdowns and 4 interceptions. The Chargers have a favorable remaining schedule, so hopefully they can get on track, so my prediction doesn’t look that bad.  

I am not sure what is leading to this inconsistent play from the Chargers. They have continuity on the sidelines and have added some pieces on defense, so I can’t put my finger on why they have not played up to their talent level. I think they will be a playoff team considering Allen should be back to full health after the bye week.

Now when it comes to the Las Vegas Raiders, I really don’t know what to think. Coming into the season, I thought the Raiders would have one of the best and most explosive offenses in the league, with the addition of wide receiver Davante Adams. It has not worked out that way and the Raiders have limped out to a 2-4 record after seven weeks.

Vegas got out of the gates slow this season, losing their first three games. They then beat a bad Denver Broncos team, played Kansas City well but lost, and then beat the Houston Texans coming off of the bye week.  

Running back Josh Jacobs and Adams have played very well, but surprisingly quarterback Derek Carr has not. Carr has been very up and down this season. He is only completing 63% of his passes, with 1,520 yards, 9 touchdowns and 4 interceptions. It feels like Carr has been overly targeting Adams to the detriment of his other weapons. Darren Waller and Hunter Renfrow’s stats have dropped dramatically from last year. I think getting them more involved will bode well for the team. They are not out of it yet, but I don’t think the playoffs are in the Raiders’ future this season.

Lastly, it’s the Denver Broncos who currently sit at 2-5 on the season and starting quarterback Russell Wilson was benched last week due to multiple injuries and possibly bad play. After his trade from the Seattle Seahawks during the offseason, Wilson signed a five-year extension with the Broncos through the 2028 season worth $245 million and includes $165 million guaranteed.

Wilson has put up some of the worst numbers of his career so far this year. His numbers are 1,442 yards passing, with only 5 touchdowns and 3 interceptions. With the weapons he had at his disposal to start the season, I never thought Wilson’s numbers would look so pedestrian. I know the injuries have contributed to the bad numbers, but I think it’s more to do with the system they run in Denver. I am not sure it matches Wilson’s improv style of play. I don’t think the Broncos will be “letting Russ cook” anytime soon and I think that means the same for their playoff hopes as well. No playoffs for Denver.

All in all, I wasn’t totally off base with my predictions. I think I overvalued some of the additions some of the teams made during the offseason. We still have a long way to go and things can change at the drop of a hat. With that being said, I feel confident that the Chiefs and Chargers will make the playoffs, while the Raiders and Broncos will fight for finishing above .500.

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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