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The Greyhound

2016 AFC West Preview


Photo courtesy of Heath Aseleike via

The West will have an interesting year. They have the potential to place as many as three teams into the playoffs, and only the AFC North has that kind of talent this year. The reigning Super Bowl Champions the Denver Broncos are officially Peyton-less. Von Miller  made the world take notice of his talent during the Super Bowl, but can he re-live up to the hype this year? Kansas City actually won a playoff game, and kept the foundation of this team together. Oakland might surprise some teams this year as they have a solid quarterback in Derrick Carr, and one of the best young players in the game in Khalil Mack. San Diego just signed their first-round pick to Joey Bosa, ending a nasty public contract dispute. They need to turn things around if they want to move to L.A.


Denver Broncos: Denver’s grip on the division may be in jeopardy here. They are replacing one of the greatest all time, Peyton Manning, with Trevor Siemian, a former seventh-round draft choice from Northwestern. The only thing that keeps Denver on top is their defense. It has a new look after losing some players, but there is enough talent there to do some real damage. Denver’s offensive line will be tested this year, after stars Ryan Harris and Evan Mathis both left. Paxton Lynch is easily the quarterback of the future, but how long until Denver throws him into the fire?


Key Acquisitions: Russell Okung, Jared Crick, Paxton Lynch (Draft)

Key Departures: Brock Osweiler, Ryan Harris, Malik Jackson, Evan Mathis, Danny Trevathan, David Bruton

Prediction: 10-6


Kansas City Chiefs: An always-quiet team, the Chiefs consistently get into the playoffs but fail to make any noise. Quarterback Alex Smith is the classic example of a guy who won’t win you any games, but he certainly won’t lose them either. The Chiefs re-signed defensive end Tampa Hali, arguably one of the most underrated pass rushers in the NFL, along with bringing back linebacker and leader Derrick Johnson.  Kansas City has a shot at the West title only because Peyton Manning is not suiting up for Denver.


Key Acquisitions: Mitchell Schwartz, Chris Jones (Draft)

Key Departures: Chase Daniel, Sean Smith

Prediction: 9-7


Oakland Raiders: Soon to be titled the Las Vegas Raiders, the team boasts young talent and a recent track record of improvement.  Amari Cooper is a very solid wide receiver, and their offensive line got an upgrade in Kelechi Osemele. Their defense is largely underrated. Last year, defensive end/linebacker Khalil Mack was the first player ever to be voted an All-Pro at two different positions. Linebacker Bruce Irvin comes down from Seattle to give this defense a little more edge and a physical hitter. This team might sneak into a playoff team if they can win a game or two against Denver and sweep San Diego.


Key Acquisitions: Kelechi Osemele, Sean Smith, Bruce Irvin, Reggie Nelson, Karl Joesph (Draft)

Key Departures: J’Marcus Webb, Jeremy Ross

Prediction: 9-7


San Diego Chargers: San Diego might be the next L.A. football team, but they are trending downward. Phillip Rivers is still producing in his twilight years in the NFL. Franchise stalwart tight end Antonio Gates is probably playing his last year in his legendary career. The season has not started off on a good note for the Chargers, as first-round pick Joey Bosa had a nasty contract negotiation that was made public. It’s not a good look when your future star is trying to strong-arm his team before he even plays a snap.


Key Acquisitions: Travis Benjamin, Casey Hayward, Joey Bosa (Draft)

Key Departures: Eric Weddle, Patrick Robinson, Ladarius Green

Prediction: 5-11


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2016 AFC West Preview