2015 NFL Football Betting – AFC West Preview
The NFL season is two months away. The AFC West had a tough year last year. Only one team made the playoffs, and that team – the Denver Broncos – did not win a playoff game. The Kansas City Chiefs and San Diego Chargers know what they have to do this season, but will they?
AFC West Preview
This is a division which has suffered from a lack of productive passing offenses. The Denver Broncos don’t have to worry about that, but everyone else in the division does. The Kansas City Chiefs, San Diego Chargers, and Oakland Raiders all fought major problems throwing the ball last season. San Diego’s aggregate passing statistics, with over 4,000 yards and 30 touchdowns, weren’t that bad, but the Chargers collected their stats in bunches and did not spread them out over 16 games. San Diego, in seven of its nine wins last season, scored 27 or more points. When the Chargers were good, they were really good. However, in San Diego’s seven losses, the Chargers averaged just under 13 points a game. When San Diego was bad, it was really bad. The Chargers struggled to throw the ball consistently. They benefited from a very cushy stretch of games early last year, playing Buffalo, Jacksonville, the New York Jets, and Oakland in consecutive weeks. As soon as their schedule got tougher, especially within the AFC West (playing Denver and Kansas City), they struggled. They went 0-4 against the Chiefs and Broncos, averaging under 15 points per game in those contests. They need to be able to show up more often this year – Philip Rivers has to be able to avoid an up-and-down season with all sorts of erratic twists and turns. If he can improve, the Chargers can make the playoffs.
The AFC West contender with far worse passing-game problems than the Chargers was Kansas City. The Chiefs did something that’s very hard to do: They went through a full 16-game season without getting a single touchdown catch from a wide receiver. Not in one game did a wide receiver take a pass and carry it into the end zone, one of the strangest and most unusual failures in NFL history. The Chiefs have a pretty good team, but they obviously do not have a difference maker on the outside. If Kansas City can ever figure out its downfield passing game and make that a legitimately solid part of its offense, the Chiefs – who have the big-time running game with Jamal Charles – can win the division.
The Oakland Raiders are simply a mess. With no answer at quarterback, no leadership at the coaching position, and a cluttered organizational structure that seems likely to remain in disrepair for years, there’s just no hope for the Raiders. Until they get an organizational overhaul, they’re going to finish last in the AFC West.
This leaves Denver. The Broncos are the favorite to win the division, though Kansas City is a strong second choice. Denver is worried that Peyton Manning is going to physically break down, such that he can’t drive his legs into his throws. This is how Denver’s season fell apart late last year. The Broncos looked like a Super Bowl contender through the first half of the season, but as soon as Manning became physically compromised, the team lost its ability to perform at a high level. If Manning can stay physically whole, this team should win the division.