AFC West Betting – Chargers Still The Top Dog
The AFC West has been dominated by the San Diego Chargers for the past 4 years, with the other teams simply vying for second place in the division and the hope for a wild card sport. As Oakland has made changes to its quarterback, the Chiefs have added to their coaching staff and with the Broncos looking to move forward after ridding themselves of Brandon Marshal and adding Heisman trophy winner Tim Tebow, here is how the AFC West breaks down for the 2010 regular season:
San Diego Chargers
The San Diego Chargers won’t miss a beat without LaDainian Tomlinson. As a matter of fact, they’ll be even better. With Tomlinson taking his talents to the New York Jets, Darren Sproles will step into the shoes of the starting running back for a team that was just 31st in the league in rushing last season. The Chargers selected tailback Ryan Mathews 12th overall in the 2010 NFL draft and if he can make an impact as a rookie, the Charger wont miss LT in their lineup. The Chargers also re-signed arguably the best tight end in the league Antonio Gates to a 5 year extension worth $36.175 million. With all of their offensive weapons in tact and a healthy Phillip Rivers who led the Chargers with 28 touchdown passes and as a team were 5th in the league in passing yards, the offense will be the driving force in San Diego’s claiming the top spot in the AFC West for the 5th consecutive year.
Prediction: 1st in AFC West
The Oakland Raiders are vastly improved because they finally cut ties with JaMarcus Russell and acquired a real quarterback in Jason Campbell. The JaMarcus Russell experiment did not work in Oakland, hopefully Al Davis’s choice will be better this time around. Campbell is an experienced quarterback who was not given the necessary pieces in Washington to make them a contender and has gone through a string of coaching changes in his career. With a new home in Oakland comes a fresh start. The Raiders have talented young runners in Michael Bush and Darren McFadden and a secondary that was 7th in the league last season in opponent passing yards. The questions that remain for the Raiders this season is can the defense stop the run? They were 29th in the league in opponent rushing yards and teams blew through the defensive line. The second question and ultimately the x-factor for the Raiders this season is Jason Campbell. Can he find a way to lead the Raiders to its first winning season in almost a decade and become a stable quarterback for a team that hasn’t seen consistency in the quarterback position since Rich Gannon?
Prediction: 3rd in AFC west
There were high hopes Josh McDaniels’ Broncos after going 6-0 to start the 2009 season, but they were unable to keep the ball rolling and ended with an 8-8 record, ultimately missing the playoffs. For the Broncos to be successful in 2010 they are going to need another productive year from 2nd year back Knowshon Moreno who was just shy of 1,000 yards rushing last season. They will also rely on outside linebacker Elvis Dumerville who recently signed an extension with the Broncos. The question this season will be Kyle Orton and the receiving core for the Denver Broncos. With Brandon Marshall on his way to the Miami Dolphins it will be up to Jabar Gaffney and Eddie Royal to make up for the loss of Marshall’s 1100 yards receiving and 10 touchdowns. The question on everyone’s mind is will Kyle Orton be able to stay consistent or will we have a Tim Tebow sighting in the mile high this season?
Betting P rediction: 2nd in AFC West
Kansas City Chiefs
The Kansas City Chiefs are one of the worst teams in football. They haven’t had a winning season since 2006. Last season the team brought in Matt Cassel from New England and placed the franchise tag on him with the hopes of rejuvenating a sagging franchise that hasn’t played well since Tony Gonzalez was the face of the organization. Matt Cassel had a disappointing first season with the Chiefs throwing for 16 touchdowns and 16 interceptions. He has the potential to be a great quarterback as we saw in his backing up Tom Brady 2 seasons ago. The issue for Cassel is his dismal offensive line. He had no protection last season and was sacked 42 times. With coach Todd Hayley bringing in former Cleveland Browns coach Romeo Crenell and Notre Dame’s Charlie Weiss as the defensive and offensive coordinators (both of which worked with Bill Belichick in New England), the Chiefs give themselves a chance to put a better team on the field that was just 25th in passing yards and 31st against the run last season. If the Chiefs are to bounce back from a disappointing 4-12 season in 2009 Matt Cassel must play like a franchise quarterback, the defense will need to stop the run and the offensive line must protect Cassel and give him time to throw the ball. Weiss and Crenell are going to have their work cut out for them.