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NFL Divisional Predictions 2014: The AFC West

Peyton Manning and the Broncos take the AFC West and the first seed in the AFC for the second year in a row.

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

We complete the AFC divisional predictions with the West; a division that has a serious talent gap from the top to the bottom.

1. Denver Broncos: 14-2

Top to bottom the Broncos easily had a top five roster in the NFL in 2013.  That didn't stop them from improving in the offseason, however, as they brought in Demarcus Ware, T.J. Ward, and Aqib Talib to improve their defense.  They did lose Eric Decker, a top receiver for Peyton Manning last season, but replaced him with young talent in Emmanuel Sanders and Cody Latimer.  Couple these additions with an above-average offensive line, the best receiver group in the NFL, and several key returnees on defense and the Broncos will take the first seed in the AFC this year. Let's see if their playoff run is any different from last year, though.

2. San Diego Chargers: 8-8

If the Chargers had a defense with as much potential as their offense, they would be easily be a perennial playoff team.  Philip Rivers is coming off of one of the best years in his career and has three top weapons in Keenan Allen, Antonio Gates, and Ladarius Green to throw to.  He also has an extremely diverse backfield to work with.  I love the selections of Jeremiah Attaochu and Jason Verrett in the draft, but they will be pushed back in the depth chart for now.  The Chargers could easily put up a ten-win season, but it depends on the play of their defense.

3. Kansas City Chiefs: 7-9

I, along with many others, expect the Chiefs to come down from their storybook season last year.  They lost key players such as Dexter McCluster, Brandon Albert, and Brandon Flowers and didn't do much to get immediate replacements.  Even more mysteriously, they used their first-round pick on outside linebacker Dee Ford when they already had two yearly Pro Bowl OLBs in Tamba Hali and Justin Houston.  Jamaal Charles, this team's best weapon by far, will continue to be a stud and I love Eric Berry at safety, but I just don't see a lot of repeated success coming from this group of guys.

4. Oakland Raiders: 6-10

This may come as a surprise, but I actually really liked what the Raiders did this offseason.  They went out and got Matt Schaub as their starting quarterback along with wide receiver James Jones, offensive tackle Donald Penn, and running back Maurice Jones-Drew for the offense.  On defense the Raiders added Justin Tuck, LaMar Woodley, and Carlos Rogers through free agency and Khalil Mack in the draft.  They did all of this work without losing much at all.  If Schaub had a few more weapons to throw to, this team could flirt with a winning season.


How do you guys see the AFC West playing out?