The race for the 2018 AFC West divisional title is wide open. Any of the four teams could take the division. Even if they win the division, the team that comes out on top could be one of the best in the NFL or laughably bad. Basically, the AFC West could be the best division in football or one of the worst. Here is one reason why each team in the AFC West could succeed or fail in 2018.
One Reason Why Each 2018 AFC West Team Could Succeed Or Fail In 2018
Succeed: The Broncos have a newly revamped offense with new additions like quarterback Case Keenum, wide receivers Courtland Sutton, and Daeshawn Hamilton, as well as running back Royce Freeman among others. With better offensive production expected in 2018 to complement an already stellar defense, the Broncos could be very scary this year.
Fail: Vance Joseph has had one year of experience in the NFL as a head coach. He failed to impress in his inaugural year, delivering a disappointing 5-11 season that ranks as one of the worst in Broncos history. After already delivering one 5-11 season, it would not come as a surprise to see history repeat itself in 2018.
Succeed: The Raiders have a chance to return to 2016 form when they finished 12-4. A newly reloaded receiving core featuring ex-Packer Jordy Nelson and ex-Steeler Martavis Bryant could create one of the most explosive offenses in the league. If the Raiders can meet their offensive expectations in 2018, then they could be playing for more than just a division title this year.
Fail: The X-factor for the Raiders lies with head coach Jon Gruden. The coach has won a Super Bowl in his career. However, it has been 15 years since the accomplishment and about ten years since the last time he coached in the NFL. A lot changes in ten years. It would not be insane to think that Gruden could crash and burn in his return to the job or at least struggle as he knocks the rust off in 2018.
Kansas City Chiefs
Succeed: The Chiefs have the potential to be a top-5 offense in 2018. With wide receivers Tyreek Hill and Sammy Watkins as well as tight end Travis Kelce and running back Kareem Hunt, the Chiefs have created the foundation for an offense that could set the league on fire this season. If the Chiefs’ offense can repeat their performance in 2017, the Chiefs will be in great shape to take the division again in 2018.
Fail: However, the quarterback is the single most important foundational piece to any football team and Kansas City doesn’t really know what kind of foundation they have put in place. Quarterback Patrick Mahomes II impressed in his Week 17 debut against the Broncos and delivered a win against the No Fly Zone. That being said, the jury is still out as to how he will play over the course of an entire season. Plenty of quarterbacks implode or fail to rise to their potential, no matter how much hype they have around them. They tend to blunder their teams into trouble more often than not.
Los Angeles Chargers
Succeed: The Chargers look like a different team under new head coach Anthony Lynn. They barely missed the playoffs in 2017 after finishing at 9-7 with most of their losses coming within a score and during the first half of the season. After improving 2016’s 5-11 season, it seems that the Chargers are heading in the right direction. If Anthony Lynn’s Chargers keep their rate of improvement, they will be in the hunt for a first-round bye in 2018.
Fail: The Chargers have been down this road before and it does not end well. Back in 2013, franchise Quarterback Philip Rivers and his team found themselves at 5-7 at the start of Week 14. In a very similar fashion to their performance in 2017, the Chargers ended up finishing 9-7 which was just good enough to make the playoffs. They ultimately won a playoff game before losing the next week and it seemed that the Chargers were on the cusp of making a deep playoff push with a shot at the Super Bowl.
However, the Chargers stagnated and ultimately slipped back toward the bottom of the conference, following up their big season with a 9-7 season that didn’t get them into the playoffs and an abysmal 4-12 season. These Rivers-led Chargers just seem to have been in a mediocre rut for the last eight years. Would it really be that surprising if the struggles were to continue?