Who Will Win The AFC West?
The AFC West looked like the division of death after the first three weeks of the season; the Raiders, Broncos, and Chiefs all looked like contenders to win the division. Fast forward 10 weeks later, and the division is a complete bust. With a current tie atop the division at 6-6 between the Chargers, Chiefs, and Raiders, this division once again looks like a division of death. Now the question that remains, which of these three teams wins the division?
The Chiefs were the early favorites. In fact, many were calling them Super Bowl contenders. After a 5-0 start, beating the Patriots, Eagles, Chargers, Redskins, and Texans (with Deshaun Watson), the Chiefs were the clear-cut best team in the NFL. Unfortunately for them, they fell off a cliff, and fast. Following this hot start, they have lost 5 out of 6 games. With loads of talent, many wonder what happened, myself included. They stopped running the ball. What happened to Alex Smith? He has always been a mediocre quarterback, hence the nickname “Dink and Dunk Smith,” but he was putting up incredible stats. If they can figure out their struggles, I still think they can be a huge threat in the playoffs, but time will only tell.
The Raiders were a team with tons of hype coming into the season after a spectacular season last year. Unfortunately, it got cut short by an injury to Derek Carr. However, many claimed this was their year. With an early win against the Titans, who also had a lot of hype coming into the year, things were looking promising. With the effective tandem of Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper and the addition of future Hall of Famer Marshawn Lynch, their top tier offense got even scarier. However, many didn’t notice the change in offensive coordinators. Their play calling has been different with far less explosive games this season and plenty of dud games in which they couldn’t move the ball. Given their very difficult upcoming schedule, I don’t expect them to finish atop the division, or even with a winning record for that matter.
The Chargers are the scariest and most entertaining team of all. With their incredible pass rush, great running back, veteran quarterback, and the shifty Keenan Allen, the Chargers have all the tools to win the division. While they might not be as talented as the Chiefs, they are playing far better. Following a 0-4 start to the season, many were writing them off as the recent typical Chargers. However, their first four games were all very close and winnable games, and since this start, they have gone 6-2. Without a doubt, they are the hottest team in the division. Their schedule is relatively easy, it’s all on them to control their own destiny and win the division. The final game on their schedule is against the Raiders, and personally, I think this game may decide the division.
The AFC West is really up for grabs. Any of these teams can win still. While I think the Chargers are the clear front-runners and my personal favorites to win the division, I still firmly believe if the Chiefs can figure themselves out and stop being so terrible, they will shock the world and win the division. But honestly, if they haven’t figured it out in after the past 6 games, they probably won’t in the last four.