NFL AFC West 2019 Season Preview

Author
by Chris Feery
August 29th 2019, 12:38pm

Last season, the AFC West was controlled by two squads with the other two teams coming in as also-rans.

The same two teams that led the way in 2018 are once again looking like the class of the division, but improvement could be coming for the other two. Let’s take a closer look at the division as the season kickoff fast approaches.

Division Winner

Favorite to Win the AFC West

Kansas City Chiefs

The Chiefs took down the AFC West in 2018. After handling business versus the Indianapolis Colts in the opening round of the playoffs, the team played host to the New England Patriots to decide the AFC. Kansas City would go on to lose a heartbreaker, falling by a score of 37-31 in overtime. 

Patrick Mahomes

Andy Reid and company return for another crack at the ring. Patrick Mahomes will look to provide an encore for his stellar MVP campaign with a talented cast around him. The defense improved over the second half of the year, and optimism is high that they’ll put it together for a full year. 

Kansas City is the favorite to win the division, and rightfully so.  This team has legitimate Super Bowl aspirations.

KC Regular Season Wins

A contender to Watch in the AFC West

Los Angeles Chargers

The Chargers matched the Chiefs with a 12-4 regular-season record, but the tiebreaker went to Kansas City. Los Angeles earned a Wild Card spot and traveled to Baltimore to defeat the Ravens in the opening round.

The Patriots had their number the following weekend to bring the season to a close.

Phillip Rivers

Anthony Lynn will be back on the sidelines while Philip Rivers returns to lead the way on offense. He has plenty of talent surrounding him, but RB Melvin Gordon is involved in a holdout that could stretch into the season.

The defense was solid a season ago and should deliver the same in 2019. 

The Chargers will challenge the Chiefs for the division crown and should be in the playoff chase regardless.

Make Playoffs?

Chargers Season WIns

The Rest of the AFC West

Denver Broncos

A disappointing season in Denver led to the team parting ways with head coach Vance Joseph. Former Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio is the new man in charge. He inherits a 6-10 team which made some moves in the offseason. 

Joe Flacco was acquired via trade with the Ravens to line up behind center for the Broncos. It’s unclear if he’ll be an upgrade over Case Keenum, but there will also be a new scheme in place.

The Broncos have plenty of pieces in place on defense, and the unit could be even better under Fangio’s leadership.  

Fangio could prove to be the right person for the job in the long run, but it’s looking like an 8-8 year in Denver.

Raiders Wins

Oakland Raiders

Jon Gruden returned to lead Oakland last year. It didn’t work out too well. The Raiders were a poorly constructed squad that parted ways with several of its best assets. The team made a number of moves to reshape the roster in the offseason.

Carr and Gruden Oakland Raiders

Oakland acquired Antonio Brown via trade with the Steelers and signed Tyrell Williams in free agency. The receiver corps is more potent as a result, but Brown’s antics remain a concern. The draft would bring players including Josh Jacobs and Clelin Ferrell.

It looks like the team has made a number of good moves, but there’s no guarantee that will translate into immediate results.

Raiders Make Playoffs?

Bottom Line on the AFC West

It’s looking like a two-team race once again. The Chiefs and Chargers have the talent advantage over the Broncos and Raiders, and they’re two of the best in the entire AFC as well.

Regular season meetings of the two clubs will be critical, and we don’t see too much separating them. 

In the end, we like the Chiefs to once again take the division by a nose.