2014-15 NFL Breakdown: AFC West

Posted on 06 September 2014


 

Another year, another AFC West title for the Denver Broncos.  But, anything short of a Super Bowl Championship will note please the fans in Denver.

 

Denver Broncos (11-5)

 

The Broncos will look to spit the bitter taste of last year’s shellacking at the hands of the Seahawks in the Super Bowl.  Not much needs to be said of Peyton Manning at this stage in his career.  Manning is so in control of the game he is basically calling out the plays for the defense on the other team as if he is their Defensive Coordinator.  Manning’s prowess will hide the suspension for the first four games of Wes Welker, because Manning will find and make better any receiver in the slot.  Emmanuel Sanders is more of a game breaker than Eric Decker was and will be an added weapon at receiver for Manning.  Knowshon Moreno’s loss at running back could hurt this team if Monte Ball can’t carry the load as a full-time starter.  On defense, Denver should be sound.  Aqib Talib is a top-five corner in this league and when used in the Patriots system even covered tight ends.  T.J. Ward is a nice pick up at safety.  While DeMarcus Ware never got a big sack for the Cowboys since ending the Saints’ perfect season with one in 2009, he can have a quality season if used in pass rush situations opposite Von Miller.  Who knows how many years Manning has left; therefore, a deep playoff run that doesn’t end in a Super Bowl Championship will be nothing but a disappointment for this team.

 

San Diego Chargers (10-6)*

 

San Diego had a very nice season last year that went fairly unnoticed.  Phillip Rivers has always been a very good quarterback in this league who is tough as a two dollar steak as well.  While Rivers has never won a Super Bowl, he has won multiple playoff games in seasons, won road playoff games, and been a leader on a team that has played exceptionally in December on more than one occasion.  Mike McCoy, in his first season last year, led this team to the playoffs and gave the Broncos a run for their money in the playoff game they ultimately lost.  Ryan Matthews had a very nice season at running back and with his size (6’0”, 220lbs.) and more maturity at 26 years old appears ready to be very good for the next several years to come.  Along with Danny Woodhead, who at only 5’8” fills the void Darren Sproles did for many years as a rusher and receiver, along with Malcolm Floyd (6’5”, 225) and Keenan Allen coming off a very good rookie season (and let’s not forget old reliable Antonio Gates) Rivers has plenty of weapons.  Nick Hardwick at center is an anchor for the line and can finish Phillip Rivers’ sentences they are so in tune.  The secondary is the strength of this defense especially with Brandon Flowers being signed after being released from division rival Kansas City in the off-season, and safety Eric Weddle could be the best safety in the league outside Seattle.  San Diego could be a dark horse Super Bowl contender as one of those Wild Card teams that gets on a streak late in the year and makes a run through the playoffs.

 

Kansas City Chiefs (7-9)

 

Kansas City should take a step back this year.  I believe they surprised a lot of teams last year and as things got rolling for them, it became a magical season.  I have always though Alex Smith is a good player and once he finally got a fair shake in San Francisco he showed what he could do.  Jamaal Charles is not only a quality rusher and probably the fastest running back in the league (though Chris Johnson might have something to say about that), but can also do damage as a receiver.  Donny Avery is a solid receiver but isn’t a number one (which he is on this team), and they need last year’s top overall pick Eric Fisher to be more consistent at left tackle and be an anchor for this line.  The defense should still be good with this linebacker unit.  Derrick Johnson is a “do everything” middle linebacker, and Justin Houston and Tamba Hali are good pass rushers in the 3-4 scheme as outside linebackers.  The secondary will take a hit, however, now that Brandon Flowers was released (not sure why they did that either).  Everyone knows how exceptional a coach Andy Reid is and he will always have a very good game plan.  I just don’t see everything breaking for the Chiefs this year the way it did last year.

 

Oakland Raiders (5-11)

 

Looks like another year of disappointment in Oakland this year.  The bright side is that the Oakland Athletics will keep things entertaining in Oak Town for at least some of the fall here in 2014.  Rookie Derrick Carr gets the nod as starting quarterback, and hopefully he is not overwhelmed and can be adequate this year and not get discouraged.  Maurice Jones-Drew is a good professional player, and he will bring some discipline to this team that has had their problems in that department.  James Jones will look to add professionalism as well as a guy who has won a Super Bowl and should be a calming effect for the rookie.  This offensive line is shaky, and it can be dangerous putting a rookie behind a sloppy line.  Defensively, Oakland has also added professional players and winners like Justin Tuck, Carlos Rogers, and Tarell Brown.  Give this team credit for attempting to change the culture and bring in winning players.  Oakland has to be competitive and competent and show they are moving in the right direction to make this year a success.  Just don’t look for many wins.

 

* Denotes Playoff Team





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One Response to “2014-15 NFL Breakdown: AFC West”

  1. Lyddy says:

    Do you have more great articles like this one?


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