Thursday, August 14, 2008

Sizing up the AFC West

Welcome to my sizing up of the NFL before the start of the 2008 season. The following is how I see the quality of the teams stacking up, and the order in which I see the teams finishing. Any of the teams could finish better or worse than what I have listed here, and my first look will be at the AFC West.

4. Raiders - With the addition of running back Darren McFadden, the Raiders are better than they were a year ago. How much better remains to be seen. Unfortunately, I'm not convinced that JaMarcus Russell is going to fare any better in the pros than Michael Vick did. His high draft status was predicated pretty much on one strong season in college. The last team that did that was the Bengals when they drafted Akili Smith in the first round. I think they inch their way to a six win season.

3. Chiefs - I don't really believe that the Chiefs are better than their brethren by the Bay, or that Brody Croyle is going to be any better than Russell will be. Honestly, I think the two teams will battle it out for a spot in the West's basement. While I'm thinking six wins from the Chiefs, I wouldn't be surprised at a repeat of the team's four win 2007 campaign.

2. Broncos - There's some talent on this team, but I've never been as convinced of Mike Shanahan's genius as he or Denver fans have been. He's made some horrible personnel decisions, including the drafting of Maurice Clarett, and for an offensive genius, he's not exactly been able to get the most out of his quarterbacks. I think this team is looking at .500, 9-7 tops.

1. Chargers - San Diego is still the class of the West. They have the best defense and the best running back. Unfortunately their quarterback took a big step backwards last year, their running back likes to look for excuses outside of his team for why they lose, and I still don't have confidence that Norv Turner is the coach to get this team to the promised land. There were whispers of infighting and players not completely committed to Turner's system last season, and the team won fewer games. They will make the playoffs, likely at ten wins, but they will not get the bye.


the blue state blogger said...

Shanahan may be overrated by his fans' standards, but he usually goes toe-to-toe with Belichick in any game they play. That Broncos game is one big question mark for the Pats this season IMO.

Kevin Smith said...

I agree - for whatever reason, he does seem to pose problems for Belichick.

Suldog said...

Yeah, SD should win that division fairly handily. The Chiefs are hideous. The Raiders are a bit better (IMHO) but not a .500 club yet. Broncos win 8; 9 maybe.