- San Diego Chargers (12-4) - Well...here we are again with the prohibitive Western favorites in San Diego....The core is back and with LDT (Lawrence Taylor is LT after all), Rivers, Gates and the boys on offense, they should be fairly formidable if the lack of depth at the RB position can be overcome, along with the some improved play from the receivers highlighted by a full-season of potential #1 WR Chris Chambers. There are, however, some question marks on that side of the ball....a #2 receiver is still lacking and between young guy Craig Davis and Vincent Jackson, somebody has to step up....and that's just the half of it....Pro-bowl TE Antonio Gates has a serious toe problem and is definitely up in the air health-wise but hey....they still have LDT.....The defense comes back in full but with a huge question in the form of Shawn Merriman playing on a torn-up knee....but nonetheless, this is the best unit in this division even without Merriman, so that won't come into play until playoff time really
- Denver Broncos (8-8) - For some reason, I'm higher on Denver than most everyone else.... I'm a fan of Jay Cutler in the backfield, and if Shanahan can pick a running back and stick with him (I'd go Selvin Young), they'll be a reasonably complete offense with Brandon Marshall and Tony Scheffler catching balls....The defense got a bit younger in the offseason, and the addition of Boss Bailey is big alongside DJ Williams...Champ Bailey is still the best CB in the league, and this is an above-average unit....Not quite a playoff team...but very competitive
- Oakland Raiders (8-8) - I'm of the mindset that there is always that one time that comes out of nowhere to make the playoffs in the NFL...and if Oakland was in the NFC, they'd be my pick...but since they aren't...I'll stick them here....They have the very young but very talented backfield duo of Jamarcus Russell and Darren McFadden, and although I'm on the record thinking Russell was very overrated being taken where he was...he definitely has the physical tools, and if he puts together the mental side, he'll be a star....McFadden is capable of 1400-1500 yards this year if they give him the carries, and he could be dynamic...the problem with this offense isn't either of these guys...it's the OL and WR corps...there is, however, one possibility of a star out wide for the Raiders in newly acquired Javon Walker, if he gets his head on straight.....The defense should be very good...Deangelo Hall joins Nnamdi Asomugha to form a top-tier CB tandem to go along with pro-bowl caliber LBs in Kirk Morrison and Thomas Howard...I love the upside of this team
- Kansas City Chiefs (2-14) - This could be the worst offense in the entire league...it's definitely the worst group of QBs in the league, and with Larry Johnson looking old and slow last year they could be ridiculously bad on that side of the ball unless LJ returns to past form....Dwayne Bowe and Tony Gonzalez are obvious bright spots but with no one to throw them the ball, they could be looking at the Steve Smith in Carolina treatment...The defense is also pretty terrible, but #1 pick Glenn Dorsey could help to change that if healthy...all that to say, I don't see a single game on this schedule in which I'd say this team is favored, but since it's the NFL, i'll give them 2 wins with the Falcons and Dolphins on the schedule, along with the ability to steal a game from a division rival possibly
Thursday, August 28, 2008
NFL Preview Part 4: AFC West
And we're back....