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NFL Football Betting: AFC West Preview

Posted by Stan Jenkins on 8/18/2014 1:03:00 PM

If there’s a tougher division in the AFC than the AFC West, you’re going to have a hard time explaining your conclusion. The NFC West is probably the toughest division in football, but this is number two, and as a new season beckons, what’s going to be particularly interesting to see is how the AFC West stands up to the NFC West. The two divisions play each other this season.

Preview: 2014 AFC West Season

The AFC West is tough enough as it is. Three teams from the division made the playoffs last season. Two of them won at least one playoff game, and the team that didn’t win a playoff game led, 38-10, in the wild card round against the Indianapolis Colts in Indianapolis, only to suffer a bunch of injuries and lose bodies before the end of the game. The Kansas City Chiefs could have done more on offense to secure a victory, but they were still horribly unlucky that they lost so many players in such a short period of time. This season, the Chiefs will try to win a playoff game and take the step the San Diego Chargers made. The Denver Broncos took a lot of forward steps last year, the only exception being the Super Bowl against the Seattle Seahawks, when they were run out of the building.

Denver’s encounter with Seattle is the perfect jumping-off point for discussing the AFC West this season, because the division will go up against the NFC West in interconference play. In-division games are always the most important in determining a division title, and this year’s Denver-Kansas City games should be as significant as they were in 2013. However, winning the AFC West will depend in part on being able to handle the NFC West: Super Bowl champion Seattle; the NFC runners-up from San Francisco, the 49ers; the double-digit-win Arizona Cardinals, who somehow missed the playoffs last year in spite of that fact; and the improving St. Louis Rams, who were last in 2013 only because the other three teams were so good. How Denver, Kansas City, and San Diego handle the NFC West will have a big impact on the division standings and on whether the AFC West champion will get a first-round bye or not in the playoff picture.

Denver goes to Seattle and hosts San Francisco. Kansas City goes to San Francisco and hosts Seattle. San Diego goes to San Francisco and hosts Seattle as well. All three teams – the Broncos, Chiefs, and Chargers – will have to be great on defense, because their offenses are likely to have a very tough time against strong NFC West defenses. The Broncos learned as much when they went up against Seattle.

Denver’s acquisition of cornerback Aqib Talib from the New England Patriots, plus its obtaining of DeMarcus Ware from the Dallas Cowboys, will really beef up its defense and probably enable the Broncos to defend their division title from last season. It remains to be seen if the Chiefs and Chargers can make similar improvements on defense. Denver still has to be considered the favorite in the division. Kansas City is still likely to finish second and beat out San Diego. It’s the worst-kept secret in the league that Oakland will not only finish last, but probably purge its coach-management staff after this coming season. The Raiders are headed downward as an organization, or at least nowhere. It’s hard to know which is worse.

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