How the West Will Be Won -- An Impartial Look

Well, we are a little more than two months away from the 2012 season. We’re getting close to training camps, preseason, and of course, the annual slurry of articles and blogs of predictions for the upcoming year. With that in mind, I would like to get my predictions going. However, before I make any serious predictions, I thought I’d begin this series with an initial, impartial look at the AFC West.

The AFC West will be one of the most talked about divisions in all the league this year as Peyton ‘The Man’ning will be wearing orange. It will be interesting to see what he can do, especially if Tebow could lead that team to not only a division title last year, but a playoff victory. A lot of hype will be surrounding this team, and each loss will bring a lot of attention and scrutiny to Dove Valley. In my opinion, I see Denver being a victim of overly optimistic expectations, a weak offensive line, and an aging secondary.

So, if my theory is that the Broncos won’t live up to the hype, who in the West is going to take over? Let’s examine the possibilities:


The Kansas City Chiefs

Has anyone else noticed the rather high expectations and unjust optimistic outlook on the 2012 Kansas City Chiefs? Before Manning signed with Denver, pundits nation wide had this team winning the West. To that I ask a simple question: why?!

This is the same team that has Matt Cassel at quarterback. The man has done about as much in the NFL as Herbie Hancock did.  Additionally, this team has a new head coach in Romeo Crennel. You know what the success rate of a coach in his first year is in taking his team to the playoffs? Well…neither do I, but common sense says it’s pretty low. Also, Romeo has a less than stellar pedigree – a 24-40 record in Cleveland. Tell me why again people are high on Romeo?

On a positive note for this team, I will say that their vanilla quarterback has some rather fun toppings to work with. See what I did there? I stuck with an ice cream theme. Anywho, the team has some talent at wide out (Bowe), tight end (the Benedict Arnold himself, Kevin Boss), and their loaded backfield (Dexter McCluster, Jamaal Charles, and Peyton Hillis). With all that in mind however, I just don’t see Cassell and the defensive minded coaching staff in KC rising to the occasion. In fact, I see KC having the worst record in the West this year.


Moving on…


The Oakland Raiders

So I said I would dissect the West from an unbiased stand point. We’ll see if I can do that.

Ok, so the Raiders enter the 2012 season after finishing the second straight 8-8 season. In each of the last two years the Raiders had a lot of supporters, and were even predicted to win the West by most analysts last year. As we all know, they came close, but in the end they not only lost in the division race, but they lost their coach after quite the rant. But, they were just a ½ game out of the playoffs. So close!

So, why is nobody talking about our boys this year? By most accounts, nobody has the Raiders winning the West. First, let’s discuss the reasons to be optimistic:

Carson enters his first full season as a starter with Oakland. And, he will finally have Run DmC to play with. That spells deliciousness to me. Additionally, he too has some toys to play with. The receiving corp is quite talented, and a full offseason working with Palmer should only help their chemistry.

The negatives – well, the more I think about them, the more I can list. They have a young, very inexperienced head coach. The rest of their staff has changed hands yet again. Their defensive backfield is both inexperienced and full of unknowns. And their receiving corp, outside of Louis Murphy, is as one dimensional as a loose leaf piece of paper – all of them are built on speed – no power wideouts. And that is something that I worry about. I mean, take it from Randy Moss, you gotta be able to take the top off the defense.

So, even with reasons to be optimistic about our boys, we are going to see a lot of growing pains in Oak Town this year. Unfortunately, I do see these growing pains holding us back from a division crown in 2012. But, and not to let the cat out of the bag, that doesn’t mean I don’t see the Raiders in the playoffs this year.

However, no division crown for OakTown, means only one thing as once again, the San Diego Chargers will be taking the West.


The San Diego Chargers

As I see it, it’s almost a certainty that the Bolts win the West this year. Think about it: for the most part they still have all the pieces in tact from their years of reign atop the West; and nobody is talking about them.  Offensively, Philip Rivers is still at the top of his game, Ryan Matthews only stands to get better, and they still have Antonio Gates. Naysayers may point to them losing Vincent Jackson in the off-season as a worry, but I would counter with them picking up Eddie Royal.

I know my reasoning for the Chargers isn’t iron clad, but they’ve been too good for too long to discount them now. Their time is coming to an end, but at least not in 2012.

That’s it for now, but look forward (or maybe not forward) to my possibly exhaustive predictions for what is to come in 2012.

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Tags: Broncos Carson Palmer Darren McFadden Denarius Moore Dennis Allen Denver Broncos Jacoby Ford Kansas City Chiefs Louis Murphy Oakland Raiders Phillip Rivers; Carson Palmer San Diego Chargers

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  • MicahStephenson

    The Chiefs will Dominate the NFL and win the afc west. And to ansers sum of yo ?s. Yes the chiefs hav Matt Cassel who had 11 wins his 1st yr starting for a team and lead the Chiefs to the playoffs in only his 2nd season and made the probowl that yr. Matt is entering his 4th season and is expected to make a big jump talent wise. Y Romeo? 5 super bowl rings. Bling Bling! The chiefs fire Cancer to the team Haley and hires Romeo. With only a few day to prepare the Chiefs beat an undefeated packers team giving them they only loss for the season. Chiefs wur a blocked fg against oak from winning the afc west and that was without Charles, E.Berry,T.Moeaki, & B.Siler for the season wit J.Baldwin 1st 7 games, M.Cassel last 7 games. Chiefs get all those players back together healthy this yr plus additons like S.Routt, E.Winston, K.Boss, P.Hillis, B.Quinn. Add draft picks Big Dontarie Poe, 2 o linemen, 4.3 speed wr D.Wylie, 4.4 speed RB C.Gray & Possesion wr Hemmingway. We no wat D.Bowe, Dexter McCluster, and S.Breaston can do lol. Players Like Baldwin, J.Houston, Allen Bailey, R.Hudson gets thur 1st true offseason to really get into the playbooks. Chiefs also add Brian Duboll an aggresive attacking offensive type of o cordinator. Romeo didnt win in cle but nether did Bill Bellicheck, cle jus sucks lol. The Defensive line is ancored by 5th overall draft pick in the draft and PPFs 3rd rank run deffender RE G.Dorsey. playn LE 3rd ovrall pick in the draft and PPFs #1 ranked run defender T.Jackson. Add Beastmode NT D.Poe(who had the most bench reps at the combine so is the strogest) who also weighs almost 350 lbs but ran blazing a 4.89 40, thats faster than sum of the LBs! In College Poe played every single snap of every single game while manning every single pos on the dline at sum point in the game! Wat Stamina and versitility! add 1st rd picks T.Hali and D.Johnson who both made the probowl last season and are in they prime. J.Houston had 1st rd talent but drafted by chiefs n the 3rd rd will emerge as one the best n LBs in the NFL this yr. B.Flowers is outstanding. Routt is good. K.Lewis and Berry at safety. Chiefs might have the best o line too. RT B.Albert LG R.Lilja wit 2nd rd pk Allen ready to take his spot. C young stud R.Hudson. RG J.Asomoah another yung stud RT E.Winston. I aready mentioned all the playmakers on off. Wow this team is loaded! Chiefs Dominate

  • TimLapping

    You’re really an uninformed crappy writer

  • japhydean

    Wow really unbiased there.  I won’t even touch your Raiders prediction.  It’s like a totaled car.  Can’t do anything with it.
    I agree with your Chargers assessment, but I think the Broncos will make some noise and compete for the AFCW.  And the Chiefs will be there too if they can stay healthy.  They are LOADED and have playmakers all over the field.  If Cassel can just hold down the fort and not turn it over, they are going to win a lot of games.  

  • TimLapping

    I can’t knock you for your Cassel prediction, but if you mention the Chiefs and fail to mention anything of their young upcoming defense you really haven’t done your homework.  Err I mean besides watching Jaw’s QB rankings, and Googling Crennel’s record while in Cleveland.  Actually, I think ESPN is hiring someone to help out Skip Bayless on totally baseless predictions.  Looks like you’d be a fit.

  • Topprospect

    This article should be printed and used as toilet paper.

  • Topprospect

    This article should be printed and used as toilet paper. San Diego and the raiders have done nothing to improve their team. In fact, the raiders have bled talent. The broncos brought on P Manning to run an Oline built to run the ball, and not one real real #1 WR.

    Some one forgot to tell this dude that Cassel has been to two probowls in 4 years.

  • Nero_

    I think most people on here who have an knowledge of football (outside of the Failures bias) would say that you have this completely bass ackward. Take your predictions, put them in reverse, and … Here… This is how it will go.

    San Diego
    Thank you, drive through.

  • Gjrchief

    I read this article from another site and was wondering how someone can write about the Chiefs and clearly have so little knowledge on them…. then I saw what site it came from and everything became clear. The chiefs don’t have enough horrible draft day reaches in the eyes of raiders fans. The chiefs have too much talent and chemistry and not enough character concerns and sheer speed. The raiders were the only team in the AFC West that got worse this offseason… an offseason following a year that the Chiefs were a blocked FG away from winning the division despite not having the majority of their key contributors! Ignoring the amazing draft, ignoring the influx of free agents, just based on returning starters alone the Chiefs clearly have the best roster in the West.

  • joshuaclarke10237

    Its pretty sad everyone questions Matt Cassel ,not considering last year he had his star rb out and te as well as learning a new playbook,Cassel will make pro bowl this year,everyone is so high on the donkeys and Manning,one solid hit manning will be watching the games from his couch.The oline is horrendous why do you think tebow spent most of his time running for his life cause he had no protection.As for the bolts rivers is getting worse every year you look at his td to int ratio…there rb can’t hold onto the ball there receivers aren’t that good,gates is getting old and can’t play like he use too. And the defense is just terrible no pass protection at all,which is why kc will run away with this division not mentioning all of are players coming back and the players we got in free agency and in the draft.As for our defense they will be top 5 with hali and Houston and DJ. This article is a joke and so is the writer.

  • chiefswatch

    Well good to know we don’t have this level of dumbness on AA. Worst in the west? Rofl what idiot would look at the Chuefs roster and assume that. Eric Winston, Jamaal Charles, Peyton Hillis, Branden Albert..hmm what team will have that running game? Sure Cassel is a turd when he has nothing to support him, but that’s exactly what is not the case here. D Bowe, Steve Breaston, Baldwin, Moeki and Boss (thanks by the way). Not to mention there are few backs as good at catching than Hillis and JC. Whose defense was better last year? Whose AFC west defense was even close the last six weeks? Is it me or did the Chiefs only lose the AFC West because of two miraculous Seymore blocked field goals? Mind you two blocked field goals from winning the division WITHOUT Cassel, Charles, Berry, and Moeki. We get all those players PLUS Winston, Hillis, and Boss. Oh by the way do some research before bad mouthing Rac. What talent did he have on the Browns….what a terrible assessment. It’s four teams bro, only four. Shouldn’t be so difficult.

  • Kcchiefs3119

    Your just like every other raider fan out there, uneducated. Do you even watch football?

  • EduardoCorrochio

    It’s interesting that so many Chiefs fans are up in arms over this. Perhaps the writer struck a nerve and the house of cards that you’ve built your dreams on is crumbling down all around you?! The Chiefs have a coach that has proven he can’t cut it as a head coach. A quarterback that sucks almost as much as he blows. And a GM that is quite the slime ball. Face it peeps, the Chiefs wont be good until they get rid of Pioli. J

  • MicahStephenson

    @EduardoCorrochio Actually it Only took Pioli 3 short yrs to put together the best roster the Chiefs hav eva seen. And can cut it. He is a blocked FG(which aint his fault) from being 3 & 0 as chiefs head coach. He got the chiefs to beat the undefeated packer jus days after taking ova. If you gonna say he didnt hav a good record in clevland, well nether did Bill Bellicheck but that didnt mean he cudnt win in NE. We are not up in arms jus pointing out a few things the author conviently forgot to mention. Lol

  • WhosdaBest

    I am certain that KC will not live up their self induced, frenzied hype. KC has gotten better but there are too many question marks that are not answered and in the NFL, teams do NOT just fix these huge holes over night. I will address them here.
    First, let’s start with the obvious, the Chief franchise has struggled to put a consistent winning team on the field for decades. This lack of winning has and will keep this team and whole fan base, wanting so desperately to win, that winning BIG( as in playoffs and SB), seems to be the only thing that is thought of OR is acceptable, to this fan base. This unrealistic waive of thinking, will be sadly wiped away by week 6, when the Chiefs will be either 2-4 or 1-5. If a team has not won a playoff game for 19 years, don’t you think being humble and taking things step by step, build this franchise from the foundation up and win some games, win the division in a couple years back to back, THEN talk of Super Bowls and such! Make sene?

    The second issue I see, in KC, that NO ONE really wants to honestly look at, is the KC defense. Now I realize Berry went down, to a bad ACL tear BUT the excuses that are circulating throughout the KC organization are absurd! Let’s look at facts, the KC franchise has been in the red for 4 of 5 years. The five year point differential is as follows: 2011-126, 2010 +40, 2009 -130, 2008-149 and 2008-109. These have to be looked at seriously and addressed! Granted, having Cassel at QB is an unfair burden( I will address that in a bit) but regardless of how bad or inept the KC offense is, the KC defense should be to blame, as much, if not MORE! Losing ONE player does not justify the KC fan base in saying “oh, well we lost Berry, so our D was in disarray the whole season!” What about the other 10 guys on the field that were playing and hyped in pre-season? Now, all of a sudden, Berry is out, so that is the excuse for losing so badly and maybe giving up? Losing to teams like Miami, who was winless at 0-5, in Arrowhead, by a lopsided score of 31-3, is inexcusable! Not to mention these scores of 48-3 to Lions, 41-7 Bills, 34-3 to Pats and 37-10 to your rival Raiders! Do you realize this KC team was trailing THE WORST team in the Whole NFL in 2011, Indy Colts, 24-7?? Bottom line, if your D was as good as the hype that no one but KC is giving it (many KC fans are saying top 10 or top 5) the games would be a lot closer. There were NO KC rankings of defense that were any where near top ten. Most rankings for different defensive categories had KC ranked from 18 to 11, dependent on statistical grouping.

    I seriously think this KC team was FORTUNATE to have won 7 games! KC could have easily lost the SD game, Bear game, Indy game and even the 7-3 win, in week 17, could have gone the other way! 4-12 could have been just as easy, as the KC 7-9 record. Yet ALL that is being expressed by the KC organization and even more by the KC fan base, is that KC COULD have won the division if it weren’t for two blocked field goals! This is the absurdity and delusional thinking that is coming out of Missouri! The Raiders at 7-4 had it all but stumbled and SD could have easily have been 10-6, winning the division handily( loses to Denver in OT and KC fumbled snap).

    Another factor in the KC hype train, is that it actually derived from the 2010 season. Winning 10 games was great for this franchise but in reality, when you look closely at that season, who did the Chiefs actually beat in 2010, of quality? No one other than SD in week 1. Everyone knows SD is a slow starting team. ALL the other nine wins came against .500 teams or less. This gave a false sense of accomplishment and this is later proved at the end of the season. Again, the lopsided scores were EMBARRASSING to even bring back up and where was this teams PRIDE, when decent teams opposed the Chiefs? The 2010 lopsided losing scores of: 19-9 Indy, Denver 49-29, Raiders 31-10 and even the Chargers, whom you beat 21-14 in week one came back to annihilate KC by another inexcusable score of 31-0!!! Yes, there are things that can turn a game or two but this many blow out scores, for a SUPPOSED play off, division winning team…. Only answers one thing to me, KC was very lucky in 2010, by being afforded this very easy schedule but when KC played teams of quality, KC’s true talents were exposed. The 2010 playoffs were a proven bench mark for this opinion. The Chiefs had home field advantage and the KC fan base was thinking Super Bowl year, with this Great play of Cassel/Bowe and what happened? Same thing that happened previously, ALL season, when KC faced a team of quality, KC got blown out 31-7 to the Ravens! This over hyped feeling carried over into 2011 in week 1 and week 2, with those horribly unheard of scores and grand total loses of 90-10!

    Of course having Cassel is a HUGE disadvantage when you compare the Elite QB’s of SD’s Rivers and Denver’s Manning. At this point, there is NOTHING this franchise can do but hope Cassel some how plays WAY above his talent and helps this team to win some games in 2012. If history of Cassel is an indicator, this won’t happen. Your Owner will NEED to spend money and go out and find a QB in free agency or a top 4 draft pick. Not sure how this Cassel experiment will end but we all WILL find out this year, rather quickly. The very extreme, which I hope does NOT come into play, is that Cassel’s play is so bad and KC’s record WILL reflect this early in the year. I would assume if this comes to fruition, Cassel will be benched and Stanzi will start his reign as KC’s new QB. This too, will not be good, as it will take several years for Stanzi to develop into an Elite QB and along the way, means more loses!

    Crennel at head coach now is another question mark that no one will know the answer till probably mid season. Again, if history has given us any previous answers to this question, it does NOT bode well for KC. There has only been ONE interim coach, who became the head coach the next season, to have a winning record in the past TWENTY FIVE years! All others have NOT done well! Let’s hope Crennel gets a fair chance and not one and done, if KC’s year does not go as hoped, for by the desperate to win NOW, kC fan base.

  • MicahStephenson

    This is a NEW Chiefs team. We gon do things the Chiefs way. So while the other teams think we got to win the afc west a few times then the bowl, we the Chiefs expect to win every game, the afc west, afc conference, & the super bowl now. 2nd as far as the point diff goes 2 of those yr u pointed out was under peterson and edwards regime. Pioli took ova n 2009, but make a mistake in hiring a rookie head coach Todd Haley. This was all a lil too much for haley to handle and he has been fired. In 2010 it was having the 1st real o cordinator the chiefs had in a looooong time in Charlie Wies that help chiefs win in 2010. He cudnt work wit Haley and left for KU. Now Chiefs hav another real o cordinator in Brian Duboll who comes from the same NE tree Pioli, Weis, & R.Cronnel came from.

  • MicahStephenson

    They cut me off. Duboll already said our new offense will b an attacking one wit lots of deeps passes are lots of big runs by Charles and Hillis. In 2010 every team we played was expected to beat the chiefs cus they had only won 6 games in the past 2 seasons combine. But we didnt care wat they thought or felt, we still won ten games and Cassel made the Probowl. The blowout to the ravens was haleys inability to handle it. We wur do n real good wit runing wit charles but then he only got 6 carries 2nd half. We only had Charles and Bowe on offense. They double Bowe and k. Curtis who was jus signed off the street that week cudnt handle it. Sinse then Chiefs hav added S.Breaston, J.Baldwin, Dexter McCluster, 4.3 40 speed D.Wylie to the wr group. Also Bal man handled weigman who has been replaced wit a bigger badder R.Hudson. Lilja aslo got man handle, we draftef a big strong 2nd rd LT to replace him. K.Gregg got man handled….Enter BIG Dontarie Poe! Yea push him around. Lol. Chiefs cant wait to play the ravens again. Part of the reason chiefs lost games big time at the biging of the yr is dum ass haley refused to play our starters in the few preseason games we had. Giving charles 1 carry to get ready for the season is a joke! Chiefs fans didnt say the de was horrible cus we lost berry, jus pointing out that his replacement in J.Mcgraw, D.Washingtin, And Scubby Piscatelli sucks. The D still held they own. I headed to work but i got a lot more to say to u later.

  • dongtogolo

     @MicahStephenson That’s some rightious testifying right there, bro. The Chiefs will own this division for the next several years. Then they move to owning the AFC, then… The NFL. That’s my gameplan.

  • EduardoCorrochio

    Chiefs suck. Case closed.

  • smithskylar

    That was the funniest blog I’ve ever read!! the chiefs ending up last in the Afc West? Last season we were 7-9 only 1 game/blocked field goal from being first! I know that was last year but lets see the raiders lost talents like Kevin Boss and STANFORD Routt last offseason while the chiefs picked them up in free agency along with guys like  peyton Hillis, Eric Winston anndd in the draft we added guys like dontari Poe, Devon Wylie, and Junior Hemingway that can all make an impact IMEDIATELY! Also I like how you talked about our backfield including Mccluster because he has already been moved to receiver! Or how you never mentioned how our defense is the best in the Afc West By far!

  • smithskylar

     @EduardoCorrochio no it’s not at all what you think it’s the fact this moron is going to seriously blog that the chiefs aren’t going to do well this season when he has no decent evidence or reasoning behind the fact hes a hater he hates the chiefs because we run away with 80 percent of the games in this so called, ”rivalry”

  • smithskylar

     @EduardoCorrochio  i need you to do 3 things for me all right?! get off here, close your account, and lay off the crack!

  • EduardoCorrochio

     @smithskylar Here is what I need you to do: go sit on a volcano.

  • AdamMcRae

    LOL yeah right Raiders take it to the house 12-4, all the way to the super bowl, historically and numbers wise, remember Rich Gannon well meet Carson Palmer………

  • EduardoCorrochio