Predicting AFC West standings after 2024 NFL schedule release

Las Vegas Raiders v Kansas City Chiefs
Las Vegas Raiders v Kansas City Chiefs / Kirby Lee/GettyImages

One of the great things about the NFL it its relative parity. Compared to other sports, at least, the NFL thrives on the chaos that is having a mostly-new crop of Super Bowl contenders each year. Across the six different divisions, a the vast majority of teams are a few plays away from either being a 10-win team, or a 6-win team. It's why everyone watches every football game, regardless of the day, time, or combined record of teams playing. Most games, and most divisions, stay consistently interesting.

If there were every an exception to that rule, though, it'd be the AFC West. We all know how this story ends. Even the most optimistic Broncos, Raiders, and Chargers fan knows the deal. There may be a vicious battle for a Wild Card spot, but that's the sole prize of playing in a division with Patrick Mahomes. So "predicting" the AFC West isn't as much legitimate guess work as it is an exercise in content creation. But these page views wait for no one. So here's a prediction on how the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th places spots in the AFC West are going to shake out.

Predicting AFC West standings after 2024 NFL schedule release



1. Kansas City Chiefs


2. Los Angeles Chargers


3. Las Vegas Raiders


4. Denver Broncos


1. Kansas City Chiefs (12-5)

We don't need to waste too much time here. They're a modern dynasty led by an All-Time QB that throws to an All-Time tight end, taught by an All-Time head coach. They'll win the division, have home field advantage, and probably win the AFC Championship despite being down 13 with only seven minutes left in the game. You didn't come here to read about how great the Chiefs are, so let's move on.

2. Los Angeles Chargers (9-8)

Sorry. The Chargers are, first and foremost, the Chargers – but Jim Harbaugh is, first and foremost, Jim Harbaugh. It's a real unstoppable-force-meets-an-unmovable-object situation. Harbaugh wins everywhere he goes, and pretty quickly. Justin Herbert's going to be better with him, which is a scary thought for AFC West secondaries. 90% of the Chargers lineup is about as underwhelming as it gets, but Harbaugh-Herbert are probably enough to finish with a respectable record. One game over .500 with a second place finish feels like the ceiling for Year 1 of the Harbaugh Experience. They'll be 9 very weird wins, though.

3. Las Vegas Raiders (8-9)

I'm not sure how anyone can expect more from a team that's purposefully planning on 17 games of Gardner Minshew and Aidan O'Connell. The Raiders' defense will keep them in games they have no business being in, but it's hard to see how the offense exceeds expectations. They'll play hard and be a tough December out, but until they decide that it's worth their while to actually employ a QB that isn't replacement-level, 3rd place is their wheelhouse.

4. Denver Broncos (5-12)

The Broncos didn't really have any business winning eight games last year – that mid-season win streak was propelled by an unsustainable turnover rate, and the final six weeks of their season (2-4) were far more indicative of the true talent on their roster. This year that roster is ... worse? *Maybe* the same? Maybe Sean Payton is the guy who can turn Bo Nix into the pro QB that five other teams weren't sold on, but how much do you believe in Sean Payton in 2024?

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