Los Angeles Chargers. Without a doubt, the Chargers are the best in the division on offense and perhaps the best in the conference. A solid o line anchors a strong offense that includes top ten QB Phillip Rivers, all-pro receiver Keenan Allen, first-round pick Mike Williams playing for the first time after missing last year with an injury, and one of the speediest wideouts in the league in Travis Benjamin. Then throw in one of the best all-purpose backs in the league in Melvin Gordon and you get a team with only one major hole on offense, that of tight end. Promising young talent Hunter Henry will miss this coming season due to a torn ACL. Meanwhile, the team is still figuring out who the starter at tight end will be this year. The Chargers last year relied heavily on their tight ends to make the offense pop, it will be interesting to see how this team adjusts to the loss of Henry.
Denver Broncos. Listen I would go with the Chargers but the potential loss of Casey Heyward for the first few weeks of the season with a hamstring makes me a skeptic. The Broncos defense has questions too, but less of them. The Broncos continue to have one of the best run defenses in the league and the pass rush got much better with defensive first round stud Bradley Chubb. This is going to be the year this Broncos defense rebounds big time and becomes once again one of the top five in the NFL. The Secondary has major questions, especially at safety where depth has been decimated by injuries. However, if secondary pieces like Sua Cravens and Bradley Roby step up this defense can win games once again for the Broncos.
Vance Joseph. I don’t think it’s much of a debate. I think through no fault of his own the guy is just an inexperienced head coach who wasn’t ready to take over a win now style team. The expectations in Denver, for better or worst, are the highest in the league. If this team isn’t competitive this year Joeseph might not last the whole year. I think he needs 7 wins and lots of close losses to keep his choice. If there are more blowouts in Denver this year he won’t make it.
The Raiders, somehow, find a way to improve their defense, Jon Gruden’s offense works and they win the division. The talent is there with Carr, Cooper, and Lynch. One bad year doesn’t determine the future trajectory of a team. Don’t sleep on the Raiders as a team that, if things break right, can bounce back big this year.
My opinion of the Chargers has shifted in the past week. So many injuries, just so many injuries for this team. I honestly cannot believe it. So I have to lean on the side of the caution so they go from 12 wins to 9 wins. That is still enough to win a division that will cannibalize itself though. This division will be won inside the division more so than any other division in the NFL. It would not shock me if any one of these teams won it. Denver may make it as a wild card but I can’t say they’ll win more than 9 and I think that might be the ceiling, Keenum’s accuracy in the pre-season has really worried me. This is going to be the tightest division in the AFC and you’ll want to tune in every week!