Has there ever been a extra unpredictable division than the 2022 AFC West?

Will the Broncos with Russ at QB ride to an AFC West title?

Will the Broncos with Russ at QB trip to an AFC West title?
Photograph: Getty Photos

All through this collection we’ve been doing this week, we all the time attempt to begin each preview with a logical end result. What is anticipated from the division? How are specialists and analysts predicting this division to play out come season’s finish? Who’s almost definitely to exceed expectations, and who’s almost definitely to fail to achieve their expectations? With the AFC West although, any and each query in regards to the end-of-year standings can kind of be answered with an inconclusive shrug, and one way or the other, that’s a viable response.

Logical Final result

Right here’s all the pieces that appears to be agreed upon so far: the Chargers is not going to end final, the Broncos will end higher than their 2021 report of 7-10….that’s just about it. It appears straightforward to imagine that the Chiefs will probably be good as soon as once more, however some folks appear adamant that they’ll end in fourth place. In any case, they’re the one group within the division that didn’t enhance this offseason. They misplaced WR Tyreek Hill, S Tyrann Mathieu, and CB Charvarius Ward. Each different group gained elite gamers at key positions, however not the Chiefs. Nonetheless, projecting them to complete final looks like a idiot’s errand. All we will predict from the AFC West is unpredictability. That mentioned, the agreed-upon standings appear to be 1. Chargers, 2. Chiefs, 3. Broncos, 4. Raiders.

That’s an inoffensive prediction that wouldn’t ruffle too many feathers, in contrast to our different potential end result.

Shock Alternate Final result

Brandon Staley’s all-or-nothing mentality falls flat on its face because the Chargers’ head coach proves to be their downfall. Not even J.C. Jackson and Khalil Mack can fill the holes the Chargers protection displayed final season. They lose each shut sport they’re concerned in and fail to push the ball ahead on any of their many fourth-down tries. Justin Herbert’s connection to Mike Williams proves to be a one-year marvel and Ekeler’s landing complete regresses far previous what anyone anticipated, dropping from 20 in 2021 to single digits in 2022.

The Chiefs’ secondary can’t survive with out Ward and Mathieu. Each sport results in a shootout, however with out Tyreek Hill, the Chiefs are unable to attain at will and can’t sustain in these shut video games. The place 13 seconds was loads of time to place collectively a scoring drive in years previous, 1:30 appears to tick away quicker than ever earlier than in 2022. Travis Kelce and JuJu Smith-Schuster can’t present the explosiveness that made Ok.C.’s offense so devastating, and Marquez Valdes-Scantling proves ineffective because the group’s deep risk, simply as he was ineffective as Rodgers’ deep risk for a few years in Inexperienced Bay. Maybe younger weapons Nick Bolton and Skyy Moore may assist ease the load on the growing older core, however that’s asking just a little an excessive amount of because the Chiefs fall below .500 for the primary time in a decade.

In the meantime, the Raiders understand that they want turmoil of their locker room in an effort to succeed. No racism from the coach? No cornerback waving weapons round? No huge receiver rushing down highways? Swiftly the Raiders can’t rating. They’ll’t defend. They’ll’t do something. Chandler Jones has been dropping in manufacturing for a number of seasons now. Whereas he alongside Maxx Crosby needs to be a formidable duo, Jones proves ineffective and doesn’t take any offensive line consideration away from the 2021 second-team All-Professional Crosby. Regardless of arguably the very best set of weapons within the NFL, the Raiders’ offensive line fails to guard QB Derek Carr. Carr persistently will get pounded within the pocket and by no means has time to progress by way of his reads. Davante Adams finishes the season along with his fewest receiving yards since 2017, as Carr by no means has sufficient time to attend for his routes to develop. The Raiders are the third AFC West group to complete below .500.

The Broncos, alternatively, trip the corny management of Russell Wilson to new heights by no means earlier than seen. Sutton and Jeudy grow to be the brand new Metcalf and Lockett as Wilson re-emerges as an MVP candidate after just a few years of declining manufacturing. His disdain for Pete Carroll shines by way of his play as he and Broncos Nation trip off into the sundown atop a mountain of underperforming divisional opponents. Javonte Williams takes 70 p.c of the carries away from Melvin Gordon. The absence of Von Miller doesn’t have an effect on the cross rush as Randy Gregory and Bradley Chubb show greater than able to pressuring opposing quarterbacks. That strain results in a number of errant throws ripe for interceptions for Patrick Surtain II and Justin Simmons. After years of quarterback turmoil, the Broncos have discovered their man. Wilson began his profession with 9 straight successful seasons, and he finds his means again over .500 in 2022, reminding the league that he’s removed from washed.

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