The Chiefs, Raiders, Broncos, and Chargers are the four teams that are featured in the AFC West. Many NFL analysts agree that the AFC West is the best division in the NFL. The Raiders and Chiefs are teams on the rise, the Broncos are the reigning Super Bowl champions, and the Chargers are filled with star power. These teams have countless superstars that change games with one play. Everyone is wondering, ‘who is the best team in the AFC West?’ Don’t worry, we got you covered.
The Kanas City Chiefs have Alex Smith as their quarterback. The 1st overall pick in the 2005 Draft has never lived up to his potential, but he has been a consistent game-manger for the Chiefs. His consistent game-managing skills are a huge reason why the Chiefs are 10-3, and first in the AFC West. For the season, Smith has thrown for 2831 passing yards, 12 touchdowns, and 5 interceptions, while completing 67.3% of his passes.
The Oakland Raiders has my midseason MVP pick Derek Carr at the helm. Carr was drafted in the 2nd round in the 2014 NFL Draft, and has never looked back. 2016 has been his most impressive campaign, as he has thrown for 3492 yards, 25 touchdowns, and 5 interceptions, while completing 63.5% of his passes. Carr boasts impressive arm talent, and can make amazing throws in the clutch. This is why his Raiders are also 10-3
The Broncos have Trevor Siemian as their starting quarterback, and he has put up very respectable stats. He has thrown for 2396 yards, scored 15 touchdowns, and thrown 7 interceptions, while completing a modest 60% of his passes. The Broncos defense leads this football team, and is the key reason why they are 8-5.
The Chargers have Philip Rivers as their quarterback. Philip has thrown for 3353 yards, 25 toychhdowns, 14 interceptions, and has completed 62.6% of his passes. Rivers has struggled this season at reading defenses, and has thrown some bone-headed intercepitons. Rivers untimely interceptions, and a lack of consistency on the defense is why they are 5-8.
This season, Derek Carr has been the best quarterback in the AFC West, hands down!
Edge: Oakland Raiders
The Kansas City Chiefs have Spencer Ware and Charcandrick West running the rock. Spencer Ware has earned 183 carries, ran for 790 yards, and has scored 3 rushing touchdowns. On top of that Ware has been a reliable receiving threat out of the backfield catching 28 balls, for 402 yards, and 2 touchdowns. West is a good backup, but only has accounted for 195 yards and 1 touchdown.
The Oakland Raiders boast the talents of Latavius Murray, who has ran for 656 yards, and 12 touchdowns, on 162 carries. Murray is reliable halfback who picks up all of the short-yardage gains, and has a knack for the end-zone.
The Denver Broncos have struggled at the halfback position since losing C.J. Anderson for the season due to injury. Devontae Booker and Justin Forsett lead the Broncos rushing attack. Forsett is brand new to the team, and hasn’t played in a game yet for the Broncos, and Booker has only averaged 3.5 yards per carry so far this season. Booker’s weakness is his ball-carrier vision, and running through rushing lanes.
The San Diego Chargers have the likes of Melvin Gordon as their running back. Melvin Gordon has bounced back from his dismal rookie season, running for 992 yards on 2651 carries, and 10 touchdowns! Gordon didn’t score a single touchdown in his rookie season!
This season, Melvin Gordon has been the most reliable running back in the AFC West. This is a surprise, especially if you watched how terrible his rookie season was last year.
Edge: San Diego Chargers
Wide Receiving Corps
The Kansas City Chiefs have Travis Kelce, Tyreek Hill, and Jeremy Maclin leading their wide receiving corps. Travis Kelce is eying 1000 receiving yards for the season, and is Alex Smith’s sure-handed security blanket. Tyreek Hill is the speedster out of West Alabama. He was kicked out of Oklahoma State’s football team after pleading guilty to domestic violence, but he’s through with his legal issues, and he’s being rewarded. Hill is on a tear, and has scored 6 receiving touchdowns so far in his rookie season. Jeremy Maclin has been sidelined with injuries, but when he’s on the field, he is always a sure-handed receiver. He and Alex Smith have a great rapport.
The Oakland Raiders have Amari Cooper, Michael Crabtree, and Seth Roberts heading their receiving corps. Cooper already has 1000 receiving yards, and Crabtree is well on pace to hit a 1000 yards as well. Seth Roberts is a red-zone machine that is sure-handed in the end-zone. Derek Carr seems to always have on of these receivers wide open, and it is attributing to the team’s success.
The Denver Broncos have Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders as their pass-catchers, and they are both exceeding their expectations. Thomas and Sanders are both on pace to hit 1000 receiving yards for the season, and have been outstanding. Trevor Siemian is always looking for Thomas and Sanders, and more often than not, they are left open. Plus, both of these guys are YAC monsters!
The San Diego Chargers have a deep wide-receiving corps, led by Tyrell Williams, Dontrelle Inman, Travis Benjamin, Antonio Gates, and Hunter Henry. Williams and Inman are Philip Rivers’s most explosive targets. Tyrell Williams and Dontrelle Inman are very good route-runners with good hands. Williams and Inman are always a threat for the long-ball, and Philip Rivers is willing to throw the ball up, with trust they will catch it. Williams is on pace to hit 1000 receiving yards. Travis Benjamin is a slippery slot receiver, but he has struggled to catch the football consistently. Antonio Gates and Hunter Henry are always red-zone threats. Gates has scored 5 touchdowns and Henry has scored 6 touchdowns this season.
The AFC West is stacked with great wide-receiving corps, but the Chargers take the cake. They don’t have any superstars like the Raiders and Broncos, but they have the deepest wide-receiving corps, and they all come to play every week.
Edge: San Diego Chargers
This season, the Kansas City Chiefs offensive line has been average. They have allowed 30 sacks, 20th in the NFL, and Chiefs running backs have averaged 4 YPC, 21st in the NFL.
The Oakland Raiders offensive line has been stellar. They have only allowed 13 sacks, which is 1st in the NFL, and their running backs average 4.3 YPC. Their offensive line has stayed very healthy, and always gives Derek Carr a clean pocket.
The Denver Broncos offensive line has been pretty bad this season. They have allowed 36 sacks, which is 28th in the NFL, and their running backs are averaging a terrible 3.6 YPC, good for only 28th in the NFL.
The San Diego Chargers offensive line is always a carousel, and this season has proved no different. The Chargers have allowed 33 sacks, which is 24th in the NFL, and Chargers ball carriers are only averaging 3.8 YPC, which is 26th in the NFL.
The AFC West has one offensive line that shines above the rest, and that is the Raiders offensive line. They are easily better than anyone else in the division.
Edge: Oakland Raiders
The Kansas City Chiefs defensive line is led by Dontari Poe, Dee Ford, and Justin Houston. The Chiefs rank 19th in the NFL with 27 sacks. Dee Ford leads the Chiefs with 10 sacks. The Chiefs defensive line allows 4.3 YPC, which ranks only 20th in the NFL.
The Oakland Raiders defensive line is led by Khalil Mack, who leads the Raiders with 11 sacks. The Raiders rank 28th in the NFL with only 22 sacks for the season. That means that Khalil Mack has one half of the Raiders sacks! The Raiders defensive line allows 4.7 YPC, which ranks 30th in the NFL.
The Denver Broncos defensive line is led by Von Miller, who has 13.5 sacks. The Broncos defensive line is awesome! They are 2nd in the NFL with 38 sacks, and only allow 4.2 YPC, which is good for 16th in the NFL.
The San Diego Chargers defensive line is very good. They have 23 sacks, which is 27th in the NFL, and they allow 3.7 YPC, which ranks 4th in the NFL. The Chargers defensive line is led by Joey Bosa, who has 6.5 sacks. Melvin Ingram has also been very good, he has 6 sacks.
The AFC West boasts some very good defensive lines, but Denver Broncos defensive line just edges out the rest.
Edge: Denver Broncos
The Kanas City Chiefs secondary is led by Marcus Peters, who has 5 interceptions this season. The Chiefs allow 251.2 passing yards per game, and quarterbacks have completed 60.3% of passes thrown against Kansas City. The Chiefs have intercepted 14 passes total this season, which ranks 5th in the NFL.
The Oakland Raiders secondary is led by Sean Smith and David Amerson, who both have intercepted 2 balls. The Raiders allow 264.3 passing yards per game, and quarterbacks have completed 60.4% of their passes. The Raiders have intercepted 12 balls, good for 10th in the NFL.
The Denver Broncos secondary is led by Aqib Talib, Chris Harris Jr., and Bradley Roby. These players combine for 7 interceptions. The Denver Broncos have intercepted 12 balls, which ranks 10th in the NFL, and the Broncos allow 183.5 passing yards per game, and quarterbacks that play against them complete 54.1% of their passes.
The San Diego Chargers secondary is led by Casey Hayward, who has intercepted 7 balls, which leads the NFL. The Chargers have allowed 261.4 passing yards per game, and opponents complete 61.7% of their passes. The Chargers have intercepted 16 passes, which is the most in the NFL.
The AFC West boasts amazing secondaries, but the Broncos secondary is the best.
Edge: Denver Broncos
Coaching and Conclusion
Kansas City Chiefs: Andy Reid
Oakland Raiders: Jack Del Rio
Denver Broncos: Gary Kubiak
San Diego Chargers: Mike McCoy
Edge: Kansas City Chiefs
Overall, I believe that the Chiefs will finish the season 13-3. The Raiders will finish the season 12-4. The Broncos will finish 10-6. The Chargers will finish 6-10. The Chiefs and Raiders will make the playoffs, and the Broncos and Chargers will miss out on January football. You might be thinking, the Chiefs didn’t dominate the positional comparisons. But you know what, Andy Reid is an amazing coach, and he is going to lead this team into the playoffs, and maybe even to Super Bowl 51. Just maybe….