Like the western division in the National Football Conference, the AFC West is stocked with mediocre teams that consistently flounder under .500. Unlike the NFC's version, however, the AFC West is home to one formidable franchise that seems at the cusp of greatness. That team is San Diego; and if they are able to get out of their own way, the Chargers will claim another division title and secure one more chance at a Super Bowl appearance.
1st place - San Diego Chargers
This is the year for San Diego. Six games against relatively weak division opponents will allow the team to inflate its record and secure a first-round bye. Unfortunately, the Chargers don’t have what it takes to compete with New England and will ultimately see their Super Bowl dream end once more at the hands of Tom Brady.
Prediction: 13-3 (They'll get by in the regular season; but in the playoffs, they'll miss Darren Sproles.)
2nd place - Kansas City Chiefs
They played well last season, but the Chiefs are still at least another year away from becoming a realistic contender. Expect Kansas City to take a step back in 2011.
Prediction: 9-7 (Though they will be competitive in nearly every game, the Chiefs will ultimately give up too many points.)
3rd place - Oakland Raiders
It’s a new year; so there must be a new coach in Oakland. Quarterback problems will prevent Oakland from doing anything substantial in 2011. Expect a carbon copy of last season, with the team showing glimmers of talent that result in few wins.
Prediction: 7-9 (Jason Campbell will be cut after 2011.)
4th place: Denver Broncos
Denver convinced its savior, John Elway, to come to the rescue and take over team operations. Unfortunately, the guy can no longer play. Until it decides what to do with Tim Tebow, this franchise will continue to circle the drain. If it opts to play Tebow, Denver will at least know what it has and can set a course. If they stick with Kyle Orton, the Broncos will end up near .500 and will have no shot at Andrew Luck.
Prediction: 5-11 (Tim Tebow will be a tight end in 2012.)
- Ryan Lawrence (Content Writer)