Which AFC West team are best placed to take on the Chiefs & Patrick Mahomes as the Superbowl MVP is set to be around for another 12 (Yes, TWELVE) years.
Denver, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Kansas City. The AFC West is a division curated of a multitude of cultures and playing styles. The Broncos strong, fierce defense and youthful offense may not have succeeded to heights desired in years past, but look set to make a good run in 2020. The Chiefs are the Alpha-male at the minute. Super Bowl champions and a quarterback worth half a billion dollars. They now spend the next twelve years with a target on their back as everyone brings their A-Game week in – week out to try and defeat the champs. The Los Angeles Chargers have seemed a bit lost over the last couple of seasons but with a new stadium and rookie first round QB, it’s the future that looks best for the Chargers. Finally, the Raiders. Their long, storied tenure in Oakland has come to an end and they look set for a new beginning in Las Vegas. Under the supervision of Jon Gruden, who is entering the third year of his ten year Head Coaching contract, the silver and black will be wanting better results than they have seen in years past.
Looking forward, the aim for the three teams behind the Chiefs is obvious. They want to be the best. The best in the West and focusing on Denver, today I will briefly discuss how I believe they are the team best suited to take over the top spot.
Firstly, The QB situation in Denver is better than in LA or Vegas. Drew Lock has talent and promise and age on his side. He is about undertake his first year as a starter and will be wanting to prove his worth to the Broncos organisation. The QB room in LA isn’t exactly settled. The team have stated how Tyrod Taylor is their QB but where have we heard that before? Rookie first rounder Justin Herbert is in the building but the belief around the league is that he won’t be ready to be a starter at least in the earlier parts of the season. The situation over in Vegas is better, but not great. Derek Carr has underwhelmed in the last season or two but former second overall pick Marcus Mariota joins the Raiders this season after his departure from the Titans. A good addition to any QB room but could cause controversy during the season if Carr even slightly underperforms. Upsetting the apple cart could spell trouble for the Raiders this season.
Elsewhere on the offense, the Broncos have some great weapons for Drew Lock to work with. Courtland Sutton, along with new stars Jerry Jeudy and K.J Hamler form a formidable receiving trio. TE Noah Fant is set for a break out year after a lot of promising performances last season. This group, for me, stands above the rest of the receiving corps in the AFC West, outside of the Chiefs. It would be naïve of me to ignore the talents of Keenan Allen, the Chargers number one receiver but he’s a large chunk of what they have. The Broncos have plenty of targets to spread the ball around to, this will in turn help generate more production. The Raiders don’t have a clear number one receiver but will hope rookie receiver Henry Ruggs III can take that spot.
Defensively, the Broncos have a strong unit, capable of competing. Bradley Chubb and Von Miller on the edge is a force to be reckoned with for any offensive line. Paired with Jurrell Casey on the inside and this Denver line suddenly becomes one that will be expected to perform well all season long. The Safety tandem of Kareem Jackson and Justin Simmons could well be one of the best in the league, a good position to be strong in when your division is offensively loaded like the AFC West is.
As perhaps one of the closer, tougher divisions in football, it’s a positive sign for Broncos fans when their team is keeping up in the race for top spot. With a youthful squad, promising talent across the board and experienced coaches at the helm, it’s a good time to be a member of Broncos Country!