NFL Handicapping: The AFC West
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NFL Handicapping Insight
Not a lot changed in the AFC West over the offseason, though football fans in San Diego might disagree with that statement. There remain three teams with a very real shot at winning one of the deeper divisions in football.
2017 AFC West Predictions: Denver Broncos
Broncos Odds to Win 2017 Super Bowl: +1800
Broncos Odds to Win 2017 AFC Conference: +900
Broncos Odds to Win 2017 AFC West Division: +210
The Broncos’ roster remains largely intact from a group that was largely disappointing last season. Vance Joseph steps in as head coach and should help maintain what’s been one of the best defenses in football over the last couple years.
The troubles for Denver will come on offense. Gary Kubiak was a champion of quarterback Trevor Siemian, but now that Kubiak’s out of the picture, Siemian’s prospects look a whole lot bleaker.
The team will need to lean heavily on C.J. Anderson, with Jamaal Charles spelling him for the occasional home run swing, and turning to Paxton Lynch sooner rather than later may be a wise move.
2017 AFC West Predictions: Kansas City Chiefs
Chiefs Odds to Win 2017 Super Bowl: +2500
Chiefs Odds to Win 2017 AFC Conference: +1200
Chiefs Odds to Win 2017 AFC West Division: +250
Losing Dontari Poe hurts the defense more than many expect, and using a first-round pick on Patrick Mahomes was a curious decision for a team that can compete now.
Turning the keys to the offense over to Spencer Ware by letting Jamaal Charles walk is a bit of a curious move considering Ware wasn’t great this past season.
Travis Kelce remains the team’s top offensive option, with a motivated Alex Smith set to throw him the ball. Jeremy Maclin’s experienced a big drop off in production in his second season in Kansas City. Injuries were a problem, but they’ll need him to be better all around.
2017 AFC West Predictions: Oakland Raiders
Raiders Odds to Win 2017 Super Bowl: +1200
Raiders Odds to Win 2017 AFC Conference: +700
Raiders Odds to Win 2017 AFC West Division: +150
The Raiders did the obvious thing in the draft, which is load up on defensive players, at least in the early rounds. That includes a big roll of the dice on cornerback Gareon Conley, who dealt with some serious legal issues around draft time.
The offense made plenty of headlines during the offseason, with Latavius Murray leaving town and being replaced by Marshawn Lynch, who is coming out of retirement to play for his hometown team.
Lynch was slowed by injuries the last time we saw him, but the extended layoff will be good for him, assuming he shows up to camp in shape and used his time off wisely.
The Raiders also added tight end Jared Cook to supplement top receivers Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree. Derek Carr should build on his breakout season throwing to that group.
2017 AFC West Predictions: Los Angeles Chargers
Chargers Odds to Win 2017 Super Bowl: +7500
Chargers Odds to Win 2017 AFC Conference: +3300
Chargers Odds to Win 2017 AFC West Division: +600
The biggest headlines made by the Chargers this offseason involved the release of a very poorly thought out new logo design. The team will field a largely similar group from the one that last played in San Diego.
Philip Rivers is a very good quarterback, and he has a bevy of talented pass-catchers with the addition of first-round rookie Mike Williams.
Tight end Hunter Henry also figures to take a step forward as Antonio Gates ages, and some help on the offensive line should fuel Melvin Gordon to another strong year, particularly now that he has the backfield all to himself with Danny Woodhead gone.
Cappers Picks 2017 AFC West Predictions
This division has three teams with a legitimate shot at claiming the top spot, and it wouldn’t be all that ridiculous if Rivers got hot and the Chargers’ schedule broke right and they were in contention come December. So there’s a lot to consider when putting money down on the AFC West.
But there’s one team that has far fewer flaws than the others, and that’s the Raiders. There’s going to be more to this team than just watching Lynch run behind the best offensive line he’s ever been tied to.
If those new pieces on defense pan out, the top spot in the AFC may not be out of the question for the Raiders.
More 2017 NFL Division By Division Gambling Previews
- 2017 AFC East Predictions
- 2017 AFC North Predictions
- 2017 AFC South Predictions
- 2017 NFC East Predictions
- 2017 NFC North Predictions
- 2017 NFC South Predictions
- 2017 NFC West Predictions
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