When I start to look at these divisions the first thing that I do is to rank the quarterbacks, and in most cases that will give me a good sense of where the teams will finish. The AFC West is a good example of that. You could make arguments for the Chargers, the Raiders, or the Chiefs being the best team in the division. In the end, the thing that separates them the most is the man under (or behind, when can we officially change that saying?) center. Phillip Rivers is clearly the head of the quarterback class, followed by Matt Cassell, then whoever the Raiders and Broncos throw out there.
All the teams in the division have things I like to see, but none of them are solid enough to make me feel they are clearly the best in the bunch. The Raiders will have a good run game and a solid defense, but they don’t have a good enough passing game. The Chiefs have a good enough quarterback and plenty of other playmakers on offense, but the defense is suspect and the team as a whole is just too young to have much faith in. The Broncos defense could end up putting enough pressure on opposing quarterbacks to cover for their lack of ability in the defensive backfield and their total lack of ability to stop the run, but that offense just won’t be prolific with any of the quarterbacks on the roster. That leaves us with the Chargers, who have a great quarterback and playmakers at receiver and tight end, but had a lot of turnover on the defensive side of the ball.
If I have to make a choice between all these tempting but flawed options, in the end I’m going to go with the team with the best quarterback, and that’s got to be Phillip Rivers.
In case you missed it, check out last week’s NFC West Preview
and make sure to come back on Thursday for a look at the AFC South.
Alright, let’s get into the AFC West, here we go.