The Kansas City Chiefs will be hard to stop as the defending Super Bowl champions are big favourites to win the AFC West again.
Predicted AFC West finish
- Kansas City Chiefs
- Denver Broncos
- LA Chargers
- Las Vegas Raiders
Kansas City Chiefs
After picking the Chiefs to win it all last year, we're high on them again this time around - simply they're a great team who could've achieved even more greatness over the last few years.
Remember, this year's defending champions were Dee Ford's offside glove away from going to the Super Bowl in 2019 - when odds are they'd have beaten the Rams as the Patriots did - while in 2018 they were dumped out of the play-offs when Titans QB Marcus Mariota threw a touchdown pass - to himself!
They could already be a dynasty, but they'll be in the conversation a few more years thanks to superstar QB Patrick Mahomes - one of just 13 players to win an MVP award and the Super Bowl, and that's after just two full seasons in the league.
The addition of rookie running-back Clyde Edwards-Helaire gives Andy Reid another dual-threat out of the backfield that he just loves, and crucially for this season all of their big stars have all remained - everyone knows what they have to do and when.
On defence they still have Chris Jones and their unit improved down the stretch to get them over the line last season. They're good, not great, but when you've got greatness at QB your defence has to do just enough. A fifth straight divisional title looks safe.
The Broncos popped up as a few people's dark horses, but Von Miller's injury will be a huge blow to this team as their defensive leader and the guy who gets after the quarterback like few others can manage.
Whether Denver can get over that loss is key to their entire season, but on offence they have a young and exciting team and with problems and questions also with the Chargers and Raiders they still have a chance in what looks an open division behind KC.
QB Drew Lock won four of his five starts down the stretch last season to claim the starting spot from former Super Bowl winner Joe Flacco - and Denver responded by picking top class receivers Jerry Jeudy and KJ Hamler with their first two Draft picks to load his offence up with quality weapons.
Running back Melvin Gordon has arrived from the Chargers to further strengthen their case and tight end Noah Fant also looked like he could be the real deal. Miller's a blow but there's exciting upsides to this team.
In Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram the Chargers have the best pass-rush duo in the game, and again the Chargers will go as far as their defence takes them this season.
LA are probably the least affected team by having no crowds watching as their recent move leaves them outnumbered even in their home stadium - and in defence at least they're a team ready to win now.
It's the competition between Tyrod Taylor and rookie Justin Herbert for the QB slot that will be the big question - and that transition may well cost them a shot and doing some real damage. Should sixth overall pick Herbert hit the ground running though things could be a different story.
The offensive line will have to be better though, veteran Philip Rivers left after being sacked 66 times in his last two season, and that lack of protection was a reason Tom Brady chose Tampa over LA this summer.
Las Vegas Raiders
The Raiders and Las Vegas were made for each other, and it's crying shame that their fantastic new Allegiant Stadium won't be packed out with fans just off the famous strip as they start life in their new home.
John Gruden's men could be anything this season, if first round receiver Henry Ruggs clicks with Derek Carr, Josh Jacobs runs as hard as he did last year and tight end Darren Waller backs up his breakout season then they're in business.
This is the Raiders though, with one play-off visit in the last 17 years so they're so hard to predict and with as many as six defensive starters new to the team there's certainly room to grow, but also some growing paints to go along with that.
The Chiefs won't have things all their own way but it's their division to lose and they should win it again for the fifth year with plenty in hand. It's wide open behind the champs with more questions than answers about the rest.
Denver with Von Miller would be a value play-off shot, they may still get there but their chances took a huge blow when Miller went down. The Chargers need to hit the ground running and settle on their quarterback and as for the Raiders, you'd have more joy down the Las Vegas casinos than betting on what they'll do this season.