NFL Division Preview: The AFC West

The Calendar has turned to July, which means the 2024-2025 NFL season is about to ramp up and teams will be reporting to training camp in the coming weeks. But before we see all 32 teams get back on the gridiron. Let’s preview each division and what to expect in those respective divisions.  

Let’s begin with the AFC West division. The teams in the division are the Kansas City Chiefs, Denver Broncos, Los Angeles Chargers and the Las Vegas Raiders. The AFC West division in 2023 was supposed to be one of the most competitive divisions in football but it just didn’t fall that way.  Many pundits had the Chiefs being knocked off their thrown in 2023 after 7 straight division titles by the Los Angeles Chargers or the Denver Broncos. The LA Chargers finished 5-12 and the Broncos and Las Vegas Raiders finished 8-9.

But the Suprise of the AFC West last season was the Las Vegas Raiders firing head coach Josh McDaniel who went 9-16 in the two years as Raiders head coach. Then after firing McDaniel’s, the Raiders hired former linebacker Antonio Pierce as their interim Head coach who led the Raiders to a 5-4 record to finish the season 8-9 and being named head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders. If the Raiders want to build off last season’s late season success, they will need to ride the passion of their head coach Antonio Peirce who bought life to that Raiders locker room again because this was not the AL Davis Raiders their fans grew up loving.

The Kansas City Chiefs had some issues of their own during the season when people were questioning the Wide Receiver room and their rush defense. The Chiefs did go on to win the Super Bowl for the second consecutive season, but it didn’t come easy with some losses late in the season against the Las Vegas Raiders (20-14), Buffalo Bills (20-17) and the Green Bay Packers (27-19). Luckily for the Chiefs, the teams that were supposed to dethrone them were having issues of their own. The Kansas City Chiefs in 2024 are once again the favorites to win the AFC West and the Super Bowl for a third straight time. The Kansas City Chiefs once again want to prove they can win with speed in 2024 with the additions of Marquise Brown, resigning Mecole Hardman (who caught the game winning catch in the Superbowl). I think for the Chiefs to 3-peat, this Receiver core is going to have to step up in big moments during the season and the playoffs. 

The Los Angeles Chargers will be fun to watch in 2024, but I do reserve the right to say please watch with caution. I say this because the Chargers are a team that lost Keenan Allen, who was their top reliable pass catcher to the Chicago Bears via trade and Austin Ekeler to the Washington Commanders in Free Agency who was the Chargers do it all running back for them the past 3 years. They have a new Head Coach in Jim Harbaugh, who is coming of an undefeated (15-0) National Championship season and new Offensive Coordinator Greg Roman who was out of the league in 2023 after being fired from Baltimore in 2022. The Chargers will be a run heavy offense after the free agency period. Signing Gus Edwards and JK Dobbins. Questions about their Wide Receiver room will be asked all training camp, but I think the focus for the Chargers in 2024 will be to keep Justin Herbert healthy and a good run game will help with that.  

Then we have the Denver Broncos. I think it’s safe to say this is not what the Broncos faithful hoped for after trading for Russell Wilson in 2022. The Mile High City was starving for that Super Bowl run in 2022 after that trade. But it didn’t work out that way and Russell Wilson left the Broncos for the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Broncos have turned that corner for a rebuild after losing Wilson and Trading Jerry Jeudy to the Cleveland Browns. The Broncos Front Office is going to have to answer two questions during the season: 1. How do we develop talent during the rebuild to compete with the Chiefs? 2. What direction should we take at the conclusion of the 2024 season? The Broncos should be interested in the next draft class in 2025 because it is going to be a good class from top to bottom.

In conclusion, The AFC West division has a lot of questions that need to be answered but, in the end, the question will remain: Which team can dethrone the Chiefs? Just buckle up and get ready for a wild ride in 2024. This has the potential to be the second-best division in the NFL behind the AFC North.  

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