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Fearless Rick's NFL Preview - AFC West

Rick Gagliano | July 26, 2013

AFC West

Denver Broncos

2012 Record: 13-3

2013 Expected Finish: 12-4

With Peyton Manning behind center, the Broncos are looking to go further than their first-place AFC West finish and ouster from the playoffs in the first round (to eventual SB champion Baltimore, 38-35 in 2OT) this season.

The Broncos finished the regular season ranked 5th overall in passing yardage at 283.4 yards per game and may even improve upon that mark in 2013, though they will be seeking more rushing yardage from Knowshon Moreno and rookie Montee Ball, their second pick in the draft.

Denver was particularly solid defensively, which gives them a big edge in the division, but Manning is still in search of another Super Bowl ring, so expect nothing short of perfection on offense and little toleration for slackers on defense.

First round draft pick, Sylvester Williams, a defensive tackle out of North Carolina, should be an instant starter who will bolster an already-solid defensive front seven.

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San Diego Chargers

2012 Record: 7-9

2013 Expected Finish: 6-10

The Chargers finally fired Norv Turner after failing to reach .500 in in 2012. Too bad they should have let him go three years ago, because the team is about as disjointed as the rest of the AFC West (excluding Denver).

Phillip Rivers is still an entertaining, capable QB, but one wonders how long he can take a pounding and whether last season's 15 fumbles and 15 picks was the start of a trend or just a fluke.

Chances are that Rivers is going to give up the ball more often than the coaching staff would like, but they're stuck with him, because backup Charlie Whitehurst isn't the answer.

San Diego has somewhat of a core on defense, but that's all, not the whole apple. This team's better days are well behind them and an 8-8 finish would be a surprise.


Oakland Raiders

2012 Record: 4-12

2013 Expected Finish: 5-11

When the most recognizable name on the offensive roster is center Steve Wisniewski, you know you've got a problem and the Raiders, after a couple of seasons of hope, seem to be devolving into the dregs of the NFL.

Not only do they not have a solid starting quarterback, their wideouts are not impressive and their leading rusher from last season - Darren McFadden - only gained 707 yards.

About the only good thing one can say about the Raiders (no, their defense is deficient, too) is that they play mostly late games on the West Coast, so most of the country doesn't have to watch them.


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Kansas City Chiefs

2012 Record: 2-14

2013 Expected Finish: 2-14

The trade for former New England backup Matt Cassel turned out to be a massive bust for the Chiefs, and they finally recognized that fact of life and picked up Alex Smith, discarded from the 49ers after being benched mid-season last year.

That may turn out to be a good move, especially if Smith hands the ball to Jamall Charles more often than he throws it, because his receiving corps isn't exactly what one might call up to NFL standards.

Tight ends Tony Moeaki and Anthony Fasano may catch more balls than the rest of the wideouts in the KC offense.

Another question mark pops up in the defensive secondary, one of the most porous in the league, and then there's new head coach Andy Reid. Really? The Chiefs may not win a game until November.

Copyright 2013, 2013, Rick Gagliano, Downtown Magazine. All rights reserved. Downtown Magazine is located in the Uinted States of America and is not affiliated with the National Football League or the NCAA. For more information, contact us here. Use of this site is for entertainment purposes only.

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