Sep 8, 2013; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid during the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at EverBank Field. Mandatory Credit: Rob Foldy-USA TODAY Sports
The 2022 AFC West is one of the best divisions we’ve seen in some time, but the Kansas City Chiefs remain the bear for all challengers to beat.
4. Las Vegas Raiders
The Raiders would be understandably annoyed with this ranking, but it’s the correct one. Las Vegas went to the playoffs last year and then added edge rusher Chandler Jones and receiver Davante Adams, two of the league’s best players at premium positions. However, the defense beyond Jones and fellow pass-rusher Maxx Crosby is horrid, and the offensive line is a major problem outside of left tackle Kolton Miller. In this division, both of those issues are huge problems.
3. Denver Broncos
Denver is one of the hardest teams to figure. The Broncos added quarterback Russell Wilson in a blockbuster trade with the Seattle Seahawks, giving them a real signal-caller for the first time since Peyton Manning retired after 2015. Around Wilson are a bevy of talented weapons in receivers Courtland Sutton, Tim Patrick and Jerry Jeudy. However, is the defense going to slip without former head coach and defensive guru Vic Fangio, and will the offensive line be good enough?
2. Los Angeles Chargers
This is where the rankings get tough. The Chargers might have more talent 1-53 than the Chiefs, but they haven’t won a meaningful game in years. Justin Herbert is a phenomenal quarterback but is without a playoff appearance through his first two seasons. Can head coach Brandon Staley and Herbert break through with a revamped defense? All the talent is there for the Chargers to make a deep playoff run, but something will need to change after disappearing acts in previous campaigns.
1. Kansas City Chiefs
These aren’t the same Chiefs, but they still present a formidable problem for everybody else in the division, and the conference. Kansas City traded away star receiver Tyreek Hill and lost safety Tyrann Mathieu to free agency, but they’ve been replaced with a litany of new faces including receivers JuJu Smith-Schuster, Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Skyy Moore, defensive end George Karlaftis, corner Trent McDuffie and safety Justin Reid among others.
After winning six consecutive AFC West titles, the Chiefs remain the favorites behind quarterback Patrick Mahomes, tight end Travis Kelce, a great offensive line and the experience no other challenger has.