AFC West Midseason Report 2010November 20th, 2010 by Lee Eldridge
In the immortal words of coach Dennis Green, “They are who we thought they were!”
Instead of my usual weekly Chiefs column, let’s look around the AFC West today. If you go back to my predictions before the season, I think we’ll find that these teams are pretty much who we thought they were. (I am going to the game this weekend, and am predicting a Chiefs win over the Cardinals, 27-13. The Cardinals are a bad road team, and the Chiefs will be angry after the beating they took in Denver.)
Kansas City Chiefs: Record 5-4, Preseason Prediction 7-9
The Chiefs are an improved football team. They’re well coached. For the most part they’ve avoided beating themselves. And we’ve seen improvement in almost every area of the team. The rookies have stepped up and filled some glaring holes. Having said that, this team lacks impact players. Much has been made of cornerback Brandon Flowers and linebacker Derrick Johnson. They’ve emerged as very good players. But great? I don’t think so. They aren’t game changers. The Chiefs are playing very well at home (4-0) and have struggled on the road (1-4). They’re tied for the division lead at 5-4, but it’s hard to think they’re going to become a better road team all of a sudden. It looks to me like the Chiefs will finish 8-8 or possibly 9-7. Definitely better, but probably not good enough to sneak them into the playoffs. Don’t be disappointed. Haley has this team pointed in the right direction.
Oakland Raiders: Record 5-4, Preseason Prediction 6-10
I struggled with my prediction for the Raiders more than any other team in the division. They have talent. And with the departure of quarterback JaMarcus Russell, this team SHOULD be better. Russell will go down as one of the biggest busts in NFL history. The emergence of Darren McFadden has really helped this team turn the corner. They’re tied with the Chiefs at 5-4, and will certainly outpace my prediction. However, the Raiders still commit a lot of penalties and make a lot of mistakes. They will lose a few games down the stretch that they’re capable of winning. It’s hard for me to see them getting past 8 or 9 wins despite some recent success. Much like the Chiefs, the Raiders are getting better, but will probably be on the outside looking in when the season finishes. They do have a chance of winning the division if the Chargers stumble.
San Diego Chargers: Record 4-5, Preseason Prediction 11-5
The Chargers seem determined to repeat history. Start slow. Lose winnable games. Then pull it together just in time to win the division. Norv Turner is an awful head coach, but he’s got the most talented team in the division. And it looks to me like they’re getting healthy at the right time. I still expect the Chargers to win this division despite sitting here today at 4-5. They’re only one game back, and they have a fairly easy schedule to finish the season. Would not be surprised if they finished the season 10-6.
Denver Broncos: Record 3-6, Preseason Prediction 5-11
The Donkeys drubbed the Chiefs last week. But this team is more likely to get drubbed than to be the one doing the drubbing. I’m very unimpressed with head coach Josh McDaniels. Kyle Orton is having a great season at quarterback, and the receivers are good. But other than that, this team is headed in the wrong direction. They’re 3-6 and sitting at the bottom of the division. They’ve already played the easiest portion of their schedule. They still have road games against all three AFC West rivals plus the Cardinals. And home games against the Rams, Texans and Chargers. I only see two or maybe three possible wins left for Denver. Don’t see them any better than 6-10 to finish the season.