My plan had been to write quarterly updates on the AFC West this year. Games start shortly, so here goes!
Prediction 10-6 / Record 2-2
I still expect the Broncos to win the division. They’ve beaten the Steelers (who have not been very good) and the Raiders (who are bad). And they’ve lost to two very good teams in the Falcons and the Texans. The Broncos’ defense has shown signs of dominance. And the offense will only get better as Manning develops chemistry with his backs and receivers. They are the best team in the West.
Kansas City Chiefs
Prediction 8-8 / Record 1-3
How bad are the Chiefs? We’ll probably find out today against the Ravens. But they’re still only one game behind the pace that I expected, even if they lose today. The turnovers from the offense, and the lack of turnovers from the defense, has exasperated the rest of the teams’ problems. They aren’t as bad as they’ve looked. But I’m not sure you can expect things to get much better. If the Chiefs can flip the turnover numbers, they’ll win some games. More on the Chiefs later in this post.
San Diego Chargers
Prediction 7-9 / Record 3-1
I’m still not sold on this team. They’ve beaten three teams with a cumulative record of 3-9. The only good team they’ve played are the Falcons, who dominated them in San Diego 27-3. Who is the head coach? Norv Turner. Sell high.
Prediction 6-10 / Record 1-3
I guess they’re about what I expected. The only team they’ve beaten is the Steelers, who do not look like the Steelers of old. Carson Palmer has not been very good. Will be interesting to see how long they stay with him at quarterback. They gave up a lot to get him last year, but they’ve got the youngster Terrelle Pryor sitting on the bench. By mid-season, it might be time to see if he can play.
So what’s up with the Chiefs? If you’ve read my blog over the years, you know that I’m not very reactionary. I think fans and the media often react too quickly to what has happened, instead of understanding the bigger picture. When the team wins, we’re going to the Super Bowl. When we lose, start firing people!
But I’m almost to the end of my rope. I think this team has some good talent, but some significant problems at quarterback, head coach and general manager. Only the three most important positions in a team. I would play Matt Cassel the next two games against the Ravens and the Bucs. If the team gets crushed, it’s time to make changes during the bye week. At a minimum I would sit Cassel and let Brady Quinn finish out the season. Though I would be tempted to fire general manager Scott Pioli during the bye week as well. I would replace Romeo Crennel at the end of the season. And I would do whatever I had to do to draft Matt Barkley or Geno Smith as our next quarterback.