A LOOK AT THE AFC WEST
July 11, 2012INDIANA SPORTS PAGE
A CLOSE LOOK AT THE AFC WEST
By Troy Derengowski, EIHSS Sports
UNIT RANKING LEADERS
QUARTERBACK: SAN DIEGO 9.72
RUNNINGBACK: KANSAS CITY 9.24
RECIEVERS: SAN DIEGO 8.77
OFFENSIVE LINE: DENVER 8.98
DEFENSIVE LINE: KANSAS CITY 8.54
LINEBACKERS: KANSAS CITY 8.82
DEFENSIVE BACKS: KANSAS CITY 9.03
SPECIAL TEAMS: OAKLAND 9.22
SAN DIEGO: The Chargers went 8-8 in 2011 partly because their offense slipped from 2010. After getting off to a good start at 4-1 the Chargers went on a 6 game losing streak. Then the Chargers went on another 3 game winning streak by more than 23 points per game. The roller coaster continued until the Chargers finished at .500. Even at 8-8, San Diego outgained their opponents by 47 yards per game, they were -7 in TO’s, 53 starts lost to injury and 2 net close losses. The Chargers have the talent and a softer schedule than Denver to win the AFC West.
KANSAS CITY: What a difference a year makes. The Chiefs had a winning record in 2010, beating only one team with a winning record. They also stayed healthy, losing only 18 starts. Because of that success, the schedule got tougher going from #32 to #3 in 2011. KC got off to a bad start losing to 2 teams with losing records in 2010 by a combined score of 89-10. They started to rebound after an 0-3 start, won 4 straight but when they got drilled by Miami 31-3, it was over. This year the schedule gets softer and this team should be better. Perhaps a post-season birth if they can pull off a couple of upsets.
DENVER: Tebow is gone, Manning has arrived. Last season John Fox took over in Denver, they stayed relatively healthy and won the division despite an 8-8 record. After starting 1-4, they turned the ball over to Tim Tebow. They went 7-1 before losing their final 3 and backing into the playoffs. Tebow led them to a playoff win against Pittsburgh but New England ended the dream. When Manning signed, the Broncos became the AFC co-favorite to win the Super Bowl. Manning will have a positive impact in the turnover ratio and reverse the -12 from 2011. Manning will make a big difference but I don’t believe it will be enough to get the Broncos into the playoffs this season.
OAKLAND: 2011 was a season that the Raiders can look back on and clearly see why they went 8-8. They lost their best defensive play, lost three starting offensive linemen and didn’t make any significant signings. They didn have some impressive wins over the Jets, Houston, San Diego, Chicago and Kansas City. The Raiders were in control of the AFC West with Carson Palmer at QB but lost 4 of their final 5. The head coach is fired and Dennis Allen steps in for 2012. 101 starts from last year have been released. They were #9 on offense but only #29 defensively. Of all the AFC West teams, Oakland had made the fewest improvements and that’s why they won’t qualify for the playoffs again in 2012.