2. Kansas City
3. San Diego
When I look at this division, there are three teams that stand out. And then you have the Raiders...
This was a once proud franchise. This franchise once could rely on interchangeable parts and they could win a Super Bowl. Now, they are a joke. They are the only team that plays in baseball-football stadium. It would be sensible if the Raiders went in with 49ers in their new stadium... or even look at relocation to Los Angeles.
Since their Super Bowl appearance in January 2003, the Raiders have not made the playoffs. 8 of their last 10 seasons have ended with 11 or more losses. The closest the Raiders came to sniffing the playoffs was in 2011 when they finished with an 8-8 record. Denver and San Diego also finished 8-8. All the teams in the AFC West that season finished within one game of each other. Denver made the playoffs that season due to
magic of Tim Tebow
tiebreakers giving them the division title.
Clearly the Raiders have been committed to something. I suspect they MIGHT need to be committed.
I've flipped between which team will finish second and third. Kansas City had an AWFUL season last year given the events off the field. In the off-season the Chiefs hired former Eagles coach Andy Reid and traded for former 49ers 1st overall pick quarterback Alex Smith. Along with a healthy Jaamal Charles at running back and first overall pick, this team could be building something. If the Chiefs finish with 6... 7... maybe 8 wins, it will be considered a success.
Meanwhile, you look at the roster the Chargers had from 2001 to now and look at the players who were on this team during that time period. Why didn't they win a Super Bowl? Three reasons: the AFC was top heavy with the Colts, Patriots, and Steelers. And then you had head coaches Marty Schottenheimer and Norv Turner. Former Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy is now the head coach. I think this team is in a transition period for a few seasons and needs to do some serious roster building if they are to return to the playoffs.
Baring a major injury, Denver should return to the playoffs. The Broncos lost Elvis Dumervil due to paperwork error involving a FAX MACHINE... really?! Folks still use those. Linebacker Von Miller will miss the first six games due to violating the NFL's substance abuse policy. Still this team will revolve around Peyton Manning. In the offseason the Broncos signed Wes Welker away from the Patriots improving their receiving corps.
The Broncos will return to the playoffs, but in order to avoid the fate of Manning's Colts teams in the 2000s the Broncos need to perform in the playoffs.