August 4, 2012

3-Way NFL Preview: AFC West

Oakland Raiders
W17L:  9-7
Forecaster:  11-5  (2nd seed, loses to New England in AFC Championship)
Random:  13-3  (1st seed, loses to Green Bay in Super Bowl)

W17L's Take:  I do like the Raiders.  They have a ton of talent, and now they have Carson Palmer to tie it all together.  But nothing they've done in the last few years suggests they'll make a deep playoff run, though they have a good chance to make the playoffs.

Forecaster's Take:  The Raiders do a lot of things well, but the main factor in their projected success is a defense that commits a lot of penalties, meaning they are very aggressive, which should lead to a great performance this season.

San Diego Chargers
W17L:  11-5  (3rd seed, loses to New England in Divisional Round)
Forecaster:  8-8
Random:  10-6

W17L's Take:  I'll admit that I'm probably living in the past with the Chargers, but I just think of them as a great team.  I don't know if Philip Rivers can get them to 11 wins, but he should at least get them close.

Forecaster's Take:  San Diego is an average team, due mostly to a defense that doesn't stay on the field long enough.

Denver Broncos
W17L:  9-7  (6th seed, loses to San Diego in Wild Card Round)
Forecaster:  10-6  (6th seed, loses to Baltimore in Wild Card Round)
Random:  6-10

W17L's Take:  I know what you're thinking.  "With Tebow, they went 8-8 with a playoff win.  So you're saying Peyton Manning is only worth one more win?"  I want you to know I fully expect Peyton to be close to his old self.  But this Denver team didn't play like an 8-8 team last year.  They were a 5 or 6-win team that got a couple of breaks and won 8.  Peyton should be worth 3 to 4 extra wins over Orton/Tebow, and while that will be enough to get them in the playoffs, it won't be enough for them to contend for a title.

Forecaster's Take:  The Denver Broncos are legit, thanks to their ability to run for first downs and a defense that forces opponents to run a lot of plays.

Kansas City Chiefs
W17L:  6-10
Forecaster:  6-10
Random:  10-6  (5th seed, loses to New York Jets in Wild Card Round)

W17L's Take:  I don't have much to say about the Chiefs.  They have some really good players, but overall I don't think they have enough to do a lot of damage.

Forecaster's Take:  Don't let the Random prediction fool you.  The Chiefs are not a playoff team, or even a decent team.  The main culprit is their offense, which is downright horrible.

For an explanation of the Forecaster and Random projections, go here.  Teams are ranked by total wins over the three projections.

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