There were tons of additions and subtractions to NFL teams across the league this offseason. Many of these moves will significantly impact the divisional standings throughout the year. In this series, we’ll take a look at each division, and where each team in it will end the season.
Check out the Division Predictions of the other NFL divisions:
Oakland Raiders – Predicted Record: 5-11
You know all the reasons why the Raiders are going to finish in last place in their division, and it starts from the top down. They are starting off with yet another head coach, their fifth since 2010. And maybe Del Rio is the one who will stick, but still, there is something to be said for consistency, and there is none of that in Oakland. I think they will win a couple more games than last year and put a scare into a few more opponents than in the past few years, because I think they do have some players in place would could excel, from Latavius Murray to Amari Cooper, and even including their young QB, Derek Carr. All of that might prove to make them a better fantasy team than real-life team, but at least it should be more fun to watch.
Kansas City Chiefs – Predicted Record: 7-9
I just don’t see any improvement. The line is no better, the QB is unchanged, and with apologies to Jeremy Maclin, any upgrade at WR is not something I think actually improves their chances to win games. A QB and a scheme that actually threw to wide receivers might, so I guess we’ll see. Everything about this offense seems bogged down and slow, with the exception of any time Charles hits the open field at full stride. Andy Reid’s offense, with its motion and linemen pulling all over the place and crossing routes, was revolutionary ten years ago. Now it seems like it is constraining the players rather than putting them in a position to succeed.
San Diego Chargers – Predicted Record: 8-8
With the NFC North on tap, the Chargers got no favors from the schedule, going on the road for the Packers and the Vikings. They also drew a road game in Baltimore, and close out the season in Denver in a game that could make or break their playoff chances, and could easily still mean something for the Broncos. They picked up a player who could be a legitimate three-down back and a threat to make plays every time he touches the ball in first-round running back Melvin Gordon, and they have established, reliable receivers in Keenan Allen, Malcolm Floyd and Stevie Johnson. They might not all be game-breakers, but that’s a core Rivers can work with, especially when Gates returns to the middle of the field (or, hopefully, when Ladarius Green can finally take the next step during his early-season opportunity). With Rivers under center for another year orchestrating all of this, they are going to remain in contention in plenty of games, but it is going to be tough for them to pick up the wins they’ll need to take this division.
The Top Dog
Denver Broncos – Predicted Record: 10-6
I think the news here is more the 10-6 record than the place on top of their division. Peyton, unfortunately, just isn’t Peyton from ten years ago. He is awesome – probably the smartest QB in football and someone you will ALWAYS trust running your offense. But the fastball isn’t there like it used to be, and neither is the deep ball. He can still be accurate and throw a catchable pass, but to be the lethal Peyton we remember for a full 16 game season just doesn’t seem to be in his arsenal anymore. But, luckily, he is on a team that appears to know it. With Gary Kubiak now in place at Head Coach, it is easy to imagine the Broncos relying more on the ground game, with a solid defense to back it up. They could be playing in much more low-scoring contests generally, but with one hell of an ace up their sleeve when the game is on the line. It’s a formula that could work. But it is not a formula that leads to 13, 14 or 15 win regular season like when he was routinely blowing the doors off defenses with his aerial assault. But they will be there at the end, giving themselves a chance.