The AFC West has four teams with solid rosters and decent histories of winning and in 2022 it is the number one ranked division in the league, so that means the Kansas City Chiefs, LA Chargers, Denver Broncos, and Las Vegas Raiders are all worth keeping track of this season.
The Chiefs will play sans a Cheetah, the Chargers are ready to get back to playing in the postseason, the Broncos have a veteran playmaker under center now, and the Raiders just added a deep threat receiver and a promising first time head coach, all offseason upgrades.
Tough to pick a divisional winner here since all four teams have impressive talented rosters and head coaches, so we take a closer look at these AFC West franchises to discover the best predictions, odds and picks for who will be kings of the NFL’s top division in 2022.
Odds taken from DraftKings
|Kansas City Chiefs||-10000|
|Los Angeles Chargers||+3000|
|Las Vegas Raiders||+10000|
Last season ended horribly for this team, so now they have the drive and all the talent to take revenge and the AFC West in 2022.
Los Angeles Chargers (+3000)
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It’s no surprise that the Chiefs are the favorites to win the AFC West seeing as how they have won the title the last six seasons in a row averaging a dozen wins a year during that time span, a sign that HC Andy Reid knows how to coach pro football.
This season, the team still has playmaker QB Patrick Mahomes, a magician that non-KC fans accused of losing his touch last season as defenses began to counter his strengths, but in the end Mahomes was the fourth most productive at his position in 2021 with 37 TD passes.
Now the team is without deep threat WE Tyreek ‘Cheetah’ Hill whose speed caused double teams that left his teammates open, so that receiver corps must depend on such talent as Mecole Hardman, Marquez Valdes-Santling, and JuJu Smith-Schuster plus TE Travis Kelce.
Last season the LA Chargers missed out on the playoffs for the third year in a row, but this one really hurt because the Vegas Raiders beat them by a field goal as the clock expired in overtime when a tie would have put both teams into the playoffs.
Now the team must shake off that mental poison as HC Brandon Staley continues his “go for it on fourth down” philosophy using the talent of his roster including QB Justin Herbert and his favorite targets WRs Mike Williams and Keenan Allen as well as dual-threat RB Austin Ekeler.
It’s the Chargers’ defense that should have the other AFC West teams worried because now LB Joey Bosa has Khalil Mack in the LA midfield to chase down opposing RBs and stray QBs, the goal to vastly improve upon a defensive unit that was ranked just 23rd in the league last season.
In the not-so-distant past, the Broncos have been accused of being a decent quarterback away from being a constant playoff contender, and now that move has happened with the acquisition of veteran Russell Wilson the former Seattle Seahawk star.
Now Wilson will report to HC Nathaniel Hackett and OC Justin Outten and the three of them will attempt to game plan a way to take advantage of their offensive talent including WRs Courtland Sutton, Jerry Jeudy, and KJ Hamler, not to mention RB Javonte Williams out of the backfield.
DC Ejiro Evero will lead the 8th ranked defense from 2021 with big names like LB Bradley Chubb at midfield and CB Pat Surtain roaming the secondary as DEs Dre’Mont Jones and DeShawn Williams hunt QBs, a team NFL insiders are watching after such a fruitful offseason.
The title here is misleading because the Raiders definitely have a chance to win the AFC West since they have a new HC with a stellar resume in Josh McDaniels who spent years learning the craft from GOAT Bill Belichick, a worthy winning mentor.
The most exciting news of the offseason came when the Raiders scored deep threat, WR Davante Adams, from the Green Bay Packers, arguably the best route runner and pass catcher in the league now reunited with his college QB Derek Carr and they have a solid connection.
Also, fun to watch is the Las Vegas defense run by DC Patrick Graham and starring such great hitters as DE Maxx Crosby, CB Rock Ya-Sin, DE Chandler Jones, and SS Johnathan Abram among others, a tough unit that kept opponents to 26 points per game looking to improve.
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|AFC West Divisional Titles||Total|
|Las Vegas Raiders||12|
|Kansas City Chiefs||12|
|Los Angeles Chargers||10|
The AFC West was born in 1970 when the NFL realigned the entire league, so since that beginning, the Denver Broncos have been the most dominant team in the league with fifteen divisional titles, a run that seems to keep stretching on and on, their last one in 2015.
Most of the Raiders’ AFC West wins were earned in the 70’s when John Madden was their head coach, but the last time they came in first in the division was in 2002 when Bill Callahan was their HC and QB Rich Gannon won the league MVP Award though they lost the Super Bowl.
The Chiefs are next in line with a dozen AFC West championships including over the last six consecutive seasons under HC Andy Reid, and the Los Angeles Chargers are last with just ten AFC West titles, though keep in mind that the team also won 5 West Division titles before that.
|AFC West Super Bowl Wins||Total|
|Las Vegas Raiders||3|
|Kansas City Chiefs||2|
|Los Angeles Chargers||0|
Both the Denver Broncos and the Las Vegas Raiders have hoisted the Lombardi Trophy three times, an honor that the Kansas City Chiefs have enjoyed twice, and the Los Angeles Chargers have yet to experience though they had the chance in Super Bowl XXIX in ’94 but lost.
Two of the Broncos’ Super Bowl appearances have been in the last ten years, with a loss in Super Bowl XLVIII in 2013 to the Seattle Seahawks and a win over the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl 50 in 2015, while the Raiders last won the Big Game in 1983 with HC Tom Flores.
Under HC Reid, the Chiefs since 2018 have been in the Super Bowl conversation every season, with a victory in 2019 over the Niners in XLIV and a loss to the Tampa Bay Bucs in 2020 in LV with two AFC Championship losses (’18, ’21) to bookend those Big Game appearances.
|What||2022/23 NFL Regular Season|
|Where||USA + International|
|When||Thu, Sept 8 thru Sunday, Feb 12, 2023|
|How to watch||CBS/ESPN/Fox/NBC/NFLN|
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Mike Lukas is a retired standup comedian turned freelance writer now living in Dallas, Texas, originally from Cleveland, Ohio. His love for the game of football and all things Cleveland Browns turned Mike into a pro blogger years ago. Now Mike enjoys writing about all thirty-two NFL teams, hoping to help football gamblers gain a slight edge in their pursuit of the perfect wager. Email: [email protected]More info on Mike Lukas
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