The AFC West 2019-20 NFL Season - Odds and Predictions

Last season, the AFC West proved to be a battleground between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Los Angeles Chargers, with the Chiefs getting the edge on that one due to their one-win divisional advantage.

With the makeover that the Oakland Raiders and Denver Broncos received this offseason, though, it could become a four-way shootout in the AFC West, but chances are once that smoke clears it will still be the Chiefs and Chargers standing above the crowd.

The AFC West has provided the NFL with a lot of winners in the past, and it looks like it will provide at least two potential Super Bowl contenders in the 2019-20 season, so we take a look at the history of this division as well as examine the odds and predictions of its four teams’ upcoming season.

For the NFL newbies, what exactly is the AFC West?

If you’re just learning about the NFL, here’s a quick primer on how the league divides its teams based on the regions where each resides in order to build a balanced and fair schedule.

The National Football League (NFL) formed in 1920 and faced competition from many other leagues until 1966, when the NFL finally merged with the fourth American Football League (AFL) and held the very first Super Bowl at the end of that season.

Beginning in 2002, after realigning and adding some expansion teams over the years, the NFL now has thirty-two teams that are split into two conferences, the American Football Conference (AFC) and the National Football Conference (NFC).

Each of those two conferences is then split up into four divisions – North, South, East and West – with four teams in each, and in this article, we will be focusing on the AFC West, which officially began in 1970 when the NFL/AFL merger was completed, using four of the five teams from the AFL Western division (with the fifth team, the Cincinnati Bengals, going to the AFC North).

The teams of the AFC West are:

  1. Denver Broncos, who play at Broncos Stadium at Mile High in Denver, Colorado
  2. Kansas City Chiefs, who play at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri
  3. Los Angeles Chargers, who play at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California
  4. Oakland Raiders, who play at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum in Oakland, California

Which team has the most Divisional titles?

Three of the AFC West teams have won fifteen divisional titles if you include the ones they won in the AFL Western.

The Denver Broncos are tied for the most divisional titles (15):

  • AFL Western titles – 0
  • AFC West titles – 15

The Oakland Raiders are also tied for the most divisional titles (15):

  • AFL Western titles – 3
  • AFC West titles – 12

The Los Angeles Chargers are also tied for the most divisional titles (15):

  • AFL Western titles – 5
  • AFC West titles – 10

The Kansas City Chiefs have the least amount with 11:

  • AFL Western titles – 2
  • AFC West titles – 9

Which AFC West team has the most Lombardi Trophies?

That honor goes to two AFC West teams, the Oakland Raiders and the Denver Broncos, who each have three Lombardi’s and the associated fat Super Bowl rings that go along with them.

The Raiders, who have won four AFC championships, turned those into three Super Bowl wins: XI in 1976, XV in 1980 and XVIII in 1983.

The Denver Broncos, who have won eight AFC championships, turned those into three Super Bowl wins: XXXII in 1997, XXXIII in 1998 and L in 2015.

Next are the Kansas City Chiefs, who have won zero AFC championships, but in 1969 (before the AFL/NFL merger was finalized) they won the AFL Championship, which got them to Super Bowl IV, which they won.

Finally are the Los Angeles Chargers, who won an AFC Championship in 1994 but then lost in Super Bowl XXIX.

How many Super Bowl rings has the AFC West won?

The AFC West has won seven Super Bowls among its four teams.

The NFL division with the most Lombardi trophies is the NFC East, with a combined thirteen Super Bowl Championships.

The NFL divisions with the least amount of Super Bowl rings are the NFC and AFC South, with two Super Bowl rings apiece.

How did the AFC West do in 2018?

 Kansas City Chiefs1240
 L.A. Chargers1240
 Denver Broncos6100
 Oakland Raiders4120

The AFC West produced two playoff teams, with the Chiefs being the number one seed due to their 5-1 divisional record and the Chargers being the number five seed (and second place in the division) due to their 4-2 divisional record.

The Chargers played the fourth-seeded Baltimore Ravens in the Wild Card Playoffs and defeated them by a score of 23-17, thereby advancing to the Divisional Playoffs, where they were defeated by the New England Patriots, 28-41.

Being the number one seed, the Chiefs didn’t have to play until the Divisional Playoffs round, where they defeated the Indianapolis Colts, 31-13, but they couldn’t get past the Patriots in the AFC Championship and lost 31-37 in overtime.

What are the odds and predictions of the AFC West in 2019?

Of the four AFC West franchises, the Kansas City Chiefs have the best odds of winning the next Super Bowl (+800), with the only other NFL team having better odds than them being the defending Super Bowl Champion Patriots (+700).

The odds of winning the Super Bowl for the Chargers (+1500) are significantly less, and the same goes even more so for the Broncos (+6600) and the Raiders (+7500).

One of the major keys to winning in the playoffs is getting the number one or two seed so that you’re mostly playing home games, which becomes a huge advantage in January, so expect there to be another battle in the AFC West in 2019 to see who can snag the top postseason seed.

Here’s how the AFC West is predicted to rank during the 2019-20 season, including the odds of who will end up in first place of the division:

4) Oakland Raiders

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New (since December of 2018) general manager Mike Mayock and second-year head coach Jon Gruden are treating their Raiders like a work in progress, spending the entire offseason trying to reboot their franchise before the big move to Las Vegas happens next year (hopefully).

The two basically went out and got all new playmakers, signing arguably one of the top receivers in the league, Antonio Brown, along with starting receivers Tyrell Williams, Ryan Grant and J.J. Nelson, plus tight end Luke Wilson and Alabama running back Josh Jacobs, who they drafted in the first round.

And they didn’t stop there – on defense they signed linebackers Vontaze Burfict and Brandon Marshall, plus safety Lamarcus Joyner and cornerback Nevin Lawson on top of drafting Mississippi State safety Johnathan Abram in the first round.

In other words, Mayock and Gruden are counting on a pretty much a brand new roster to get the 2019 job done, and it’s anyone’s guess as to how all those new faces will come together this season, but the odds makers are guessing it won’t be as pretty as expected.

For more details, please check out our earlier coverage:  The Oakland Raiders’ Biggest Offseason Moves 2019 – Odds and Predictions

3) Denver Broncos

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This offseason, Denver Broncos general manager John Elway called the audible and fired his head coach, both coordinators and his quarterback and then totally restocked the shelves with what he considers better talent.

As head coach, he hired Vic Fangio, the defensive guru who oversaw the third ranked Chicago Bears defense last season, who made it clear he would be coordinating the defense and calling all the defensive plays, and then Rich Scangarello was hired to coordinate the offense after spending last season as the quarterback coach of the San Francisco 49ers.

Under center, Elway is taking a chance on a former Super Bowl MVP Joe Flacco, whose welcome in Baltimore was officially overstayed, the thought being that Flacco, whose arm is still dynamite, could rediscover his ability to win games given a completely new environment, though that same plan didn’t work so well last season with Case Keenum.

With playmakers like All-Rookie running back Phillip Lindsay, Pro Bowl wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders and first round selection tight end Noah Fant in the Denver Flacco house, it wouldn’t surprise anyone if they actually won a few more games this season.

For more details, please check out our earlier coverage: The Denver Broncos’ Biggest Offseason Moves 2019 – Odds and Predictions

2) Los Angeles Chargers

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From the looks of the Los Angeles Chargers’ sparse offseason moves, general manager Tom Telseco seems content with his current roster, and why not since it includes potential Hall of Fame quarterback Philip Rivers, 2x Pro Bowl running back Melvin Gordon and 2x Pro Bowl wide receiver Keenan Allen.

Tough when your team goes 12-4 and has to settle for a Wild Card spot in the playoffs, but that’s the reality the Bolts face sharing a division with Andy Reid’s Kansas City Chiefs, who are currently the boss of that house until the Chargers figure out a way to be even better.

The one big offseason move that Telseco did make in an effort to improve on their ninth ranked defense was to spend his first draft pick selecting a pass rushing partner for current defensive ends Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram, a defensive tackle named Jerry Tillery from Notre Dame who is expected to be an immediate starter.

Looks like Chargers fans can expect more of the same, and that’s a good thing, especially if Rivers can figure out a way to finally get his franchise past the Chiefs and Patriots to the Big Game for the first time in his fifteen-year NFL career. 

For more details, please check out our earlier coverage: The Los Angeles Chargers’ Biggest Offseason Moves 2019 – Odds and Predictions

1) Kansas City Chiefs

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For one hot moment it looked like the Kansas City Chiefs were going to have to play the 2019-20 season without the league’s fastest and fourth most productive receiver Tyreek Hill, whose alleged unacceptable off field behavior just about cost him his livelihood until it was announced that the case was dropped.

That drama aside, the Chiefs, with third-year quarterback and last season’s league MVP Patrick Mahomes under center and receivers Hill and Sammy Watkins and All Pro Tight end Travis Kelce as his targets, are once again expected to win the AFC West outright, which can’t surprise anyone who watched them come within an overtime loss of going to last year’s Super Bowl.

General manager Brett Veach also helped coach Andy Reid’s chances by improving the Chiefs’ 31st ranked defense by trading for some veteran line help (ends Emmanuel Ogbah and Frank Clark) and some secondary help (safety Tyrann Mathieu).

It’s no secret the football world expects these Chiefs to be every bit as good as they were last season, and it’s a solid bet that Andy Reid, Patrick Mahomes and company won’t be letting anybody down in 2019. 

For more details, please check out our earlier coverage: The Kansas City Chiefs’ Biggest Offseason Moves And 2019 Odds And Predictions

NFL 2020 Championship Winning Division

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DraftKingsAFC East+550
DraftKingsNFC South+550
DraftKingsNFC West+575
DraftKingsAFC North+625
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DraftKingsNFC East+650
DraftKingsAFC South+675

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