OK, It’s that time of the year again. In fact it’s way overdue. I’m talking about the NFL divisional breakdowns, starting in the west. If you want to hear my picks along with others, you can check out the podcasts.
Now, without further ado, the AFC West:
San Diego Chargers (10-6): Head Coach Norv Turner is on the hot seat and his team has no excuse for not winning the division. The team brought in former Colt DB Bob Sanders. Darren Sproles bolted for the Big Easy, leaving Ryan Matthews as the main guy in the backfield behind Philip Rivers. Fortunately for the veteran quarterback, TE Antonio Gates returns as the favorite target.
Kansas City Chiefs (7-9): Questions surround Matt Cassel’s ability to be the guy, and this year he’ll have more help with the addition of Dwayne Bowe. This division is slated to take on the NFC North which guarantees tough games against the Packers and Bears. They also will take on tough AFC opponents in the Patriots and Jets. The Chiefs will be lucky to finish with a .500 record.
Oakland Raiders (5-11): First year-head coach Hue Jackson says the team will have to be more physical while also cutting down on penalties. Accomplishing those two tasks will be anything but easy especially since the NFL is flag-throwing happy. The quarterback position is in question as many have doubts about Jason Campbell but behind him will be Darren McFadden and Michael Bush who should be good for at least a win or two. This team swept the division last year but didn’t win. Don’t expect them to do either of those things in 2011.
Denver Broncos (4-12): Only story we’ve heard about the Denver Broncos was that of their quarterback controversy. Tim Tebow’s quality character made him a fan favorite but his play on the field has bumped him back as far as third string behind starter Kyle Orton and Brady Quinn. New head coach John Fox is trying to get younger by drafting former Texas A&M Aggie Von Miller and others. Fox would likely admit this season is a rebuilding one and will be lucky to win six games.
Arizona Cardinals (9-7): The addition of Kevin Kolb will be step up from last year and he’s already worked with wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald. The addition of TE Todd Heap will also prove to be a valuable target for Kolb. Kolb likely won’t be an elite quarterback but he’ll probably be enough to carry his team to nine wins and a divisional title.
St. Louis Rams (8-8): Sam Badford had a great rookie year but he must be cautious of a sophomore slump. He’ll be coached by offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels who also hopes Bradford and Steven Jackson will be able carry the offense on their shoulders but with little to work with, they likely won’t finish with a winning record.
San Francisco 49ers (7-9): The Bears went from one former Chicago Bear player as its head coach to another. First-year coach Jim Harbaugh says he’s not in the Andrew Luck sweepstakes, but that’s hard to believe. Questions surround Alex Smith and whether or not he’ll be the guy for this team. Frank Gore re-signed and will provide solid help in the backfield. However, it won’t be solid enough to help lift his team to a winning record.
Seattle Seahawks (4-12): Why the team let go of Matt Hasselbeck and signed Tavaris Jackson is a mystery to me, especially after Pete Carroll said he wanted the veteran quarterback around for the 2011 season. Former Raiders head coach Tom Cable was here to help beef up the O-Line. Former Texas Longhorn Early Thomas bring youth and talent to the secondary, but this team needs a lot more work than that.