Sunday, September 03, 2006

AFC West Predictions

Denver Broncos
Is Mike Shanahan arrogant to the point of recklessness when it comes to his running game? Is Dick Cheney a lousy shot? Yes and Yes. How else do explain letting Portis and Mike Anderson go, and then telling us that rookie Mike Bell is going to start over veteran Tatum Bell who had 921 yards last year and a freaking 5.3 yards per carry! He's convinced it's his system and with the right type of runner (no-name or not) he can get the production he's looking for. And you know what?, Mr. Freaky eyes may just have something. I mean how can I question the results? It's worked so far. What I don't get is why more teams don't copy the Broncos zone blocking. Anyway, if Jake Plummer has another regular season like he did last year, Denver should cruise to another Division title. Their defense is going to be really good with great linebackers and a solid secondary, so if Mr. Snake can keep the turnovers down like he did last year, the Broncos are going to be good again.

Division Prediction: 1st
Playoff Prediction: They'll make it to the 2nd playoff weekend

San Diego Chargers
Make no mistake about it, the San Diego Chargers are loaded as a team. Look at the players they have with Tomlinson, Gates, Merriman, etc. Had Brees not torn up his shoulder and had they then decided to keep him, I would be probably picking this team for the Super Bowl. But all that didn't happen and being a Drew Brees fan I am of course a little skeptical of the team's chances this year. But you know what, maybe Philip Rivers will be as good as Brees was the past couple of years or even better as they all hope and pray. Maybe he becomes exactly what they need to take it to the next level. He has what Ben Roethlisberger had when he was a first year starting QB and had success; namely a great team around him and a favorable schedule. He would be bucking the odds and that ultimately is the clincher for me. I think he needs another year before he will be able to deliver as needed. The problem with that of course is that the rest of the team is ready now.

Division Prediction: 2nd
Playoff Prediction: maybe next year

Kansas City Chiefs
First of all I don't like Herm Edwards as a coach. Nothing personal but I jut think he sucks. His slimebag exit from the Jets was on par with a Larry Brown move. Not very endearing. I don't think this team will challenge for the playoffs this year. Their defense is suspect, Trent Green is looking worse with each season and with offensive lineman abandoning ship in droves towards retirement (well, ok only two have retired but I tend to exaggerate every now and then. sue me) it's not a given that Larry Johnson will have the same success he had last season. Although I really hope Dante Hall recaptures some of his kick return magic from a couple of seasons ago.

Division Prediction: 3rd
Playoff Prediction: nope

Oakland Raiders
A couple of big problems with this team. First Al Davis is still alive and owns this team. Wait, scratch that. I'm happy Al is still kicking. Seriously. He was a very innovative owner in his time. At least that's the impression I got from a Sportcentury documentary I watched on ESPN this summer. He was a maverick, an out of the box thinker, a pretty cool guy. But now he's like 150 (sorry exaggerating again) and somebody more in tune with the times should be running this team. The other problem is the infamous Aaron Brooks. He giveth and he taketh away. I'm betting Randy Moss blows up over a lack of balls coming his way or over his head, or into the other team's arms, etc. Raider fans prepare. I like Lamont Jordan but he's got to average over 4 yards a carry this year for the Raiders to stick with him. With a defense that has some speed but lots of inexperience they are going to struggle against decent offenses. I feel bad for Art Shell. He's a good guy and actually did a good job coaching the Raiders in his last stint, but this season is going to give him ulcers. He may kick it before Al.

Division Prediction: last
Playoff Prediction: not for a while

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