The Kansas City Chiefs have won the AFC West four years running, the second-longest active division championship streak in the NFL.
The Chiefs are the biggest favourites in the league to win their division again in 2020 at -500 on the NFL odds. Although, Patrick Mahomes & Co. have a much bigger goal in their mind: Becoming the first team to repeat as Super Bowl champion since 2004.
The AFC West has only been won by Kansas City and Denver since 2010. The Broncos (+900) are definitely a team on the rise under second-year quarterback Drew Lock. The Los Angeles Chargers (+728) start life without Philip Rivers, who had been the team’s starting QB since 2006, while the Raiders (+1000) are now based in Las Vegas instead of Oakland.
An argument could be made that the AFC West is the deepest division in the NFL.
AFC West NFL Preview
Frankly, the Chiefs (11.5 wins at Sports Interaction) probably will be AFC West favourites for the next decade or so as long as Mahomes – the favourite to win a second MVP in three years – stays healthy. He’s that good, and Kansas City could start a run of division dominance like Tom Brady had with New England from 2001-2019.
That said, the Chiefs are far from invincible. They last four starters off last year’s team, including running back Damien Williams and offensive lineman and Quebec native Laurent Duvernay-Tardif to opt outs. Starting cornerback Bashaud Breeland is suspended the first four games. Perhaps the team could have gone out and found a better backup to Mahomes than 36-year-old journeyman Matt Moore?
Few teams had a better offseason on paper than the Broncos (7.5 wins), who loaded up on offence to support Lock. The 2019 second-round pick from Missouri missed a large chunk of last season on injured reserve but led the Broncos to four wins in five starts to close the year. Now he has running back Melvin Gordon and good-looking rookie receivers Jerry Jeudy and KH Hamler (may miss start of 2020 injured) to help out. The Denver defence should be one of the AFC’s best with Von Miller and Bradley Chubb terrorizing quarterbacks.
The poor Chargers (7.5 wins) can’t catch a break. They had the worst home-field advantage in the league by far the past few seasons playing in a soccer stadium in a Los Angeles suburb. There were usually more fans in the stands rooting for the opponent. The shared SoFi Stadium palace with the Rams is ready for 2020, but there will be no fans allowed due to the coronavirus. The Bolts already have suffered a huge loss on defence with former All-Pro safety Derwin James expected to miss the season. Veteran Tyrod Taylor will open at QB, but it won’t be long before rookie Justin Herbert takes over.
Las Vegas (7.5 wins) also will be playing in a spectacular new stadium this year without fans. Every single ticket had sold out. It’s hard to know what the Raiders are as it seems that Coach Jon Gruden isn’t all that high on quarterback Derek Carr. The Raiders signed free-agent QB Marcus Mariota to push Carr and included language that could pay Mariota like a starter, but he was a bust with the Titans. Las Vegas has some good young talent but is likely a season away – and perhaps a quarterback away – from division contention.
AFC West Odds Tracker
AFC West Predictions
There’s always one major division surprise in the NFL, and we are projecting one here: Broncos first at 10-6 (over win total), Chiefs second at 10-6 via losing tiebreaker (under), Raiders third at 7-9 (under) and Chargers fourth at 6-10 (under).