The AFC West will be far from wild in 2010 but Al Dannity expects to see some interesting moves over the course of the season.
Chargers should cruise The upheaval and rebuilding amongst its rivals means San Diego should once again dominate the AFC West. There are certainly questions that need to be answered before taking them to the bank in NFL betting but I can’t see these issues costing the Chargers the divisional crown. The key issue question is how San Diego will manage the dysfunctional and unhappy Vincent Jackson. The wide receiver is undoubtedly a key weapon for Philip Rivers but even if he under-performs I don’t see it costing San Diego the top spot in the AFC West. This is a fresher looking San Diego team than the unit of recent years. In a division where 9 wins might be enough to finish first, the Chargers should have little trouble taking the top spot.
Battle for position The Broncos, Chiefs, and Raiders all made substantial moves this off-season. Denver moved the troublesome but talented Brandon Marshall out of town and brought in quarterback Tim Tebow through the draft. Tebow is far from the finished article for the NFL so expect this project to take some time. Kansas City continued its focus on building through the draft while developing its off-field personnel. The Chiefs have some of the pieces needed to contend but are still lacking in several areas. Finally the Raiders made great strides in a bid to improve the stability of the franchise. Sticking with Tom Cable, cutting JaMarcus Russell, and making sensible moves through the draft all point to an improving situation in Oakland.
The final shake-up While the Chiefs looked well placed to make a run at the Chargers in 2011, for now nothing will change at the top. Despite the promising future for the Chiefs, the holes they still have will prove costly and I expect them to finish bottom of the division in 2010. Second place won’t be good enough for the playoffs but I expect a heated battle between Denver and Oakland for bragging rights. In the end Denver should record enough early wins to stay clear of the Raiders down the stretch. The battle for scraps may be fascinating but this division will have just one winner. The San Diego Chargers are -400 to win the AFC West with Sports Interaction for a reason. The Bolts are simply a class above everyone else in the division. Bet on San Diego to win the AFC West.