2012 NFL Season Previews: AFC West
With the NFL season only a month away, training camps have opened as teams prepare to line up for their pre-season games. As part of that, William Hill will be previewing all eight divisions, round off the AFC with the West.
Peyton Manning is in town, and Denver is in Super Bowl contention again! Of course, he needs to stay healthy, which is dependent on the much overrated offensive line. If they keep him upright, he needs to rely on some average weapons out wide to make plays whilst the veteran runner Willis McGahee is given the starting RB job, only to be replaced by rookie Ronnie Hillman by week 6.
Of course, Denver isn't that bad, but the potential suspension (not to mention custodial sentence) of star defensive lineman Elvis Dumervil will limit the pass rush production of Vonn Miller, meaning that the Broncos are not all they are cracked up to being this season.
Prediction: 8 wins 3rd in AFC West
You can find the money line for their Week 1 matchup against the Pittsburgh Steelers here.
Kansas City Chiefs
After an enthralling free-agency period, some would argue that the Chiefs have made some serious upgrades throughout their depth chart, and that new head coach Romeo Crennel has set the team up for a solid comeback in 2012. Well, that isn't the whole story. It may not be new players that the Chiefs are thankful for, but the return of Jamaal Charles, Eric Berry, and Tony Moeaki will be huge for KC after they each missed the full 2011 season.
Drafting of defensive monster Dontari Poe looked like a smart move for KC, however his lack of production in camp is a worry, and although the roster is improved, the Chiefs may not be quite as great as some expect.
Prediction: 9 wins 2nd in AFC West
You can see the AFC West Winner market here.
In their first full season since the passing of legendary owner Al Davis, Oakland faces a fresh start. New head coach Dennis Allen faces a massive task in making the Raiders stand out, having lost a big chunk of talent in free agency due to cap restrictions. It's not an awful roster at all, but the lack of standout talent is a big sign that the Raiders may struggle in 2012.
After trading away their left hip for Carson Palmer, it is up to the QB to begin a new era in Oakland whilst carrying the team on his shoulders. Whiter or not he is up to it is yet to be seen.
Prediction: 6 wins 4th in AFC West
You can find the Oakland Raiders over/under number of wins market here.
San Diego Chargers
For years, the Chargers have been a team that has flirted with greatness, but missed out due to a poor end to the season. Phillip Rivers has been one of the single most impressive QBs in the league over the past 3 years, whilst his offense has often produced when really needed. Young RB Ryan Matthews is expected to have a big 2012 in terms of stats, and with Norv Turner at the helm, he will certainly be given an opportunity to do so.
It is never difficult to predict success for San Diego because of the attitude of the franchise. However when tragedy struck the team in May when former LB Junior Seau committed suicide, a camaraderie formed. It can be expected that this season, San Diego impress.
Prediction: 11 wins, 1st in AFC West
You can find the AFC Conference Winner market here.