The bad news for the Broncos, Raiders and Chiefs: They get molested by the San Diego Chargers twice each.
The good news for the Broncos, Raiders and Chiefs: They get to play each other twice each as well!
This could be far and away the biggest winning margin in the NFL this year. The "Over/unders" at Sportingbet reflect this but not by nearly enough for me!
San Diego 10.5 (Take the Over)
Raiders 6.5 (Push..)
Broncos 7.5 (The Under)
Chiefs 6 (The Under)
Anyway, lets have a look at the teams in this division in a bit more depth.
Last season finished 11-5 despite a dire start to proceedings. Rattled off wins in their last 6 games and finished with a nice points differential of +128. Play to one of the most simple time-tested gameplans of moving the ball on the ground and playing tight defence. In that mix is third year quarterback Phil Rivers who has demonstrated some real skills growth in the last year. The key personnel move was the NFL's best second string running back Michael Turner moving to Atlanta for a starting role.
12+ wins and a trip to the playoffs seem a given. Their season really begins in earnest when it comes time to overcome a team of the caliber of Jacksonville, New England or Indianapolis.
When you scour the transactions list of a team that finished 7-9 and featured some appalling defence - finding that your biggest upheaval was on offence is puzzling.
Releasing Javon Walker and Travis Henry and replacing them with the defrosted corpses of Darrell Jackson and Michael Pittman seems a bit like polishing a turd.
Darrell Jackson and Michael Pittman take a break from their offseason workouts to play some chequers!
The biggest move might have been the pickup via trade of Defensive Tackle DeWayne Robertson. Robertson is a big mobile DT that could help shore up the defence, though probably not by enough.
The man who feels like he was responsible for game winners in all 7 Bronco games last year, Jason Elam moves on to the Falcons.
5 to 6 wins seems a little optimistic here. This is a team that needed to rebuild and ended up in stopgap mode.
2008's big improvers. 4-12 in 2007/08 and could be in line for a far better year.
The biggest growth will come on offense, Last years number one draft pick, JaMarcus Russell is a beast at QB who will take this years opening snap. Javon Walker will give him a realistic receiving threat and this years first rounder Darren McFadden will offer explosiveness out of the backfield.
The defensive numbers from last year LOOK weak. But this is a decent defensive unit. Most of the issue was the inordinate amount of time that this group spent on the field due to the NFL's worst offense. Ever???
Fortunately for Raiders fans, this year won't feature as much of this if you are watching NFL gameday.
|Oakland Raiders at 01:25|
|1-10-OAK 46||(1:25) (Shotgun) 12-J.McCown pass incomplete short left to 84-J.Porter.|
|2-10-OAK 46||(1:20) 33-D.Rhodes left tackle to IND 47 for 7 yards (96-K.Dawson).|
|3-3-IND 47||(:56) (Shotgun) 12-J.McCown pass incomplete short right to 33-D.Rhodes.|
|4-3-IND 47||(:51) 9-S.Lechler punts 42 yards to IND 5, Center-59-J.Condo, fair catch by 34-T.Rushing|
The results may take a while to come but the offense looks set for years. 6-7 wins.
Kansas City Chiefs:
Smart teams don't give out their richest ever contract to a guy after a year where they give him 457 fucking carries.
This is why they suck this year and probably for the next three.
That is all.
Take the under.