Can anyone challenge the Broncos for glory in AFC West?
The AFC West is Denver’s and will be as long as he suits up in the orange and blue.
If you’re placing your risk free bet on any of the markets we’ve covered thus far, we reckon it couldn’t be more wiseley spent on backing the Broncos for glory this campaign.
They should win it, and if they don;t you’ll still get your money back in the event they stumble! Join as a new customer below to avail of this great offer!
San Diego and Kansas City each made the playoffs in 2013, so this division offers plenty of competition and excitement.
The Broncos put up an offense for the ages in 2013 only to be dismantled on a world audience against Seattle in the Super Bowl.
This season they look to avoid the hangover and instead go all-in on defense, adding defensive players Demarcus Ware, Aqib Talib, and T.J Ward. Manning the Elder, the reigning MVP gets a new toy in Emmanuel Sanders.
On offense in 2014, the Denver Broncos will look to pick up right where they left off replacing Knowshon Moreno with Montee Ball and utilizing Sanders more to make up for the recently suspended, and aging, Wes Welker.
Tight end Julius Thomas play basketball on grass all season and will be scoring plenty this year-as will the nightmare for defensive backs known as Demaryius Thomas. The Broncos, with Ball’s physical style of running, may opt to run the ball more. Good thing franchise left tackle Ryan Clady is back, after missing last year with injury.
On defense, the Broncos seemingly have an embarrassment of riches; the Von Miller of 2012 could return and make this outfit truly problematic. While Peyton Manning’s machine-like ability to put up points keeps these guys on the field plenty, they were difficult to run against.
T.J Ward is a definite upgrade at safety and Talib shut down Jimmy Graham in the regular season as a member of the New England Patriots. Their linebackers will suffer slightly with the loss of Danny Trevathan.
Overall: This team is about as sure of a bet as there is in a weak AFC. Their divisional rivals don’t offer much resistance, either. 12 wins should be just a formality. They can’t beat Seattle, though.
The BetBright Verdict
13-3 (1st in the AF C West) – We have them priced as the overall favourites for the AFC conference at 21/10 in the betting.
Broncos’ opening game: Indianapolis Colts vs Denver Broncos at 1:30am on Sunday September 7th at Sports Authority Field at Mile High.
Kansas City Chiefs
Early on in the season last year, the Chiefs looked unstoppable as they were a scoring juggernaut on defense, Jamaal Charles was as advertised and quarterback Alex Smith played mistake-free football.
As the season went on, chinks in the defense began to show and Kansas City led a huge playoff lead melt away in a 45-44 loss to Indianapolis in the Wild Card game. There were many positives in 2013, to think this team will continue to be the main divisional threat to the Denver Broncos, if not a threat to the whole AFC.
On offense, this team is about as one-sided as it gets. Andy Reid came over from Philadelphia last year as a West Coast passing game guru, and he must have more tricks up his sleeve. The Chiefs are going into this season with receivers Dwayne Bowe, Donnie Avery and a few very unfamiliar names. Gone is WR/RB Dexter McCluster.
There is a chance second-year tight end Travis Kelce turns into a dynamic tight end, which could really benefit this offense which relies too much on the awesomeness that is running back Jamaal Charles.
On defense this team’s 3-4 linebackers may be the finest the league has to offer. Tamba Hali, Derrick Johnson and Justin Houston are extremely athletic and savvy players who cover, pass rush and run plug wit the best of them. They are given that latitude to wreak havoc because mammoth defensive tackle Dontari Poe has blossomed into an athletic space-eater himself.
The secondary however remains a concern; besides Eric Berry they were all exposed in the playoff game against the Colts last year. Kansas City will try to mask their inadequacies with their dynamic pass rush. It worked really well last year…until it didn’t. Elite passers will give this team trouble.
Overall: This team can still make the playoffs in the AFC but a regression is expected. If playmakers can emerge on offense to take some heat off of Jamaal Charles and the secondary can get figured out, another 10-win season is possible.
The BetBright Verdict
9-7 (2nd in the AFC West – We have them priced as eighth favourites in the betting for the AFC conference at 16/1.
Chiefs’ opening game: Tennessee Titans at Kansas City Chiefs at 6pm on Sunday September 7th at Arrowhead Stadium.
San Diego Chargers
The Chargers earned a lot of respect in the league in 2013, after going toe-to-toe with the Broncos not once but twice during the season and knocking off the Bengals in the playoffs.
Coach Mike McCoy was able to get the running game rejuvenated and wide receiver Keenan Allen was a godsend. Still, the questions on defense remain.
On offense, quarterback Philip Rivers has a lot of ways to make secondaries uncomfortable. Even so, they are a running, ball control offense that can also pass for intermediate gains consistently and effectively. One of the biggest additions last year was their mammoth tackle from Alabama, D.J. Fluker. He helped running back Ryan Mathews run for over 1,200 yards.
The Chargers also added Donald Brown this year to join the aptly-named Danny Woodhead. The Bolts have a great receiving core led by rookie Allen, who caught 1,000 yards worth of passes, Malcom Floyd (if healthy), Antonio Gates and sleeper tight end Ladarius Green.
On last year’s defense it sometimes is a mystery how San Diego stopped teams. The Chargers didn’t sack the quarterback or cover well in 2013.
To upgrade a perennially lacking cornerback corps, they signed Brandon Flowers to replace Derek Cox. Eric Weddle is as good as it gets at safety in the NFL. The pass rush will rely on Dwight Freeney, Melvin Ingram but need contributions from other guys like Corey Liuget and Kendall Reyes—two relatively high draft picks.
This team can still match up in the division due to the opposition not having real deep receiving threats—except for Denver, of course.
Overall: The Chargers will still be a middling bunch; beat some teams they’re not supposed to and probably lose some head-scratchers. Hopefully the departure of offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt won’t cause them to be too reliant on the passing game.
The BetBright Verdict
8-8 (3rd in the AFC West) – We have them priced as seventh favourites in the betting for the AFC conference at 14/1.
Chargers’ opening game: Arizona Cardinals vs San Diego Chargers at 3:20am on Tuesday September 9th at University of Phoenix Stadium.
The Raiders went through another abysmal season in 2013, going 4-12, which caused a huge amount of change on both sides of the ball.
They added a lot of veterans and confusingly let some young established players go. There’s hope in the form of rookie quarterback Derek Carr, who has recently been anointed the starter after veteran Matt Schaub’s horrendous preseason.
Time will tell what we have out of this Raiders squad who do have more pieces on offense than in recent memory.
But there are still question marks.. On offense, the Raiders jettisoned running back Rashad Jennings, arguably their most productive player on that side of the ball in favor of veteran Maurice Jones-Drew, the former Jaguar.
There is hope he can run reenergized behind an offensive line (added left tackle Donald Penn and Austin Howard) that looks decent, but curiously let Jared Veldheer go. Darren McFadden will back him up. Fullback Marcel Reese maintains his Swiss-army-knife skill set.
Carr has some legitimate wide receiver options; James Jones came over from the Packers to join an in-house trio that has some potential in Rod Streater, Andre Holmes and Denarius Moore. Tight end Mychal Rivera has shown flashes of being a poor man’s Jason Witten.
On defense the 3-4 scheming Raiders mysteriously let defensive end Lamarr Houston walk. To shore up the defensive line they singed Justin Tuck, LaMarr Woodley and Antonio Smith. They did as they should have on draft day taking Buffalo linebacker Khalil Mack. He’s perfect for what they want to do on defense.
Charles Woodson is still around and they added Carlos Rogers to shore up the cornerback position.
Overall, the Raiders added some veteran talent they probably overpaid for. If half of the signings work, they could be a much team but still behind in the win-loss column. Carr could make it interesting.
The BetBright Verdict
4-12 (4th in the AFC West) – We have them priced as fifteenth favourites in the betting for the AFC conference at 80/1.
Raiders’ opening game: Oakland Raiders vs New York Jets at 6pm on Sunday September 7th at MetLife Stadium.
Join us in the final installment of our full NFL season preview, we turn our focus to the remaining American Football Conference division, the AFC East.