Thursday, September 9, 2010

AFC West

San Diego Chargers
rookie stud-in-the-making Ryan Matthews
I don't see a bigger sure thing as far as Division winners go in the entire NFL than the SuperChargers...now I am no fan of Head Coach Norv Turner, but the talent in San Diego is top notch...the team loses the face of the franchise in LaDainian Tomlinson, but Chargers fans are about to have a new fav in rookie RB Ryan Matthews...real deal talent...real deal upside...Matthews will start as a rookie, and to have a back-up RB like Darren Sproles as Plan B is pretty good

The passing game was Top 5 in 2009, but they lose Vincent Jackson (Jackson is a hold-out who is looking like he will be traded or sit out 2010) and his back-to-back 1,000+ yard seasons...that leaves 6'2'' Legedu Naanee and 6'5'' Malcolm Floyd as the starters, with 6'1'' Buster Davis and newly acquired 6 foot Patrick Crayton...a lot of size and talent there, but losing Jackson will hurt as he was awesome last season...one thing remains constant which is TE Antonio Gates who continues to be a Top 3 TE

The 2009 D had injuries, but was still pretty good...a return to health for studs like Shawne Merriman should of course provide quite the boost...a lot of talent at LB for this 3-4 D...in the Secondary Antoine Cason replaces the traded Antonio Cromartie...this Secondary does not create enough turnovers in my opinion

PREDICTION...the Chargers are the best team in the AFC that will never win a Super Bowl as they have a bad Head Coach (Dallas is the NFC equivalent with Wade Phillips)...a weak Division will help this team get to 11 wins

Oakland Raiders
Jokeland is still run by Skeletor aka Al Davis and he continues to be the #1 thing wrong with the franchise...Tom Cable is likely the worst Head Coach in the NFL, and he would not be in charge of the on-field product in any other NFL city, but when your meddling owner is the joke that Davis is no legit NFL coaches will entertain the career-suicide move of going to Jokeland...

QB Jason Campbell will try to revive his career
Hard to have a more futile offense than the Raiders had in 2009, but gone is the brutal QB JaMarcus Russell...in is under-achiever Jason Campbell...I think the jury may still be out on Campbell...his time in Washington was very underwhelming, but he seems to have the talent to be an NFL QB and sometimes a change of scenery is the cure for what ails you...

The running game is in need of major improvements...will this team get Michael Bush back from injury any time soon? Will RUN DMC aka Darren McFadden be able to reach his potential?

The passing game needs WR Darrius Heyward-Bey to greatly improve from his rookie season of '09...he started 11 games, but only had 9 catches and 1 TD...other targets for Campbell are TE Zach Miller - WR Johnnie Lee Higgins - WR Louis Murphy - rookie WR Jacoby Ford...very young, but not a lot of talent there

On D the team added a stud-in-the-making with the #8 overall pick LB Rolando McClain...he will get plenty of playing time and could be a beast for this franchise for years to come...in the Secondary Nnamdi Asomugha is a Top 3 CB...after that the cupboard is bare

PREDICTION...2009 was a 5-11 finish...since 2003 that ties for their best record (yikes)...that is 7 straight seasons of at least 11 losses...2010 will be year 8 of the ridiculous futility...5-11 again this season

Denver Broncos
this fan is amongst the growing majority
Head Coach Josh McDaniels is starting to redefine the whole "my way or the highway"...this guy is a sharp-shooter on the roof picking off anyone who looks at him cross eyed...it doesn't matter to him if you are a talent like Jay Cutler or Brandon Marshall, or even a Coordinator like Mike Nolan, if you are not willing to follow his ideas/strategy (his completely unproven ideas/strategy) then away you go...

2010 begins with a lot of injuries on both sides of the ball...on O rookie WR Demaryius Thomas is out...on D the loss of Elvis Dumervil is crippling

On O we know the story is how much playing time will rookie QB Tim Tebow get...I am not a fan of his ability to be a drop-back QB in the League, but perhaps in a specialty formation he can contribute...the good news is that QB Kyle Orton is 29-19 as a starting QB in the League...RB Knowshon Moreno is also down with injury leaving veteran Correll Buckhalter and Lance Ball as the ball carriers...hey good luck with that...

The D was Top 3 vs the pass in 2009...now a lot of that success came from the amazing season Elvis Dumervil had as far as the pressure he applied to opposing QB's...that is set to take several steps back as Elvis has left the building

PREDICTION...I will enjoy watching this team struggle and enjoy the backlash for McDaniels who has severely screwed up this franchise...4-12 with 5-11 as their upside

Kansas City Chiefs
The 2009 Chiefs were 4-12...I think that they will be the NFL's most improved team in 2010...

2nd year Head Coach Todd Haley adds Offensive Coordinator Charlie Weis and Defensive Coordinator Romeo Crennel...both are BIG moves and both will have those units headed in the right direction

real deal RB Jamaal Charles
The team also added talent like RB Thomas Jones and rookie WR Dexter McCluster...that should help Matt Cassel rebound from a poor 2009 season...the main focus will continue to be RB Jamaal Charles whose workload will be shared with Jones and the 2 of them could be a very strong thunder/lightning combo

The D has a lot of young talent and Crennel is the coach to develop them...guys like Glenn Dorsey, Tyson Jackson, and rookie Safety Eric Berry have a ton of talent, but do need to develop at this level...add rookie CB Javier Arenas to that list...he will not be a starter like those other guys, but he has upside too

PREDICTION...this team should get to 7 wins...I like this team going forward

check the other Division previews too... craig.ballard@hotmail.com