Breaking Down the 2012 AFC West

AFC West 2012 Preview Denver Broncos Denver made the
biggest splash off the offseason by signing free agent quarterback Peyton
Manning. Manning coming off four neck surgeries is expected to make the Broncos
a serious threat not only to win the AFC West but make it to the Super Bowl.
Running back Willis McGahee rushed for 1,199 yards and had five touchdowns. Wide
receivers DeMaryius Thomas and Eric Decker have big time potential. Thomas
averaged 17.2 yards a catch and Decker had 44 catches and 8 touchdowns. The
Bronco offense line had problems protecting the quarterback in 2011 they gave up
42 sacks. The Bronco defense put heat on opposing quarterbacks in 2011 they had
41 sacks. Linebacker Von Miller had 11 ½.

Manning if he can stay healthy will
help the Broncos improve on their 8-8 record last season. He will make the
offensive line better in pass protection because of his quick release. Also
Decker and Thomas will be better because of Manning’s accuracy. The defense has
to improve a little on their run defense but there is no doubt they can rush the
passer. The Broncos will improve on their record from last season and be the
favorite in the AFC West.

Kansas City Chiefs Injuries doomed the 2011 season for
the Chiefs. Running back Jamaal Charles and Safety Eric Berry suffered season
ending knee injuries last season. Quarterback Matt Cassell broke his hand and
missed the final seven games. Coach Todd Haley was replaced during the season by
former Cleveland coach Romeo Crennel, and the Chiefs responded. Despite all of
the crucial injuries the Chiefs were in the playoff race in the final weeks of
the season. The defense despite the lack of offense finished 11th in the NFL.
The Chiefs will bounce back in 2012. They get back Cassell, Berry, and Charles
and they also added running back Peyton Hillis and wide receiver Steve Breaston.
On defense they acquired corner back Stanford Routt from the Oakland Raiders.
Kansas City has the talent to win this division in 2012. The players respect
Crennel and that will go a long way toward their success.

San Diego Chargers – The Chargers once again underachieved in 2011. San Diego finished 8-8 in 2011 after many experts predicted that they would win the division. The Charger defense
could not get off the field time after time they could not stop teams on third
down. They had problems rushing the passer in 2011. Late in the season
quarterback Phillip Rivers began throwing interceptions. He had 20 on the
season. Tight end Antonio Gates had 64 catches and 7 touchdowns. Ryan Matthews
rushed for 1,091 yards. The talent is still there for the Chargers to win in
2012. Running back Ryan Matthews broke his collarbone in training camp a slow
start from him will hurt. If San Diego can pressure the quarterback especially
on third down and Rivers can cut down on his interceptions San Diego can stay
close to both Kansas City and Denver in the AFC West.

Oakland Raiders– The
Raiders were in first place in the AFC West in December but a 1-4 finish doomed
Oakland to an 8-8 record and missing the playoffs by one game. Coach Hue Jackson
was replaced by Dennis Allen after the season. Oakland traded for former
Cincinnati quarterback Carson Palmer and he struggled down the stretch he had 13
touchdown passes and 16 interceptions. Running back Darren McFadden had another
injury plagued season. The defense finished 29th in the NFL and the Raiders were
porous versus the run giving up 5.1 yards a carry. Carson Palmer will put up
better numbers in 2012 because he will become familiar with his receivers.
Darren McFadden will have to stay healthy. The big key for Oakland will be the
defense; the Raiders have to shore up the run defense. There are too many holes
on the Raiders to compete with the rest of the AFC West. They will finish last.

Written by TJ Pemberton of

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