Denver Broncos – The Broncos have kind of slid backwards ever since they got smoked by Seattle way back (2013?) and they changed regimes (kind of as the Elway regime continues) and now it’s Kubiak’s way. The Broncs have brought in a staff of people who either all played, coached or assisted with Denver at one time or another. Kubiak is putting in his standard run first offense, which could allow Peyton to last a little longer if it isn’t all on him. This team will be all about Manning and the offense. They have a shot of good D potential and their special teams are ok. They have some issues at O line, Demaryius Thomas isn’t happy to have been franchised, and they have a new TE now who won’t catch 100 plus passes this year. The team should have a strong pass rush and good D line presence and good secondary. If everything went perfectly the Broncos could be 14-2 and home field throughout. If the new offense doesn’t click and Peyton is still old then 10-6 is not out of the question. I think the end result is likely 12-4 and a division title.
Kansas City Chiefs – The Chiefs didn’t have a TD from a WR last year but I think Maclin will get at least a few this year. Alex Smith is durable and consistent but not flashy. Charles is the star of this team. Kelce could be huge at TE if he can stay healthy. The O line has major, major issues. The D has a few stars and some solid contributors and will keep this team in most games. The Schedule starts out a bit harsh and this team could lose their first 3 and not be really their fault. If the Chiefs O is on point with a good D this team could win 11 and sneak one of the precious wild card spots. If the O line allows close to 50 sacks again and there are health issues then they might win only 9. I think 10-6 and the chance at the post season will most likely come down to who wins the game against Buffalo.
San Diego Chargers – The Chargers have been close for 5 years and they will be close again. They also are close to moving to LA and that may yet come too if San Diego won’t pony up some interest in replacing old Qualcomm. They inked Rivers to a huge extension, keeping their Vet QB around long past his viability. The draft of Gordon gives them a great up at RB, Gates suspended 4 games may yet be able to get some production in the other 12 games. Their top 5 WR do not scare anyone. The O line is ok. The D needs to find a consistent pass rush and their secondary needs to be felt each day. The Special teams needs to get better on kick returns. The schedule is a mirror of last year when SD did great early and terrible after bye. If the Chargers are to succeed they have to beat KC and Denver and if they do then they could be 11-5. If Oakland improves too quick SD might be 7-9. This year I see a decent 6-3 and all sorts of hopes for the post season and then a hard post bye sked will send them 3-4 and they go 9-7 and out of the playoffs again.
Oakland Raiders – The Raiders have been a long time down and on the positive things are finally looking up. I don’t see then reaching the promised land before 2016 as this is a work in progress. They have a great new coach in Del Rio and a GM who has a plan and an owner who is letting the plan work. They have a great young triplet group with Carr, Murray and Cooper. These three will eventually put up numbers ala Aikman/Smith/Irvin. The added a solid TE in the draft. They really need the O line to improve and that may be the flaw in the offense growth this year. The D is led by Khalil Mack the superstar LB. They need to generate a pass rush to match their good rush D. That rush will aid the aged parts and untested parts of their secondary. The Raiders need to add Oline and secondary next year in Free Agency and the draft. This year they will be fun to watch and the Silver and Black will look good at times. The schedule isn’t bad but this team has holes that can be picked on the NFL elite teams. If they do everything right and get some miracle performances they could be 10-6. If the secondary is bad they might be 6-10. I think they will be a tough to play 7-9 and watch them in 2016.
There it is, as always I enjoy every thought, comment, argument or agreement.
MR N the BEARS Fan