Absolutely Way-Too-Early 2019 NFL Predictions: AFC West
Obtaining veteran QB Joe Flacco from the Baltimore Ravens. Having a new quarterback to start the 2019 season should have been the #1 goal in Denver due to the lack of skill at the position. Last season, QB Case Keenum proved that he was not good enough to be a starter in the NFL, but rather an average backup. Also, the Broncos still have one of the better defenses in the league with LB Von Miller leading the pack. Finally, undrafted rookie RB Phillip Lindsay was one of their best players the whole season, and even became the first undrafted rookie to play in the Pro Bowl. Denver did show glimpses of brilliance during the season, and their fans hope to see those glimpses more often later this year.
Weapons for Flacco to utilize. They do have WR Emmanuel Sanders, but that is the only notable player. Keenum at times had no one to pass to, which was his fault and also his receivers for not getting open. The play-action near the end of the season wasn't working because either the RB would run the ball, or it would be a screen pass and would go to them anyway. Finally, the addition HC Vic Fangio will add a layer of maturity and experience with Flacco and Miller that can allow this team to make the playoffs next season.
Kansas City Chiefs
QB Patrick Mahomes. The kid was a beast in 2018, having over 50 touchdowns his first year starting and won MVP over likely candidate Saints QB Drew Brees. His weapons were unreal, with TE Travis Kelce having a career year and WR Tyreek Hill having spectacular games. Now Cleveland Browns RB Kareem Hunt played well for them until he released due to the disturbing video of him hitting and kicking a women came out to the public. The coaching staff was great until the AFC Championship...
Defense. They were possibly one of the worst defenses in the league, which was hidden most of the time due to them being able to outscore their opponents. Kansas City's inability to play defense was the reason they didn't make the Super Bowl. Also, I am worried that other teams in the league will start to figure out Mahomes and his value will decline. Also, when Hunt was released they were unable to replicate the running game to the quality with him. Maybe drafting a back in the middle rounds could help that part of the offense recover.
Los Angeles Chargers
Experience. Having an older player like QB Philip Rivers on your roster can help the morale and the ability to bounce back substantially. They had a fantastic team this season, and would have won in any other division in the AFC. The strength of their roster is unbelievable with players like DE Joey Bosa, RB Melvin Gordon, and WR Keenan Allen. It was unfortunate that they had to face New England in the Divisional Round, but should have played better with the conditions of the game.
Keeping everyone together. This organization has fantastic momentum coming into next season, and if they play their cards right can be on top of this division. If I had one complaint about them, it has to be the OL inconsistency which was a factor in their loss to the Patriots. Maybe drafting an offensive tackle like Andre Dillard from Washington State can bolster the line and give more gaps for Gordon.
Cap Space and draft picks. It is hard to find positives from the last team, with aspects of the team I will talk about later. With trading away OLB Khalil Mack and WR Amari Cooper during 2018 and not signing any huge players to huge contracts, they have plenty of money to pass around. For the NFL Draft, Oakland has three picks (#4, #24 (from Chicago), and #27 (from Dallas)) to expand on their young team and really have to pray that at least one of them works. Is there a chance that Oakland pick up QB Kyler Murray?
Everything else that is connected with the Raiders organization. Can I even say the Oakland Raiders even more? I feel that I am calling them the wrong team when I say the Oakland Raiders because right now they are just the Raiders. They have no home for the 2019 season with a disagreement with Oakland not letting them stay for their final season before they move to Las Vegas next season. QB Derek Carr has fallen out of the franchise role in my opinion, and HC Jon Gruden is losing faith with the fans. This coming season could be a year to remember, for the wrong reasons.
1. Los Angeles Chargers
2. Kansas City Chiefs
3. Denver Broncos
4. Oakland Raiders
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