Dec 16, 2012; Oakland, CA, USA; Kansas City Chiefs running back Jamal Charles (25) is tackled by Oakland Raiders safety Tyvon Branch (33), linebacker Omar Gaither (53) and defensive tackle Tommy Kelly (93) at the O.co Coliseum. The Raiders defeated the Chiefs 15-0. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-USA TODAY Sports

The AFC West: It’s On!


The Kansas City Chiefs had a great draft. Unfortunately, they weren’t the only ones selecting players last week. At least two of our divisional rivals also got a lot better.

What does that mean for the AFC West? The past four years of divisional rivalries have been, shall we say, unbalanced, for the Chiefs:

Year

Overall Record

Divisional Record

2012

2-14

0-6

2011

7-9

3-3

2010

10-6

2-4

2009

4-12

2-4

Four Year Total

23-41 (0.359)

7-17 (0.291)

The road to the Super Bowl always begins within the division. If you can dominate your division – three-eighths of your total games – then you increase your chances for home field advantage throughout the playoffs. The Chiefs have done exactly the opposite over the past four years. In 2012, the Chiefs’ dismal 0-6 divisional record helped the Broncos to a 13-3 record, the number one seed and homefield advantage throughout the AFC playoffs. In 2011, the Chiefs performed the best in this four year cycle, finishing 3-3 in the division and keeping the division-winning Broncos to an 8-8 record and a fourth seed. Even in 2010, when the Chiefs won the division with a 10-6 record, we were 2-4 in the division and ended up as the fourth seed out of four. Finally, in 2009, the Chiefs were 2-4, assisting the Chargers to 13-3 record and a second seed (the Colts had an incredible 14-2 season that year).

Let’s see just how well our AFC West competition improved in the Draft.

The San Diego Chargers had one of the top drafts in the NFL. The Bolts added D.J. Fluker, a right tackle from Alabama, and really found gems in the second and third rounds, stealing linebacker Manti Te’o and then wide receiver Keenan Allen. Because new Head Coach Mike McCoy is an offense and quarterback guru, he instantly makes quarterback Philip Rivers better. The Chargers will be back in top form this year, led by a rejuvenated Rivers, a strengthened offensive line and receiver corps and a much improved defense, patrolled by Te’o.

Across the mountains, John Elway continues to haunt us, but now as Executive Vice President of Football Operations (whatever that means). The Denver Broncos had a smart draft, picking up defensive tackle Sylvester Williams in the first round to help anchor their 4-3 defense, and then getting a great running back in Montee Ball in the second round. I had thought the Broncos would go after Eddie Lacy in the first round, but ended up choosing Ball instead (Lacy went three picks later to the Packers), which may well turn out to be the smarter choice. Ball is a smart and patient runner, a better-than-average blocker and a great receiver out of the backfield.

As for the Oakland Raiders, well, you can tell there is a new regime in place because late night comedians aren’t making jokes about the Raiders this week. New General Manager Reggie McKenzie had a solid draft, recouping their lost second round pick from the horrible Carson Palmer trade. The Raiders selected strong cornerback D.J. Hayden in the first round and a potential star in offensive tackle Menelic Watson in the second round. But the Raiders just have too many holes to fill. McKenzie has the Raiders on the road to respectability though, which does not bode well for the Chiefs in the coming years, but we’ll deal with that in 2015 and 2016.

For the Chargers and Broncos, offense will rule the day, and they will both be high powered units. The Chiefs may have the most balance between the offense and defense among these three teams. But talent-wise, the Chiefs, Chargers and Broncos will be quite similar, with few gaps in their starting lineups and depth across the board.

What does that all mean? For the AFC West, parity is coming this year and that’s a good thing. A return to the highly contested, knock-down, drag-out divisional games of the 1990′s will be a welcome sight for the Chiefs, compared to recent history. This year, the Chiefs will blend old and new talent on both sides of the ball with superb coaching from new Head Coach Andy Reid. There’s no way the Broncos run away with the division title again, because we and the Chargers will be right in the thick of things.

With the new and improved Chiefs, I can easily imagine a 10-6 or even 9-7 team winning the division. In fact, that’s what I hope for. That means we’ve kept the Broncos in check and we’ll have the last three games of the season really matter – of the type where you’re glued to your flatscreen TV, checking other scores on your phone, and praying for teams you’ve never thought twice about to win games against our divisional opponents. You know what I mean, Addicts!!!

Who will win the AFC West? Will it be us? We may not know until the last game. But wouldn’t that be a great change, Addicts?! What do you think, Addicts? What will the AFC West look like this year?!!

Tags: Featured Kansas City Chiefs Popular

  • Pridenpoise

    I think your giving the Chargers way to much Credit.

    • http://www.facebook.com/nic.burrell.3 Nic Burrell

      Agreed, they’re trash…. And yeah that’s coming from a die hard chiefs fan

      • Pridenpoise

        Agreed there trash and that’s coming from a die hard Raiders fan, and I also think Rivers is highly overrated. The guy lost it. Everyone seems to think McCoy is the magic tonic, we will see but I believe Rivers best days are behind him.

    • Stacy D. Smith

      I personally think they had the best draft in the division.

      • Pridenpoise

        Why do u think that you drinking the Te’o koolaid.

    • KCMikeG

      They MAY have drafted well but Allen has had injury issue and has no speed who really knows with Te’o? He certainly didn’t looked good against the best competition he faced last year. The dolts are so helpless with a lame Matthews that they tried to get LT to come out of retirement and he said “No Thanks”.

  • http://twitter.com/EdMaldo1 Don Quijote

    Chiefs fans, should we bring back Watters to play guard. He will not get top dollars and he can still play. Anyone know his ranking from last year as guard ?

    • 58dtrip

      Yeah nothing he didn’t play

  • Tyler White

    Ahh! I can’t wait for it to all start!!

  • Ron White

    “Talent wise, the Chiefs, Chargers, and Broncos will be quite similar”…..Except at the QB position which is a huge advantage to the Donks…..unfortunately.

  • http://www.facebook.com/PullinInGreen Tyleet Heggs

    Losing 7 games this year is unacceptable

  • tm1946

    Too many times we think only the Chiefs were drafting, nice article with some balance.

    Until the Chiefs can handle Manning and win ALL their home games, we are short in the AFC West. I am buying into Reid getting it done in 2014, 2013 will be fun to watch, a different game than what we are used to.

    Understand the Chiefs are returning to getting a deal done with Albert and started the fire sale on Pioli “good enough” guys, things continue to look up.

  • http://www.facebook.com/genemyuk Gene Yuknis

    great post !! 2 words, BEAT DENVER…..go chiefs

    • Michael Shaw

      Um…..that’s four words…just sayin

  • Da Menace

    Smash horse-face Elway’s donks in the mouth! I wanna at least win our home games against the donks, faders, and dolts. Actually I wanna see the Chiefs win both games against the faders and dolts, don’t think it’ll happen in the blood doping capital Denver.

  • Priest4Prez

    I see the Bronco’s winning the division with us sneaking a wild card. I just don’t think we’ve built ourselves up enough to win in the division. I just look at the the team and it looks like the AFC West version of the Texans. Average QB, Stellar run game, One solid receiver, decent TE play, sitting behind solid defensive play to keep us in games. Sorry…sorry, I’m not trying to be pessimistic but that’s what I see. I think it’ll get us a wild card look but Manning is still Manning. I’ll be here rooting for us on that mean Denver/San Diego/Denver stretch. Go Chiefs!!