Creed Humphrey says the AFC West will be a proving ground of sorts for contenders who want to emerge in 2022.
There’s no question about the toughest division in football these days, given how the AFC West looks like a brutal gauntlet for the four teams that call it home. According to Kansas City Chiefs center Creed Humphrey, that’s exactly how he likes it and he believes it will be a proving ground for whoever emerges victorious at the end of the regular season.
Humphrey recently appeared on Sirius XM to talk about the state of the division and it’s clear he’s aware of just how challenging it will be. At the same time, he sounds quite ready to give it a go (via PFT):
"It’s a tough division already and when they’ve added these pieces, it’s just going to be even tougher. That’s fun for us. We embrace the competition, so we’re really excited about it. There will be some tough games. But you know if you’re coming out of there, you have a chance to really be able to compete with anybody. So, we’re really excited about it."
For the Chiefs, Denver Broncos, Las Vegas Raiders, and Los Angeles Chargers, the 2022 season is going to be a thrilling one based on the level of competition expected within intradivision games alone. While that’s been true in some respects ever since Andy Reid arrived in K.C. back in 2013, it wasn’t until this very offseason that every single franchise decided to go all-in.
The Chiefs have already dominated the AFC West to the tune of six consecutive division titles—that’s the single longest stretch for any team in the division’s history. However, given how competitive the Chiefs continue to look even as they usher in a youth movement of sorts with Patrick Mahomes entering his prime, it makes sense for every hopeful team to throw caution to the wind and go for it. In short, teams in the AFC West have to create their own window.
For the Chargers, who are the closest thing to a tough opponent in the AFC West, it meant trading for Khalil Mack and signing J.C. Jackson to the secondary among other moves. Given that Justin Herbert is already a top 4-5 QB in the NFL, the Chargers are going to be very dangerous week after week.
The Las Vegas Raiders went out and traded for the best wideout in the game in Davante Adams and then extended Hunter Renfrow as well. On the defensive side, they also added Rock Ya-Sin in a trade with the Indianapolis Colts and signed Chandler Jones to replace Yannick Ngakoue.
The Denver Broncos have lost 13 consecutive games to the Chiefs, but the carousel of quarterbacks they’ve employed in that team might be the NFL’s worst selection. Now they have Russell Wilson after the offseason’s blockbuster trade with the Seattle Seahawks and Denver should be as dangerous as ever. They also signed Randy Gregory to replace Von Miller, who they traded at midseason last year.
Every team in the West has very good reasons to believe they can end up on top, and the Chiefs look more vulnerable than they have in years with so much turnover on the roster—including Tyrann Mathieu, Charvarius Ward, and Tyreek Hill. However, younger players like Humphrey will have a lot to say about their ability to maintain their hold on the division, and it sounds as if they’re up to the task.