Sunday, June 28, 2009

2009 NFL Offseason Preview: AFC West

Over the next several weeks I will preview every division in the NFL, giving you teams who will rise in 2009, who will fall, and where each team will end up in 2009. Getting started with this week with the AFC West.

2008 Overview: The AFC West was seen as a joke to some football fans. San Diego and Denver ended the season tied for the division championship at 8-8 with San Diego winning the division due to a tie breaker. Oakland played spoiler late in the season last year, ending 2008 on a 2 game winning streak including beating Tampa Bay the last game of the season costing the Bucs a playoff spot and ultimately Jon Gruden his job but sadly finished the season 5 and 11. Oakland hasn't had a winning season since they were in the Super Bowl back in 2002. The injury plagued Chiefs had one of the worst seasons in team history, finishing 2 and 14 as Herm Edwards was shown the door and Carl Peterson resigned. San Diego was able to knock off Indianapolis before losing to eventual Super Bowl Champion Pittsburgh Steelers in the Divisional Round.

New Faces: Key Players
Denver: Kyle Orton, Chris Sims, Brian Dawkins,

Kansas City: Matt Cassell, Mike Vrabel, Zach Thomas, Mike Brown, Bobby Engram,

Oakland: Jeff Garcia, Greg Ellis. Lorenzo Neal
San Diego: None

2009 Predictions
Most Improved Team: Kansas City Chiefs: Its hard not to pick a team which only won two games last season. New GM, New Coach, New Quarterback, and new veterans should help this team win some ball games this year. They won't win half of their games but I think they can win 5 to 6 games in 2009.

Team on the Slide: Denver Broncos: They showed Mike Shanahan the door, they traded Jay Cutler, and it looks like Brandon Marshall could be on his way out as well. Things just don't look good for Denver fan in 2009. They very well could win just three games in 09.

Player in the Spotlight: Matt Cassell: Cassell needs to prove to Chiefs fans that he isn't a one hit wonder. Cassell had an excellent year filling in for injured quarterback Tom Brady throwing for 3,693 yards 21 TD and only 11 INT's. Now can he put up similar numbers with less talent and a shaky offensive line.

Division Winner: San Diego: The Chargers didn't do much this offseason, but they shouldn't have any problem winning this division by two or three games this season. The bigger question is will Philip Rivers take the Chargers to the next level. LT just turned 30 years old and with his injury problems the past couple years he may only have two years left in the tank so San Diego's window of winning a Super Bowl is closing rather quickly.

2009 Projected Standings
San Diego: 11-5
Kansas City: 5-11
Oakland: 4-12
Denver: 3-13

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