Business As Usual In AFC West, San Diego Chargers Odds On Favorite To Claim Division

August 3, 2010 –  Written By Alex

The AFC West is one of the most interesting divisions in all of football looking ahead to the 2010 NFL Season.  Despite the loss of Vincent Jackson, the San Diego Chargers are still the heavy favorites in the division following an impressive 13-3 campaign in ’09. With Matt Cassel now having a full season of experience running a not-as-good-as-the-Patriots offense, expect the Kansas City Chiefs to legitimately establish themselves as the second best team in the division this year. The Denver Broncos continue to seemingly self-implode with puzzling decisions by their head coach, and are only kept from being last place in the AFC West by the always woeful, Oakland Raiders.

The San Diego Chargers are coming off a very good season. They went 13-3 in 2009 (ended the season on an 11-game winning streak) only to get upset by the New York Jets in the playoffs. Hoping for better luck in 2010, the Chargers will be led by quarterback, Philip Rivers. With staggeringly impressive totals of 4,254 yards, 28 touchdowns and 9 interceptions on a 65.2 completion percentage last year, Rivers will need to guide an offense that at times has been known to lose its way. To further complicate things, San Diego will be without receiver, Vincent Jackson for a minimum of three games and possibly longer. Tight end, Antonio Gates will likely find more of the passing game run through him as Rivers feels out his receivers to start the year. San Diego will also count on running backs, Darren Sproles to keep defenses honest. Defensively, the Chargers are strong, and when coupled with their somewhat easy schedule, the league’s most talented team is once against the cream of the crop when it comes to the AFC West. The Chargers are -333 to win the AFC West, and 11/2 to win the Super Bowl according to the latest 2010 NFL Betting Odds.

Look for the addition of Charlie Weis as an offensive coordinator to really boost quarterback, Matt Cassel’s production with the team in 2010. Further aiding Cassel in his quest to reign among the league’s top quarterbacks will be signing of running back, Thomas Jones, who is coming off a very solid 1,400 yard rushing year with the Jets. While Jones and Jamaal Charles (5.9 yards per carry in ’09) should keep the ground attack strong for the Chiefs, the lack of a true number one receiver will stagger the offense a bit. Look for opposing defenses to stack the box against the Chiefs and really force the air-attack to put points on the board. Defensively, the Chiefs are still suspect despite spending a number of draft picks in recent years, and even this year’s top pick on that side of the ball. Kansas City is still re-building, but they’re a top-notch receiver and a consistent defense away from being players in this division. The Chiefs are +750 to win the AFC West, and 45/1 to win the Super Bowl.

After a very promising start to the 2009 season, the Denver Broncos slumped to an eventual 8-8 finish. During this year’s draft the team’s coach, Josh McDaniels continued with his pattern of questionable moves (trading away Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall) by drafting Tim Tebow in the first round. With the starting quarterback position uncertain at this point, and there are no real quality receivers to speak of, a lot of the burden of moving the offense for the Broncos will fall on running back, Knowshon Moreno. If Moreno doesn’t make serious strides in his 2010 campaign, this team will struggle heavily offensively. On the other side of the ball, the Broncos have two elites in Champ Bailey and Brian Dawkins. However, the success of this unit will ultimately fall on the pass-rushers, not the secondary. Look for the success of Elvis Dumervil to make or break this unit.The Broncos are currently +600 to win the AFC West and, 25/1 to win the Super Bowl.

The Oakland Raiders decided to start fresh in 2010 by dumping a lot of dead weight (no pun intended) in Jamarcus Russell, and picking up former Redskins quarterback, Jason Campbell. With a huge upgrade at the QB spot, the only thing that’s really stopping the Raiders from climbing up the ranks of the AFC West is the complete and utter lack of receivers. Still, if running back Michael Bush can stay healthy, this team may put up double or triple their averages over the past three seasons. Defensively, Oakland has been underrated for years because of their underdeveloped offense, so expect for them to put up better statistics now that they won’t be forced to be on the field for the vast majority of the game. The Raiders are +700 to win the AFC West, and 40/1 to win Super Bowl XLV.

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