Around the AFC West: Is anyone poised to dethrone the Chiefs?

Sep 7, 2022, 1:28 PM
Patrick Mahomes...
(Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
(Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

The Denver Broncos are ready for the start of the regular season. In 2022, the Broncos are back in the playoff hunt, and after six years of missing the postseason it’s a welcome return to the standard Broncos Country is used to.

The AFC West is the toughest division in football. Some of the best football we’re going to see this year is in this division. In fact, I think any AFC West game – regardless of the foe – is must-see TV for the 2022 season.

The Broncos are good with the potential to be very good, but in this division, that might not be enough. During the year, I’m going to keep tabs on what the rest of the teams in this division are doing. Enjoy my weekly news summary of the Broncos’ biggest opponents.

Let’s take a spin around the AFC West to see what the competition is up to.


Kansas City Chiefs

Most around the league considers the Chiefs to be the best in the West. In Week 1, the Chiefs travel to play a high-powered opponent in the Arizona Cardinals. The Chiefs have been mostly healthy on offense, with only tight end Blake Bell out for the first month of the season with a hip injury. Their offense should be at full strength, but it’s going to be interesting to see how this team operates without wide receiver Tyreek Hill (Dolphins).

It’s the Chiefs defense that has battled some injuries during training camp. They are getting healthier, and they certainly will have their hands full with quarterback Kyler Murray this Sunday. Chiefs defensive end Frank Clark (illness), linebacker Leo Chenal (concussion), safety Deon Bush (undisclosed) and defensive end Malik Herring (oblique) participated in practice on Monday. The offense will have a new look, and the defense will have some players not quite at full strength. It’s no matter, the Chiefs are built for the long haul, and they should be there in the playoff hunt at the end of the year.


Las Vegas Raiders

Things are always going to be interesting with Raiders head coach (and former Broncos head coach) Josh McDaniels. The team is going in a new direction with McDaniels, and they have incredible talent on both sides of the ball.

Like it or not, the AFC West is better when the Raiders are good. Unfortunately, I think they’ll be good this year – and that adds to the rivalry with Denver who themselves have revamped their outlook.

The biggest news with the Raiders isn’t news yet. At the end of August, it was reported Raiders tight end Darren Waller reportedly is in discussions with the team about a contract extension that would make him the highest-paid player at his position in terms of the new money average per year at $16 million, according to CBS Sports HQ’s Josina Anderson. Waller did not practice much during training camp, and he’s changed his agent (now with Drew Rosenhaus) in anticipation of a new contract. He’s on track for Week 1, and perhaps a new contract will be finalized in the near future.


Los Angeles Chargers

The Chargers have a ton of talent, but they are a team that is notorious for choking. Sure, they have elite talent on an offense featuring franchise quarterback Justin Herbert, but none of that matters until the team changes their culture of mediocrity. The team needs to believe in themselves and know that they are in a Super Bowl window with Herbert. If that happens, the switch can be flicked for a team who could hoist the Lombardi Trophy when all is said and done. However, until I see that they’re done choking I won’t believe it.

The biggest news of late with the Chargers is the addition of running back Sony Michel. He was released by the Miami Dolphins during the summer, and the Chargers were quick to scoop him up. He gives them a power element on the ground to complement starter Austin Ekeler. The Chargers can be dangerous when they’re choking days are done. They can also be more formidable as a foe with power rushing to go with their high-powered passing attack.



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Around the AFC West: Is anyone poised to dethrone the Chiefs?