The Denver Broncos may have won the AFC West division title last season en route to their first Super Bowl title since legendary quarterback John Elway retired following the 1999 season, but by taking giving a look at the odds to win Super Bowl, you will figure out that the defending champs are certainly no lock to repeat as division champs for several reasons.
The Broncos will have some legitimate company in the race for first place in the AFC West and could very be overtaken by at least one rival, if not two. Now, let’s take a look at how I expect the AC West division to pan out in 2016.
Early 2016 AFC West NFL Betting Prediction
I’m going to get right to the point by saying that Denver will be hard-pressed to duplicate their success from a year ago, mostly because they have a pretty jacked up situation right now at quarterback. Denver was banking on backup Brock Osweiler taking over for the retired Peyton Manning in 2016, but those plans went haywire when Osweiler signed a big-money deal with Houston.
Now the Broncos will look to reach the double-digit win mark with mediocre veteran Mark Sanchez starting, if he doesn’t get immediately surpassed by rookie first round pick Paxton Lynch. Yes, the Broncos will still have an elite defense, but Denver face a semi-difficult schedule in 2016 and will get every team’s best as the league’s defending champions. Right now, I’m thinking 9-7 sounds about right for John Elway’s team!
Kansas City Chiefs
Andy Reid has built a perennial winner in Kansas City (11-5) and the Chiefs are my pick to win the AFC West in 2016. Dual threat running back Jamal Charles will be back after missing virtually the entire 2015 season and that will open up the offense for Alex Smith and the passing attack. I believe it’s quite possible that the Chiefs could run the table at home in 2016 while losing road games against Pittsburgh, Indianapolis and Carolina to potentially finish with 13 wins, though I think 11 or 12 is more likely. Either way, Kansas City is my AFC West division winner in 2016.
The Oakland Raiders (7-9) are finally a franchise heading in the right direction! I love last season’s addition of veteran head coach Jack del Rio and believe that quarterback Derek Carr is poised for his best season so far. That’s the good news.
The bad news is that Oakland faces a very daunting schedule in 2016 with non-division home dates against Houston, Carolina, and Indianapolis on the docket. Still, with Oakland pulling off a successful free agent signing period and draft, I’ve think it’s quite possible Oakland wins eight games to reach .500 for the first time in ages.
San Diego Chargers
The Chargers (4-12) went backwards in a big way in 2015 and I don’t see them improving all that much this coming season even though Philip Rivers is still very good under center. First of all, the Bolts may have blown it big-time by drafting Ohio State defensive end Joey Bosa with the third overall pick despite his unimpressive performance at the NFL Scouting Combine. While San Diego did make a few decent free agent signings, I don’t think they’ll be nearly enough to help them get back to being legitimate contenders for the AFC West title, at least not this coming season. If all goes well, the Bolts could win eight games. The more likely scenario however is that they win six or seven at best!