Expert NFL Picks to Win the AFC West
With a pair of double-digit winning teams and one nine-win team, the AFC West was undoubtedly the best and most competitive division in all of football in 2016. Now, with the 2017 NFL regular season getting closer by the day, the AFC west looks like it will be just as competitive as it was a year ago, if not more so. Hence, make sure to review each one of these NFL betting odds to win the AFC West division and make the best selections for this season’s matches.
Can Derek Carr and the Oakland Raiders fulfill all of the expectations that everybody is placing on them as division co-favorites and Super Bowl 52 hopefuls or will Andy Reid’s Kansas City Chiefs beat out the Raiders to bag their second straight division title this coming season. Moreover, are these teams getting an upset for the division title despite the fact they are two of the top Super Bowl title AFC contenders? If you’ve got questions, then I’ve got answers.
Expert NFL Picks to Win the AFC West
The Favorite: Oakland Raiders +180
While the Raiders (12-4 SU, 10-6 ATS) are co-favorites to win the AFC West in 2017, I’ve got some reservations just like I did a year ago when I picked the Chiefs to bag the division title. Yes, quarterback Derek Carr is an undeniable superstar in the making and so is fleet-footed wide receiver Amari Cooper (1,153 yards). The Raiders have an explosive offense that ranked sixth overall, 13th in passing, sixth in rushing and seventh in scoring (26.0 ppg) last season and they could be even better after adding veteran running back Marshawn Lynch this offseason.
However. I’m not real sure that Oakland improved their defense enough after finishing 26th overall, 24th against the pass, 23rd against the run and 20th in points allowed (24.1 ppg). I do like the addition of Ohio State cornerback Gareon Conley with the 24th overall pick in the draft and safety Obi Melifonwu with the 56th overall pick, but if last season was any indication, Oakland has a long way to go to improve its defense to a championship kind of level. I guess it’s possible the Raiders could beat a bunch of their 2017 opponents by simply putting a bunch of points on the board, but it’s clearly no way to try to win a Super Bowl and if you don’t believe me, just as the Atlanta Falcons.
Oakland Raiders Team Statistics
Offensive rush yards: 116.82
Offensive passing yards: 246.24
Defensive passing yards: 252.24
The Smart Pick: Kansas City Chiefs +180
Despite winning the AFC West last season, the Kansas City Chiefs (12-4 SU, 9-7 ATS) aren’t getting a whole lot of love as they get set for the upcoming 2017 season. No matter, I think Kansas City is the ‘smart’ pick to win the division, mostly because they have the best combination of offense and defense.
The Chiefs have a modest offense, but they did manage to finish a respectable 13th in scoring last season (24.3 ppg) under ‘play-it-safe’ veteran quarterback Alex Smith, but that’s not the real reason I like Kansas City. You see, for me, it is defense that still wins championships (just ask the Patriots) and I love the fact that the Chiefs brought back Pro Bowl safety Eric Berry and have arguably the best cornerback in the game today in Marcus Peters and some more Pro Bowl-caliber defensive stars in linebackers Justin Houston and to a slightly lesser degree, Dee Ford.
While I didn’t like Reid moving up in the draft to take Texas Tech star Patrick Mahomes with the 10th overall pick when Clemson superstar Deshaun Watson was still on the board, I did like their selection of Villanova defensive end Tanoh Kpassagnon with the 59th overall pick and addition of underrated Toledo running back Kareem Hunt with their third round pick. After finishing seventh in points allowed (19.4 ppg) a year ago while battling injuries and missed games from several of their key defensive players, the Chiefs could really surprise in 2017.
Kansas City Chiefs Team Statistics
Offensive total yards: 336.24
Average Score For: 23.82
Offensive rush yards: 106.47
Defensive total yards: 369.76
Offensive passing yards: 229.76
Defensive rush yards: 124.12
Average Score Against: 19.35
Defensive passing yards: 245.65
The Longshot: Los Angeles Chargers +380
It’s a shame it took so long for the now, Los Angeles Chargers (5-11 SU, 7-9 ATS) to give gun-slinging veteran quarterback Philip Rivers another elite wide receiver, but he certainly has a stud in former Clemson wide receiver Mike Williams who the Bolts grabbed with the seventh overall pick in the draft. I also like the fact that the Chargers used their second and third-round picks on guards Forrest lamp and Dan Feeney and they are adding veteran Russell Okung to help shore up an offensive line that it’s been pretty mediocre for the last couple of years at the very least and has both, failing to protect Rivers or open up many holes for gifted running back Melvin Gordon.
The bad news is that the Chargers didn’t do nearly enough to improve a defense that ranked a pitiful 29th in points allowed last season (26.4 ppg) although there is some good news though in the fact that Los Angeles lost four games by a field goal or less and may have had the best offseason coaching hires by naming former Bills running backs coach Anthony Lynn as head coach, who in turn, hired Gus Bradley as defensive coordinator and Ken Whisenhunt as offensive coordinator.
Yes, the Chargers are real longshots to get around their three longtime AFC West division rivals, but they’ve got a legitimate star at quarterback and now appear to be heading in the right direction with their roster at long last.
Los Angeles Chargers Team Statistics
Offensive rush yards: 94.44
Offensive passing yards: 262.56
Defensive passing yards: 249.12