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AFC West Division Odds and Predictions

We’ve got a pair of juggernauts and a couple of teams who are in the midst of re-tooling their organization.

The AFC West might not be the best division in football when measured from top to bottom, but how’s this for being top-heavy?

One could argue that the Chiefs and the Chargers are the best two teams in football heading into 2019.

Of course, the Patriots might have something to say about that claim, as do a few teams over in the NFC.

This guide was specifically created to preview the AFC West. If you are interested in betting or just want to get acquainted with the four teams, you’ll love it. We keep it regularly updated with what you need to know.

Latest AFC West Odds

Kansas City Chiefs Have Clinched the DivisionOFF

AFC West Predictions

  • Kansas City Chiefs Have Clinched the Division
  • Last Updated: December 20th
Previous AFC West Predictions and Analysis

December 5th

  • Prediction (Michael Wynn): Kansas City Chiefs

Not only are the Raiders and Chargers falling apart in front of our eyes, but the Chiefs are finally hitting their stride. Having forced seven turnovers over the last two games, it’s clear that this defense is starting to create some serious pressure. Now that Patrick Mahomes and Tyreek Hill are both healthy, sealing up the AFC West division is all but a done deal.

  • Prediction (Noah Davis): Kansas City Chiefs

The Raiders proved to be a tease and the Chargers are throwing interceptions almost on purpose. Kansas City has survived a bad defense and a Patrick Mahomes injury scare, yet the rest of the AFC West just couldn’t give them any real trouble. The division is as good as theirs.

November 21st

  • Prediction (Michael Wynn): Kansas City Chiefs

There’s a lot of hype about the Raiders factoring into the AFC West division, but I think it’s all poppycock. Andy Reid has a brilliant track record coming out of a bye, and KC is hosting Oakland in Week 13. All the talk about “The Silver and Black” winning the division should be put to bed in no time.

  • Prediction (Noah Davis): Kansas City Chiefs

Philip Rivers just drowned his Chargers in a sea of turnovers, leaving just the Chiefs and Raiders to fight for the AFC West. Oakland is cute, but this is Kansas City’s division. You know they have Patrick Mahomes, right?

November 7th

  • Prediction (Michael Wynn): Kansas City Chiefs

Just when we left the Chargers for dead they reeled off consecutive victories – including a resounding one over a Packers team that was 7-1 and looking stout. With that being said, the Chiefs could probably win this division with Matt Moore as their quarterback. With Mahomes set to return, it should be a walk in the park for Kansas City.

  • Prediction (Noah Davis): Kansas City Chiefs

Patrick Mahomes gets hurt and everyone loses their minds. Turns out, this Andy Reid system isn’t just about one dude throwing no-look passes. That, or Matt Moore is a golden god. Maybe both. Either way, KC is firmly entrenched in first place and I don’t see a path out of that spot.

October 17th

  • Prediction (Michael Wynn): Kansas City Chiefs

Credit the Raiders for making a push, but let’s pump the brakes on any chit-chat that Oakland is going to win the AFC West in 2019. The Chargers look horrendous, and Denver’s offense is still among the worst in the NFL. Given how tough the Raiders upcoming schedule is, I see the Chiefs running away with this division.

  • Prediction (Noah Davis): Kansas City Chiefs

Kansas City is going to win this division by default. They’re struggling at the moment, but even the Chiefs on a bended knee are better than anyone else in this division. It’ll be fun to keep the dream alive and root for Oakland, but it’s a losing cause.

October 3rd

  • Prediction (Michael Wynn): Kansas City Chiefs

The betting value may not exist anymore, but don’t get your hopes up if you’re a fan of an AFC West squad that isn’t the Kansas City Chiefs. The fact that KC beat an undefeated team on the road without Patrick Mahomes throwing a touchdown pass tells you that this team’s offense has more layers than you count.

  • Prediction (Noah Davis): Kansas City Chiefs

I don’t buy the Raiders and the Chargers have limped to a 2-2 start. Kansas City scored 34 points on the road in week four and none of them came from Patrick Mahomes. If this team can win games without their star quarterback balling out, you better believe they’re a unit to fear. All things considered, I just can’t see them losing this division.

September 19th

  • Prediction (Michael Wynn): Kansas City Chiefs

Noah said it best. It isn’t feasible that the Broncos or Raiders end the year atop this division, and the Chargers are have been decimated with injuries. With no Derwin James, Hunter Henry, or Adrian Phillips, keeping pace with the Chiefs just isn’t realistic.

  • Prediction (Noah Davis): Kansas City Chiefs

The Chiefs have just one viable contender in this division and the Chargers already appear to be on life support when you look at their injury list. Patrick Mahomes remains in MVP form, too. I can’t see any way around the Chiefs in the AFC West.

September 5th

  • Prediction (Michael Wynn): Kansas City Chiefs

Betting on the Chargers has merit and offers upside, but I feel like this is the year that Andy Reid will put everything together. Look for the Chiefs to register another 12+ win season and be planning a trip to Miami in February.

  • Prediction (Noah Davis): Kansas City Chiefs

KC is going to get bored in this division. Just when the Chargers were becoming a problem, they lose their top safety, their top tackle, and their top running back. The Chiefs might have this thing in the bag by week 10.

July 28th

  • Prediction (Michael Wynn): Kansas City Chiefs

The Chargers might have the most complete roster in this division, but Patrick Mahomes has a rare gift that we just don’t typically encounter. In terms of how competitive it will be in the AFC West, it could take as many as 12 or 13 wins to seal the deal.

  • Prediction (Noah Davis): Kansas City Chiefs

I want to buy the Chargers, but the Melvin Gordon drama is clouding my judgment. KC is also just so supremely talented that even mild regression probably still keeps them in first.

AFC West Related Content

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Early 2019 AFC West Analysis (Michael Wynn)

The Chiefs have the most firepower in the AFC West; nobody would deny that. The Chargers defense will certainly be among the best in the league, and they could very well win the division.

Outside of the fan base in Denver, nobody expects the Broncos to suddenly start rallying behind Joe Flacco, and the Raiders still have to figure out if Derek Carr is their quarterback of the future.

The individual snippets below further explain why this division is set up to be a two-horse race.

Kansas City Chiefs

Anyone who watched the 2018 season saw how compelling the Chiefs offense can be. With the news that Tyreek Hill will not be suspended by the NFL now official, Andy Reid can fully expect another massive year from Patrick Mahomes and that 11-man group.

The Chiefs added an absolute burner in the second round of the draft when they selected 21-year-old Mecole Hardman. With Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce penciled in for the majority of the targets, Hardman gives KC a nice insurance policy in the event that Sammy Watkins isn’t healthy.

Damien Williams proved he can carry the load once Kareem Hunt was cut, meaning the defense is perhaps the only question mark at Arrowhead Stadium.

Hiring Steve Spagnuolo is going to help, but acquiring Tyrann Mathieu and Frank Clark is what should push the Chiefs over the top. Not only are the Chiefs the favorites to win the AFC West, but we could very well see Kansas City in Super Bowl 54.

It’s also possible we witness another 50-TD season from last year’s MVP.

Los Angeles Chargers   

It’s a shame the Chargers season ended on such a sour note as they got spanked by New England in the divisional round of the playoffs. If Melvin Gordon opts to go the Le’Veon Bell route and refuses to play without a contract extension, LA is going to have to lean on Austin Ekeler and Justin Jackson a lot more than anticipated.

The passing game is in great shape as long as Philip Rivers stays upright — not just because Keenen Allen is as dependable as it gets. Mike Williams exploded with a 10-touchdown season in 2018, and Hunter Henry is going to be integrated into nearly every formation.

Having an offense that can do some damage is almost a bonus when you realize how many ball hawkers are on the other side of the ball. Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram rushing the passer off the edge will pave the way for Jerry Tillery to stuff the run, and the linebacking core was bolstered with the addition of Thomas Davis.

But when you want a taste of the most dynamic secondary in the National Football League, just look at the Bolts.

Derwin James, Desmond King, and Adrian Phillips were each chosen as First-Team All-Pros in 2018.

Regardless of if the Chargers win the AFC West, something strange would have to occur for this team to be kept out of the playoffs.

Oakland Raiders  

Even if Oakland’s draft picks pan out, what’s the ceiling in 2019? Seven or eight wins tops?

The Raiders looked like a third-rate product and won just four games last year, but at least there is reason to think the tide is about to turn.

We know about the makeover Jon Gruden has orchestrated, as this franchise experienced more roster turnover in a single offseason than some teams will endure over the course of a decade. Mike Mayock boldly selected Clelin Ferrell with the fourth pick of the draft, and folks in the Bay Area are expecting big things from running back Josh Jacobs.

If you think trading for Antonio Brown was their most impactful transaction, we’d kindly disagree. Adding Trent Brown to this offensive line is going to do wonders for Derek Carr and his ability to create throwing lanes in the pocket.

In fact, it could be what allows Carr to keep his job as the man under center when Mark Davis and co. arrive in Las Vegas.

To continue making life easier for Derek, Gruden made sure to add a few more weapons on the outside. Newcomers Tyrell Williams and J.J. Nelson are learning Oakland’s system on the fly, as are Ryan Grant and Dwayne Harris. In the end, it isn’t the Raiders offense that makes us nervous.

The Jon Gruden-coached squad surrendered an NFL-worst 29.2 points per game in 2018.

How quickly the young players on defense can transition their games to match the speed of the NFL will dictate how rapidly the Raiders can ascend up the NFL ranks. 

Denver Broncos  

Joe Flacco promises that he has a lot of good football left, but we’ll believe that when we see it. Phillip Lindsay emerged as an undrafted rookie, and Noah Fant is a really exciting young tight end. And even though the defense isn’t what it once was, Von Miller and Bradley Chubb anchor a bunch that is more than adequate.

However, in order for the Broncos to be competitive in the AFC West, Joe Flacco has to somehow show that his best football isn’t behind him. Emmanuel Sanders needs to figure out a way to return at full speed from his horrific Achilles injury sustained in December.

Regardless of how good the defense is, Denver will struggle to win games if their passing attack is going to be as inept as it looks on paper. John Elway did the right thing by axing Vance Joseph, but it remains to be seen if hiring Vic Fangio was the right move to follow.

Drew Lock will eventually take over, and that time could come as soon as midway through the year.

Initial AFC West Pick

If you want to go for strictly value, the Chargers at +190 is the play. For a team who won 12 games in 2018, latching onto plus money like that is never a bad idea.

Nonetheless, one team in the AFC West has Patrick Mahomes on their roster; the other three do not.

Don’t forget, 2018 was the first year Mahomes was an NFL starter. Despite setting the bar at an astronomical level, his talent and dedication to the games suggest that he has absolutely no plans of slowing down.

Betting on the Chiefs to win the division is a good place to start, but do yourself a favor and take it a step further. They’re also a fine bet to be the last team standing in February.

Pick
  • Kansas City Chiefs
    -150

Previous AFC West Winners

Formed in 1960 as the Western Division of the AFL, the AFC West became an official division of the NFL in 1970. All four teams have sustained success at different points in time, although both the Chiefs and Chargers won 12 games apiece in 2018.

You’ll notice in the table below that each team in the division finished the year atop the standings double-digit times.

  • Denver Broncos 15
  • Oakland Raiders 15
  • Los Angeles Chargers 15
  • Kansas City Chiefs 11

The Raiders haven’t won the AFC West since they ripped off three in a row from 2000-2002 back when Rich Gannon was their quarterback. Ironically enough, Jon Gruden was actually their head coach (Gruden coached the Raiders from 1998-2001).

We point this out because when you study the table below of the ten most recent division winners, you’ll see that Oakland is nowhere to be found.

  • 2018: Kansas City Chiefs 12-4
  • 2017: Kansas City Chiefs 10-6
  • 2016: Kansas City Chiefs 12-4
  • 2015: Denver Broncos 12-4
  • 2014: Denver Broncos 12-4
  • 2013: Denver Broncos 13-3
  • 2012: Denver Broncos 13-3
  • 2011: Denver Broncos 8-8
  • 2010: Kansas City Chiefs 10-6
  • 2009: San Diego Chargers 13-3

The Chargers last represented the AFC West in the postseason in 2009, and the Chiefs title in 2010 was their first since 2003. The Broncos winning five straight from 2011-2015 is largely connected with Peyton Manning being their QB from 2012-2015, as John Elway has been unsuccessful in his attempt to bring Denver back to relevancy.

Andy Reid has dominated this division for three years running and is in terrific shape to do more of the same for the next ten years.

In all, we’ve seen an AFC West team participate in the Super Bowl 16 times. The Broncos and Raiders have won three apiece while the Chiefs have won one (1969). The Chargers are still looking for their first Super Bowl trophy in franchise history.

Unless the Patriots make it three in a row, there’s a high likelihood we’ll see an AFC West team playing in Super Bowl 54.

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