There’s a new sheriff in town in the AFC West, as Peyton Manning has arrived, and he’s hoping for a big turnaround for the Broncos, who won the West last season with Tim Tebow at QB.
Today we take a look at how the West will be won in 2012, and how it’s all going to play out this season.
1. Denver (11-5) – I’m counting on Manning to have a solid comeback season. He will have his flaws, but when you look at the division, I think there’s no question that it is one that will be decided by how well #18 plays. I think the Broncos D will be better in 2012 than 2011, and I think there’s enough pieces and parts around Peyton to get this team to 11 wins and a division title.
2. * San Diego (10-6) – I would speculate this is the final go around for Norv Turner if he can’t get the Bolts to at least the postseason, but here’s thinking he will with a solid 10-win campaign. Look for the turnovers to be down this year, which will be a key, and the offense to be solid with Philip Rivers being a Pro Bowl QB once again. The defense has some growing up to do, but I think they will score enough points to get to the postseason.
3. Kansas City (8-8) – Romeo Crennel begins his second stint as a full-time NFL head coach, and does it hopefully with a team that will be a lot healthier than last season when the Chiefs were beat up. Jammal Charles should lead this team and have a solid 1500 yards, and Matt Cassel has to have a good season for this team to succeed. However, the offense isn’t deep, and the defense will give up enough points to have a .500 season.
4. Oakland (6-10) – New coach Dennis Allen has a bit of a rebuild ahead of him, as Carson Palmer is on his last go around as a starting QB, and he needs RB Darren McFadden to stay healthy. The Raiders will put a focus on the run, meaning you should look for them to try and have a solid lead in TOP in most games. The defense will need to produce takeaways, but it won’t be enough to overcome short comings in the passing game and offense to get more than 6 wins.