When looking at the divisions across the NFL, perhaps no division is more difficult than the AFC West. The Chiefs and Raiders made the playoffs last year while the Chargers finished just short. Meanwhile, the Denver Broncos haven’t played a playoff game since Super Bowl 50. Since the retirement of Payton Manning, the Broncos offense has fallen short of expectations leading to the offseason trade for Russell Wilson. With their quarterback in place, expectations are high for a revamped Denver Broncos offense in a very competitive AFC West.
The Wild Wild AFC West
When analyzing divisions across the NFL, perhaps no division will be as competitive as the AFC West. The Chiefs have gone to two of the last three Super Bowls. The Raiders returned to the playoffs last year for the first time since the 2016 season and the Chargers just narrowly missed the postseason after a controversial loss in the final week of the 2021 season.
Over the offseason, each AFC West team added a high end pass rusher during the NFL offseason. The Raiders added Chandler Jones, currently in second amongst active players for career sacks, to a defensive line already containing rising star Maxx Crosby. The Chiefs drafted George Karlaftis to a defensive line that already contains two 3x-Pro Bowlers Frank Clark and Chris Jones. The Chargers paired 4x Pro Bowler Joey Bosa with former Defensive Player of the Year Khalil Mack, and finally, the Broncs rounded out the AFC West by stealing Randy Gregory away from the Dallas Cowboys.
While each team went all in on defense, a couple of wide receiver movers should also shake up the division. The Chiefs offense took a hit with the departure of Tyreek Hill while Derek Carr was reunited with college teammate and NFL All Pro Davante Adams. Add in difficult schedules facing both the Chiefs and the Raiders, and the AFC West should be a blood bath.
While each team in the AFC West will have the fun of difficult matchups against one another, the Broncos offense should feast on the opportunity to play the Jets as both franchises finished last in their division. While the Jets defense did get better this offseason, the talent in the Broncos offense should still be more than enough to handle the Jets young secondary.
The Denver Broncos Biggest Addition
Out of all the moves in the AFC west, no move was as impactful as the Broncos gaining Russell Wilson. While the Denver Broncos defense has been solid over the last few seasons, the Broncos offense was stymied by a lack of production from the quarterback position. Since Super Bowl 50, the Denver Broncos have had 11 different quarterbacks with Trevor Siemian, a player who hasn’t been on the team since 2017, starting the most games with 24.
The Broncos offense got a huge boost this year with the offseason trade for Russell Wilson. While the team did lose young Tight End Noah Fant, the gain of Wilson should pay immediate dividends for the Denver Broncos.
The Rest of the Broncos Offense
Joining Wilson for the 2022 Broncos offense are the talented wide receiver trio of Jerry Jeudy, Courtland Sutton and 2021 breakout star Tim Patrick. The backfield will be once again led by the committee of Javonte Williams and Melvin Gordon. Meanwhile, the Denver Broncos offensive line should improve with the return of Graham Glasgow and jumps from young players like Lloyd Cushenberry and Quinn Meinerz.
While it remains to be seen if the Denver Broncos can knock off the rest of the talented AFC West, the addition of Russell Wilson to the Broncos offense should see the unit make a pretty big leap this season.
Let us know in the comments below who you think will come out on top of the AFC West!