2015 AFC West power rankings

After a jam-packed offseason full of transactions, the AFC West could be the best division to watch this upcoming year. Here’s where the teams stack up heading into the 2015 NFL season:

1.     Denver Broncos

Although the Broncos have a whole new coaching staff, there’s no reason to believe Denver will falter at all this season. In fact, with Gary Kubiak at the helm there’s a chance the Broncos offense will be even more unstoppable than it has in years past. However, there are two questions for Denver: Can their defense hold up against the top offenses in the league and can their offensive line be elite?

They added a nice piece in linebacker Shane Ray to help the struggling rush defense, but that won’t be enough stop Jamaal Charles. As for their offensive line, the Broncos lost Orlando Franklin to San Diego and traded Manuel Ramirez to Detroit. To replace them, Denver traded for Baltimore’s back up center Gino Gradkowski and drafted Ty Sambrailo to take over for Ryan Clady at left tackle, while he remains sidelined. In any case, Denver is still the favorite because of their quarterback.

2.     San Diego Chargers

The Chargers have had the most intriguing offseason in the NFL. From their franchise being on the move to their franchise quarterback “almost” being on the move, San Diego has dealt with a multitude of distractions this offseason and they will continue throughout the regular season.

That being said, they have made the right moves to position themselves for a playoff run this upcoming season. They added Jacoby Jones to revive a lost return game, they drafted a power running back in Melvin Gordon and bolstered their offensive line with the Franklin acquisiton. The Chargers have all the talent they need, but outside distractions could ruin what should be a great season for San Diego. 

3.     Kansas City Chiefs

Kansas City is the wild card of the AFC West this season. They signed deep threat Jeremy Maclin to a five-year contract, but don’t have a big arm quarterback. They drafted arguably the best cornerback in the draft in Marcus Peters to improve upon the 31st ranked passing defense of last season, and they still have Jamaal Charles. It’s going to be interesting to see how Andy Reid incorporates Maclin into his system, but nonetheless Kansas City should at least be a .500 team.

4.     Oakland Raiders

Oakland for the first time in over a decade is a promising, young team. The Raiders have a great quarterback in Derek Carr and added running back Trent Richardson and wide receiver Michael Crabtree to help add some weapons to Carr’ arsenal. They also added a stud center in Rodney Hudson from the Chiefs, which should help the run game and give Carr more time in the pocket. The Raider almost certainly will be last in the AFC West this year, but they will, in a few years, be making playoff runs. 

Photo Credit: USATSI

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Maxim Garshman

Maxim Garshman is a Bay Area native who now calls San Diego home. He has an expert voice on all things NHL and NFL, and currently works as the Chargers beat writer for Sports Out West.


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