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AFC West Preview: Who Will Stop the Reign?

There is a clear hierarchy in the AFC West with the reigning Super Bowl champions, the Kansas City Chiefs, favored to win the division once again in 2024. Out of all the NFL odds for division winners on BetUS, the Chiefs are the largest favorite, which is a testament to how good they have been but also how weak the AFC West is.

 

AFC West Preview: Who Will Stop the Reign?
Rashee Rice #4 of the Kansas City Chiefs | Jamie Squire/Getty Images/AFP

Last season, the AFC West was the only division in the NFL that featured only one winning team. The Chiefs have also dominated the division for years, having won eight straight AFC West titles.

The Las Vegas Raiders and Denver Broncos had 8-9 records, the closest competition for the Chiefs, who finished 11-6. Both teams had their issues, with the Raiders firing their head coach in the middle of the season and the Broncos benching their “franchise quarterback.” The Los Angeles Chargers brought up the rear with a 5-12 record while also seeing their head coach get fired in the middle of the season.

 

Chiefs Still Front-runner

It is no surprise to anyone that the Chiefs are massive favorites to win the AFC West with their odds set at -225. They have won the division for the last eight seasons and are in line for their ninth. The Chiefs are the best team in the division and the conference, tied with the lowest odds to win their third straight Super Bowl at +600.

This offseason was not spectacular, with the Chiefs opting to try and maintain the roster that has led them to back-to-back Super Bowl wins. They re-signed defensive tackle Chris Jones, but in doing so, they had to trade cornerback L’Jarius Sneed, who was in line for a massive contract. Along with losing linebacker Willie Gay in free agency, Kansas City’s defense, which was second in yards and points allowed last season, could go through some changes.

However, given how good the defense was last season and the team’s ability to retain Jones, there shouldn’t be that much of a drop-off in production on that side of the ball. Furthermore, the Chiefs might have gotten better offensively compared to last season, which could overcome any potential issues on the defensive side.

 

 

Throughout last season, there were concerns about the receivers around Patrick Mahomes. Everyone knew Travis Kelce would get his targets, but there wasn’t a clear No. 2 receiving option after that. Rookie Rashee Rice stepped up last season and should be even better in his second year in the league if his legal issues don’t keep him off the field. The Chiefs also signed Marquise Brown and drafted Xavier Worthy, two speedy receivers who should play a big part in the offense this season.

 

 

Chargers Next Best By Betting Standards

A big reason the Chargers might have the second-best odds to win the division, at +300, is the unknown. It seems pretty clear that the other two teams in the division will struggle this season. But for the Chargers, there is at least some hope they could be average in 2024.

After firing Brandon Staley, the Chargers started their head coaching search and landed on Jim Harbaugh, fresh off winning a national championship with Michigan. However, the Chargers’ roster was almost immediately reshaped due to salary cap issues, which led to the departure of crucial offensive players in Mike Williams, Keenan Allen and Austin Ekeler.

Even with those big-name losses on the offense, the Chargers still have one of the best quarterbacks in the league Justin Herbert threw for 3,134 yards and 20 touchdowns in 13 games last season. However, the offense will operate differently with Harbaugh now in charge. That was evident in the team’s offseason when the Chargers went after different needs instead of replacing the receiving threats they lost for Herbert.

The most significant move of the Chargers’ offseason was drafting offensive tackle Joe Alt with the fifth overall pick. They also signed two new running backs, Gus Edwards and J.K. Dobbins, making it clear that the Chargers will not lean on Herbert’s arm as much this season but use their strong offensive line and try to run the ball.

 

Raiders Unsettled at Quarterback

Like the Chargers, who fired their head coach during the season, so did the Raiders. After a 3-5 start to the season, Josh McDaniels was fired and Antonio Pierce took over. Pierce would do an excellent job as the interim head coach, going 5-4, leading to the Raiders making him the head coach in the offseason. Las Vegas has odds of +1000 to win the AFC West in his first full season.

However, the Raiders could not acquire a quarterback from this talented draft class. By the 13th pick, all of the top six quarterbacks had been taken, leading to the Raiders having to rely on either Aidan O’Connell, who was a rookie last season, or free agent signing Gardner Minshew II. Keeping up with the Chiefs and Chargers will be challenging without an elite quarterback.

Outside of the quarterback concerns, the rest of the Raiders roster does have some talent. They drafted tight end Brock Bowers with the 13th pick, adding him to a talented receiving corps with wide receivers Davante Adams and Jakobi Meyers. On defense, the Raiders already have a solid defensive line because of Maxx Crosby and improved it by signing Christian Wilkins.

On top of that, the Raiders did not have many significant losses in the offseason. The biggest was losing running back Josh Jacobs in free agency, but the Raiders will try to replace him with the signing of Alexander Mattison.

 

Broncos Hoping for Turnaround

Sean Payton’s first season as the Broncos head coach did not go as planned, without a playoff push and many other issues. After just two seasons with the Broncos, quarterback Russell Wilson was benched and later released, leading to a massive amount of dead cap space.

The Broncos’ cap situation has forced them to completely reshuffle their roster, which started with trading wide receiver Jerry Jeudy and releasing safety Justin Simmons. Unable to bring in talent to replace what they have lost, there is little hope in the Broncos’ season, leading to their odds being set at +1400 to win the AFC West.

However, the one shining hope for the season is that, unlike the Raiders, the Broncos were able to draft a quarterback. They selected Bo Nix with the 12th pick in the draft. Furthermore, the Broncos also traded for quarterback Zach Wilson while already having Jarrett Stidham on the roster.

There are better quarterback rooms in the NFL, but it at least gives Payton some options. Nix is expected to be the Week 1 starter because it is better to get the 24-year-old rookie on the field sooner rather than later.

 

Who Wins the AFC West?

There isn’t any way around it. The Chiefs are still clearly the best team in the AFC West, and it isn’t that close. There is a good reason they are favored to win their ninth straight division title, and even though they are massive favorites, the Chiefs are the best option for NFL picks to win the AFC West.

 

 

Questions Of The Day

Which team in the AFC West has the best odds to win the Super Bowl?


The Chiefs have the best chance to win the Super Bowl out of the AFC West and are tied with the best odds to win their third straight, at +600.

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