Ideally, no team would want to be in the AFC West.
This is the top group in our NFL divisional power rankings heading into Week 1, and there are three teams with serious chances to make the playoffs — the Oakland Raiders, Kansas City Chiefs and Denver Broncos.
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Denver is a bit of a wild card, as it doesn’t have the best quarterbacking situation. Yet the Broncos defense is still special enough to put them squarely in the mix.
But the biggest battle we should expect is between the Raiders and Chiefs.
Oakland pins its hopes on the continuing ascension of quarterback Derek Carr, who could be the NFL’s MVP this season if all goes well. He has a solid cast of offensive weapons around him, and the Raiders can overcome their secondary woes with a strong front seven.
The Chiefs defense is good too, although one might be worried about this group’s abilities to defend against the run.
Yet the bigger question in Kansas City will be how long quarterback Alex Smith holds off the rookie, Patrick Mahomes.
Mahomes is clearly the future and possesses the big-throw capability Smith never showcased.
Heck, even the Los Angeles Chargers are improved this offseason. They might be the best cellar-dweller team in the NFL right now.