2014 NFL Preview: AFC and NFC West

NFLThe final portion of my 2014 bi-divisional preview features the AFC West and what I think is the best division in the NFL: the NFC West.

AFC West

  1. Denver Broncos (12-4)
  2. San Diego Chargers (9-7)
  3. Kansas City Chiefs (9-7)
  4. Oakland Raiders (5-11)

Analysis: This should be another easy divisional ride for the defending division champion Broncos.  Peyton Manning was embarrassed in last season’s Super Bowl, and you don’t want to embarrass Manning.  I feel for the rest of the teams in the division.

Speaking of which, I think the Chargers will put together another solid campaign.  As long as Phillip Rivers is still slinging the rock, the San Diego will remain competitive.  The Chiefs will still be competitive under Andy Reid.  “Big Red” and co. awarded QB Alex Smith with a well-deserved suspension, though I think KC will take a step back this season.  As for the Raiders, I like that they FINALLY have a sense of direction, but the talent is simply not there.  Having rookie QB Derek Carr start the season is a good way to jump-start the future.

NFC West

  1. Seattle Seahawks (12-4)
  2. San Francisco 49ers (10-6)
  3. Arizona Cardinals (9-7)
  4. St. Louis Rams (7-9)

Analysis:  Though I think San Fran will give Seattle a fight in this division, I still like the Seahawks to come out on top.  There is one thing being fat and happy after a Super Bowl win, but I think Seattle is still motivated to defend its title.  Hell they might be even HUNGRIER.  The defense remain intact with Richard Sherman and Cam Chancellor leading the way, though I think the key to Seattle being scarier is on offense.  If QB Russell Wilson continues to improve his play, look the hell out.

The 49ers will be so depleted defensively via injuries (Navarro Bowman) and suspension (Aldon Smith and probably Ray McDonald), I don’t see them recovering enough to overtake the Seahawks.  That’s just too tough to overcome, even with a coach like Jim Harbaugh running the show.

The Cardinals simply do not have the same defensive firepower from last season, especially after losing Darnell Dockett to free agency.  Arizona’s secondary will keep the defense rolling a bit, but the Cardinals will not be sneaking up on anyone this season.

Sucks to be the Rams.  St. Louis is a well-coached team, and would be a playoff team if it competed in the NFC East and North last season.  Hang in there St. Louis, …hang in there.

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