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Wednesday, August 15, 2012


                                                               AFC WEST

Perhaps the most intriguing division in the AFC, the West offers plenty of story lines and, unless you think Norv Turner’s head coaching career to date has been an aberration, lacks a clear favorite.   San Diego GM AJ Smith comes across as a smug know-it-all whose fierce stubbornness likely caused the Chargers to miss their window of opportunity.  Smith let Drew Brees go after a nice playoff push, played hardball with Vincent Jackson to the point he was begging to leave, and remains steadfast in his commitment to Norv Turner.  San Diego still has talent, but age, contracts, and Norv have taken their toll. 

The Raiders have some talent but McFadden continues to struggle to stay on the field and Carson Palmer isn’t good enough at football.  The Raiders are mind numbingly mediocre.  They lifted themselves from the basement but 9 wins and a hope that the rest of the division falls apart is really the best Oakland fans can hope for.

Peyton Hillis burned through his welcome in Cleveland.  He doesn’t strike me as the type of individual GM Scott Pioli would bring into the mix.  However, the combination of Jamaal Charles and Peyton Hillis as an odd couple Thunder and Lightening backfield is intriguing.  Injuries devastated Kansas City last season which lead to the Chiefs posting the only below .500 team in the AFC West.   It’s a weak division and if Eric Berry can come back to form along with Tony Moeaki and Charles, Kansas City’s only a Peyton Manning vertebra away from punching their playoff ticket.

We assume Peyton Manning will make Denver the favorite.  By all accounts Manning possesses the same (or at least similar) “It” factor as Tebow with the added bonus that he can also throw a football.  Denver made a playoff run with strong defense and a goofy, but effective offense.  Logic dictates that by adding one of the all time greats at quarterback will only serve to propel the team further.  Manning showed no signs of decline prior to his neck injury.  He’s surely to take some hits that will make us all cringe but he’s Peyton Manning.  Until I see him play any other way, I’ll hitch my wagon to the Broncos.

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