AFC West Preview: Kansas City Chiefs ‘Clearly The Team To Beat,’ Says CBS Denver’s Michael Spencer

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(CBS Denver) — The Kansas City Chiefs person owned the AFC West the past 5 seasons. And overmuch of that clip coincides with Patrick Mahomes occupying the starting backmost position. With mostly the aforesaid lineup astir the NFL’s champion player, Kansas City is favored to triumph different part rubric and perchance instrumentality to a 3rd consecutive Super Bowl. The Denver Broncos, Las Vegas Raiders, and Los Angeles Chargers, of course, don’t spot it that way. But person immoderate of those teams improved capable to unseat the Chiefs?

“I would emotion to spell contrarian and springiness you idiosyncratic different than the Kansas City Chiefs, but I conscionable can’t bash that,” CBS Denver sports anchor Michael Spencer said. “I deliberation that they are intelligibly the squad to beat, not lone successful the AFC West, but successful the AFC. They’ve won the part 5 consecutive times. Anytime Patrick Mahomes is your starting quarterback, your squad is going to beryllium successful a truly bully spot, not lone to triumph the division, but to vie for Super Bowls. So the Chiefs are the people of this division. They person been ever since Peyton Manning retired, pursuing the 2015 season, and I don’t spot that changing heading into 2021.”

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And Kansas City whitethorn really beryllium amended successful 2021, peculiarly on the violative line, wherever they’ve struggled successful past years. Orlando Brown Jr. comes implicit from the Baltimore Ravens to play near tackle. Joe Thuney arrives from the New England Patriots to instrumentality implicit the near defender spot. Third-round prime Lucan Niang retired of Texas Christian seems acceptable to commencement astatine close tackle. In fact, the existent extent illustration has caller starters astatine each 5 positions.

“Can the Chiefs really get better,” Spencer wonders. “I deliberation they spent a batch of superior this offseason bulking up their violative line, which is simply a scary thought, due to the fact that you’re talking astir a Chiefs discourtesy that’s already astatine the apical of the league, possibly adjacent being amended heading into 2021, if they tin support Patrick Mahomes.”

The Chargers person a budding prima backmost of their ain successful Justin Herbert. The Offensive Rookie of the Year threw for 4,336 yards and 31 touchdowns, some among the apical 10 successful those categories. “With the Chargers, you consciousness similar you cognize what you person with Justin Herbert,” said Spencer. “The question is tin helium proceed to instrumentality steps guardant successful twelvemonth 2 aft what we saw successful his rookie play past year? And what does their defence do? I deliberation that mightiness beryllium the hang-up for Los Angeles moving forward.”

The Chargers brought successful Brandon Staley arsenic the caller caput coach. Staley was antecedently the antiaircraft coordinator for the Los Angeles Rams, who boasted the NFL’s apical defence past season. Whether his beingness and the team’s added absorption connected defence provides a boost to the portion remains to beryllium seen. But going from a 4-3 strategy to a 3-4 scheme, arsenic the Chargers are doing, ever leads to immoderate increasing pains. They volition invited backmost Derwin James, who missed the full 2020 play owed to injury.

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The Broncos are going each successful connected defence aft a play successful which they allowed astir 28 points per game. They allowed 130 yards per crippled connected the ground, which was among the worst successful the league. Their walk defence was a small better. This twelvemonth finds Pro Bowl veterans similar Von Miller and Kyle Fuller successful declaration years. Coming disconnected 1 of his amended seasons, Bradley Chubb should beryllium successful bully form, if helium tin enactment healthy. Denver besides added cornerback Patrick Surtain II astatine cornerback successful archetypal round.

“Two games, and the Broncos defence has lone allowed 9 points,” Spencer points out. “The squad is hoping that that is simply a motion of things to come.”

Despite being a defense-first team, a batch of grooming campy speculation has surrounded the backmost conflict betwixt Teddy Bridgewater and Drew Lock. According to Spencer, “both guys person played well, truthful I conjecture that’s a bully thing, heading into the regular season, contempt the information that neither feline — Teddy Bridgewater nor Drew Lock — is truly separating himself successful that contention conscionable yet.” (Note: aft signaling the supra video, Bridgewater was named the Broncos’ starting quarterback.)

Bridgewater volition pb a young, talented offensive unit that returns Courtland Sutton and Jerry Jeudy. Denver could besides person a beardown moving game. “Rookie Javonte Williams could person himself a bully season,” Spencer thinks. “I’ll beryllium funny to spot what Melvin Gordon does too, due to the fact that there’s been a batch of hype astir Javonte Williams successful grooming camp. I deliberation helium is going to beryllium a phantasy darling this twelvemonth for teams, particularly aboriginal successful the season.”

The Raiders started past play beardown and past collapsed successful the 2nd half. They inactive managed an 8-8 grounds and a second-place decorativeness successful the division. Derek Carr has passed for 4,000-plus yards the past 3 seasons, and Darren Waller has emerged arsenic 1 of the league’s champion playmakers from the choky extremity position. Henry Ruggs III and Bryan Edwards volition beryllium looking to physique upon their rookie seasons. The cardinal to everyone’s occurrence connected this broadside of the shot whitethorn beryllium however the Raiders’ revamped violative enactment comes together.

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“It seems similar there’s ever hype astir the Raiders,” Spencer notes. “They ne'er unrecorded up to that hype. I person a feeling that mightiness beryllium the lawsuit again.”

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