2022 AFC West preview

Story posted September 9, 2022 in CommRadio, Sports by Joey David

The AFC West is the strongest division in football on paper, with all four teams in “win-now” mode after blockbuster acquisitions in the offseason. Experts all over have different predictions on which team will win the division. There are even predictions in which all four teams make the playoffs. Barring any injury bug or a slump that not many people see coming, the AFC West is going to be a division that NFL fans will be keeping their eye on every week.

Kansas City Chiefs

The biggest story out of Kansas City this offseason is the departure of Tyreek Hill, who is somebody that you can’t replace with just any other receiver. This leaves people wondering: outside of Travis Kelce, who does Patrick Mahomes have to throw the ball to?

Insert new additions Juju Smith-Schuster, Skyy Moore and Marquez Valdez-Scantling, along with a returning Mecole Hardman. None of these receivers have put up career numbers anywhere near Hill’s. Smith-Schuster has proven he can have a top 10 receiving season in 2018, when he put up 1,426 yards, but he hasn’t gotten close to that production since. The defense has also been a huge question mark for the Chiefs. By drafting Trent McDuffie, George Karlaftis and Leo Chenal, they look to shore up all three levels of the defense.

Record: 11-6

Los Angeles Chargers

Many big names took their talents to Los Angeles, such as former Pro Bowlers Khalil Mack and J.C. Jackson. They will be anchors of an already talented defense that contains players like Joey Bosa and Derwin James. Even with all that talent on defense, the eyes are drawn to the other side of the ball.

Many expect to see Justin Herbert take a major step this year. He has the fifth-highest odds to win NFL MVP according to VegasInsider. After drafting offensive linemen in the 1st Round the last two years, Herbert will have time to operate both inside and out of the pocket. Retaining receiver Mike Williams will also assist Herbert’s development as he will continue familiarity in the skill positions alongside Keenan Allen and Austin Ekeler.

Record: 12-5


Denver Broncos

Broncos Country: let’s ride. Denver finally has found their quarterback that they have been looking for since the Peyton Manning’s retirement, and it comes in star quarterback Russell Wilson. Wilson adds to an offense that already has Javonte Williams, Melvin Gordon, Jerry Jeudy and Courtland Sutton who will have their game elevated under an established quarterback.

Denver adds edge rusher Randy Gregory to a defense that ranked third in the NFL in points allowed. New head coach Nathaniel Hackett, former offensive coordinator for the Packers during Aaron Rodgers’ back-to-back MVP seasons, hopes Wilson can be his next MVP passer.

Record: 10-7


Las Vegas Raiders

Two college teammates reunited as Fresno State alumni Derek Carr will now be throwing to fellow alumni Davante Adams. Adams joins an already potent offense that contains Darren Waller and Hunter Renfrow, as well as a committee of running backs that will be used under new head coach Josh McDaniels’ offensive system.

Carr looks to continue his streak of 4,000 yard seasons, which has been going since 2018. The Raiders also added to their defense with edge rusher Chandler Jones to be on the other side of the ascending Maxx Crosby, as well as cornerback Rock Ya-Sin to assist an already young secondary.

Record: 10-7

Joey David is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, please email jtd5508@psu.edu.