September 04, 2006

Frinklin Football Forecaster: AFC West

1. Denver Broncos
The Broncos rode Good Jake Plummer to a 13-3 regular season, a playoff win over the defending champion Patriots, and a home date for the AFC Championship. All this just in time to see Bad Jake come back and the Broncos fall apart against the Pittsburgh. Roughly the same team returns, with rookie free agent Mike Bell plugged into the tailback spot and Javon Walker, picked up from Green Bay replacing Ashley Leile as the second wideout. The defense will miss longtime Bronco Trevor Pryce.

2. San Diego Chargers
The best team in NFL history not to make the playoffs? The 2005 Bolts can make that claim, as they were smacked around by a brutal schedule, but everything -save for Drew Brees- returns. Philip Rivers isnow the man, two years after his fellow first-rounders Ben Roethlisberger and Eli Manning took over their clubs. Rivers is in a fine position, with the best tailback in the game, LaDanian Tomlinson, and tight end Antonio Gates already in place. The defense could be a monster, led by young stars Shawn Merriman and Luis Castillo. This is my pick for the best team not to make the playoffs again this season.

3. Kansas City Chiefs
Herm Edwards is the new coach, after oozing his way out of New York. For a guy with such a stand-up image, he sure left the Jets under a cloud. Anyway, after Cryin’ Dick Vermiel and his offensive show, KC now has a defensive-minded head coach. Of course, he still doesn’t have many defensive players, so the Chiefs will live or die with Larry Johnson and Trent Green. This is also rapidly aging team, with guys like Green, Eddie Kennison and Ty Law all on the wrong side of 30.

4. Oakland Raiders
Is this the Silver and Black or Back to Future part 4? Al Davis, after ridding himself of Norv Turner, hired Art Shell (hasn’t been a head man in 12 years), offensive coordinator Tom Walsh (running a Bed and Breakfast this time last year) and even signed -briefly- Jeff George. Memories are just about all this proud franchise has right now, as the overall talent level is low. After jettisoning Kerry Collins, the Raiders signed Aaron Brooks away from New Orleans, and the Saints are so upset about it, they’re still laughing. Last year’s big pickups, LaMont Jordan and Randy Moss, had middling seasons on a bad team. They should make it two-for-two.

Champion: Denver Broncos
Wild Card: None

PREVIOUS: AFC East, AFC South, AFC North

Posted by Frinklin at September 4, 2006 09:05 PM | TrackBack

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