The four teams in the AFC West are probably separated by about as many miles as you could reasonably have going into the 2013 NFL season. Below, you’ll find the odds to win the AFC West, as we put together our 2013 AFC West preview.
The Denver Broncos (2013 AFC West Odds: 1 to 5 @ 5Dimes Sportsbook) won this division by the biggest margin of any division winner last season, and there really is little reason to believe that won’t be the case again this season as long as QB Peyton Manning stays healthy. Manning is going to have the entire offseason completely healthy to get ready for the campaign, and he could be insanely lethal, especially now that he has a very talented receiver at his disposal in WR Wes Welker. Most NFL expert handicappers are focused in on Welker and what he brings to the table as a third receiver in the slot with WR Demaryius Thomas and WR Eric Decker. We know that this is a great offense for sure, but we still question the other side of the football. The Broncos lost LB Elvis Dumervil in the offseason, and this is an aging unit that could have some holes at the back. Head Coach John Fox and the crew still have to be haunted by the pass that magically fell into the hands of WR Jacoby Jones that forced the overtime period that was ultimately lost in the divisional round of the playoffs, and the secondary hasn’t done anything major to fix those types of gaffes. That’s the only concern that we have with the Broncos going forward this season, though.
The big question mark team that most think can contend for a playoff spot this year is the Kansas City Chiefs (2013 Odds To Win AFC West: 6.50 to 1 @ 5Dimes Sportsbook). The Chiefs have really hit the reset button at this point. They have a new franchise offensive lineman in OL Eric Fisher, they have a new coach in Head Coach Andy Reid, and they have a new quarterback in QB Alex Smith. If Smith has anywhere near the level of success that he had with the San Francisco 49ers over the course of the last two seasons, KC could be alright. Yes, the defense was bad last year, and not a lot of measures have been done to change all of that, but the offense was really the embarrassing unit. This crew scored just 211 points for the season. The next closest team in the AFC was the Jacksonville Jaguars, who scored 44 more points than that. Kansas City could be alright this year, but it isn’t good enough to compete with Denver.
Beyond Kansas City is another team with a new look this year, the San Diego Chargers (NFL Odds to win the AFC West: 6.50 to 1 @ 5Dimes Sportsbook). The Chargers decided to finally get rid of Head Coach Norv Turner and install Mike McCoy as the man in charge, and he is at least going to come with a firm knowledge of the Denver offense. QB Philip Rivers has underachieved really for his entire career, and he is going to have the opportunity to once again put together a decent season this year. RB Ryan Mathews and the rushing game should be helped out with McCoy calling the shots for the offense, which was respectable as it was last season at 21.9 points per game. The Bolts are going to need to do more than that if they are going to win the AFC West this year. This probably isn’t a team that, on paper, is as good as Kansas City, but it is the team with the greater upside in terms of a boom. If Turner was just that bad of a coach (and trust us, he was), the opportunity is going to be there for Rivers and his teammates to bust out and ultimately get back to where the perception is that this team should be at.
The most dysfunctional team in the NFL though, is the Oakland Raiders (Current AFC West Odds: 20 to 1 @ 5Dimes Sportsbook). The truth of the matter though, is that we would at least consider this 20 to 1 price when push comes to shove, but for nothing more than the price of a lottery ticket. QB Matt Flynn might ultimately turn out to be the real deal. Unfortunately, we just don’t know yet thanks to the fact that he has been a backup quarterback everywhere that he has gone, including to two great quarterbacks, Russell Wilson and Aaron Rodgers. Every now and again, we have seen this team of dysfunction put together some great games out of nowhere. Heck, it was only two years ago that Oakland ran the table in the AFC West and was right on the verge of getting into the playoffs! Raider Nation is still a ways away at this point, but we still think that this is a team that has at least a degree of talent that could turn out to be golden.
Kansas City Chiefs Win AFC West +650
Field Wins AFC West -900
San Diego Chargers Win AFC West +650
Field Wins AFC West -900
Oakland Raiders Win AFC West +2000
Field Wins AFC West -3000
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