With the Super Bowl 55 loss the Chiefs suffered, the division shows some hope for the three other teams. Many have Denver as a dark-horse Super Bowl team while the new Las Vegas Raiders are eager to make the NFL playoffs they missed last year. The Los Angeles Chargers are trying to play catch up with their new quarterback.
Kansas City has finally gotten over the hump and won their first Super Bowl in 50 years, but winning one championship is easy compared to building a dynasty. Patrick Mahomes has all eyes on him as he has yet to defeat the G.O.A.T Tom Brady in the playoffs, where games are going to matter a lot more. Losing Super Bowl 55 shows how vulnerable the Chiefs can be. Some might say this is a make or break it season for Mahomes as the team looks to bounce back. With the loss of tackles Eric Fisher and Mitchell Schwartz, these changes show there are some big holes that need to be filled. Acquiring tackle Orlando Brown was an underrated move even though they gave up a first, third, and fourth-round pick for the 2021 Draft. A Pro Bowl selection in each of the last two seasons, Brown has allowed just six sacks and five quarterback hits in his three years.
Raider Nation has a new home in Las Vegas. Coming off an 8-8 season and just missing the playoffs, the team has some work to do if they want to become a serious contender. With a defense ranking near the bottom of the league at 26th, most of their focus is on defense. Five of the seven draft picks were on defense this offseason. Even the Raiders’ 11th overall pick of last year’s draft, Henry Ruggs, mentions that the team should have definitely been in the playoffs. But having a defense that gives up almost 30 points a game won’t cut it, especially in today’s NFL.
Finishing last in the AFC West, the Denver Broncos are looking up. Signing Melvin Gordon with Philip Lindsey and drafting Jerry Juedy the previous offseason, most analysts thought this would add to their offensive weapons. But with not having a team-leading rusher or receiver reach 1,000 yards in a league where that is the norm, can be looked at as unacceptable. Some think it could be Drew Lock’s incompetence at quarterback. The Broncos might feel that way since they traded for Teddy Bridgewater from Carolina in exchange for a sixth-round pick, making Denver’s QB situation very interesting. Bridgewater has shown he can excel from his previous teams like the Vikings, Saints, and Panthers. All three of these teams had adequate weapons at the skilled positions. If Denver can become at least a top 10 offensive team, then a playoff spot is there for the taking.
The Los Angeles Chargers have a similar situation to the Raiders. New Stadium, new location but the only difference is that they have a new quarterback at the helm. The rookie of the year Justin Herbert has shown he is no bust in the NFL. This team has a lot of young players who are eager to show that they are not the clown franchise in LA. Austin Ekeler and Mike Williams are two of the best-skilled players on the team outside of Keenan Allen. Allen is a vet who started his career playing with Phillip Rivers before he went to the Colts. An established veteran like him can help shape these young players into a playoff contender along with their new quarterback.
So who will be the first NFL team to dethrone the Chiefs? Is it the Raiders? Or the Broncos with their dark horse defense? Or the Chargers with their plethora of young talent?