Friday, September 3, 2010

AFC West Preview and Predictions

Five Tool Sports would like to take this opportunity to gladly welcome the start of the 2010 NFL season. Many sports fans have been struggling mightily with boring, pointless baseball in between the end of the NBA Finals and the much anticipated start of the new NFL season. FTS is going to give you a fresh, straight forward look into each division, starting with the AFC West:

Predicted Standings:

1. San Diego Chargers - 10-6
The Chargers come into 2010 sporting a new look, LT is 3,000 miles away in New York with the Jets and Vincent Jackson, who led the Bolts last season in receiving yards and receiving TD's, is in the middle of a contract holdout with no solution in sight. The Chargers will be able to play through the aforementioned situations, relying heavily on the arm of Phillip Rivers. Rivers finished last season throwing for over 4,000 yards, and connecting on 28 TD's while throwing only 9 interceptions. Look for Rivers to connect a lot with TE Antonio Gates, Gates is one of the most sure-handed receivers in the NFL. LT's replacement is rookie RB Ryan Matthews out of Fresno State. There are huge expectations for this guy, and if he can live up to them, look for the Chargers to make some noise in the playoffs.

2. Denver Broncos - 7-9
The Broncos benefit from having the Raiders and Chiefs in their division, but it still wont help them reach the playoffs this year. The departue of All-World receiver Brandon Marshall to Miami leaves a huge void for WR's Brandon Lloyd and Eddie Royal to fill. I like Kyle Orton, but not as a franchise Quarterback. Orton can definitely throw the football, but I think he needs a top tier receiver in order to be fully effective. If Orton struggles, Head Coach Josh McDaniels has a big decision on his hands, play Brady Quinn or the much scrutinized Tim Tebow. I hope, for the sake of the Broncos and all of Denver, Kyle Orton has a successful 2010 campaign. It seems that the Broncos always have a 1,000 yard rusher no matter who is in the back field, and this year it should be Knowshon Moreno's turn. Last season, Moreno carried the ball 247 times for 947 yards and 7 TD's. I'd like to see Moreno carry the ball almost 300 times this year to help open up the passing game. Denver's defense is always solid, but they took a huge hit when LInebacker Elvis Dumervil went down with a torn pectoral muscle. Sources say that there is a possibility Dumervil could miss the entire season.

3. Kansas City Cheifs - 4-12
After a disappointing 2009 season, QB Matt Cassel is coming into this season with something to prove. In his first year as a starting QB, Cassel was less than spectacular, throwing for less than 3,000 yards, while connecting for 16 TD's and throwing 16 interceptions. I'll give Cassel a break, however, because the offense was developing under first year head coach Todd Haley. The Chiefs made a lot of good moves with their coaching staff, bringing on Charlie Weiss to run the offense, and naming former NFL head coach Romeo Crennel as their defensive coordinator. I also like the Chiefs back field, Jamaal Charles was one of the top rushers in the second half last season, and the acquisition of Thomas Jones brings a hard-nosed running style that is perfect for goal line situations. Wide Receiver Dwayne Bowe has the skill to be one of the best in the game, the problem is getting him to stay healthy. The Chiefs defense is very suspect, but look for rookie DB Eric Berry to have an immediate impact, also, all-purpose rookie Dexter McCluster can make some noise on the offensive side of the ball.

4. Oakland Raiders - 3-13
Al Davis has some big expectations for his team, but I'm going to have to disagree. The Raiders definitely upgraded at the QB position with Jason Campbell, but anyone would be an upgrade from Jamarcus Russell. Campbell, like Kyle Orton, is a nice player, but not someone who is going to lead a team like the Raiders to the playoffs. Oakland's receiving core will lead the league in longest names with Johnnie Lee Higgins and Darrius Heyward-Bey, but that's about the only crown they will hold. The silver and black will feature two guys in the back field with Michael Bush and Darren McFadden. I'm not a fan of the "running back by committee" approach, there should be a feature back, and a goal line back, but neither Bush or McFadden can handle the feature back duties. The Raiders defense will be responsible for any wins that this team may get this season. With Richard Seymour, Tommy Kelly, Rolando McClain and Nnamdi Asomugha lurking on defense, some good things are bound to happen.

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