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Old 08-16-2005, 07:32 PM   #1
tobynosker
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Default 2005 AFC Predictions: AFC West

AFC West Predictions:

1.) San Diego Chargers: 12-4
2.) Kansas City Chiefs: 10-7
3.) Denver Broncos: 7-9
4.) Oakland Raiders: 6-10


San Diego Chargers: 12-4

Sept. 11th – Win at home against Dallas
Sept. 18th – Win on the road against Denver
Sept. 25th – Win at home against New York Giants
Oct. 2nd – Lose on the road against New England
Oct. 10th – Win at home against Pittsburgh
Oct. 16th – Win on the road against Oakland
Oct. 23rd – Lose on the road against Philadelphia
Oct. 30th – Win at home against Kansas City
Nov. 6th – Win on the road against New York Jets
Nov. 13th – Bye Week
Nov. 20th – Win at home against Buffalo
Nov. 27th – Win on the road against Washington
Dec. 4th – Win at home against Oakland
Dec. 11th – Win at home against Miami
Dec. 18th – Lose on the road against Indianapolis
Dec. 24th – Lose on the road against Kansas City
Dec. 31st – Win at home against Denver

Around the Kansas City area, I have heard too many people say last year’s performance by the San Diego Chargers was a fluke. Are we forgetting San Diego has a great Head Coach in Marty Schottenheimer, the best Running Back in the NFL in LaDainian Tomlinson, possibly the best Tight End in the NFL in Antonio Gates, and two Quarterbacks to choose from in Drew Brees and Philip Rivers? Though not strong on defense, they allowed under 20-points per game eight times last season, and only allowed 30+ points three times (New York Jets, Kansas City Chiefs, Indianapolis Colts). Compare that to Oakland who allowed 30 or more points nine times in 2004, Kansas City who allowed 30 or more points six times, and Denver who allowed 40+ points three times last season, and you can understand why San Diego is the favorite in the AFC West.

Kansas City Chiefs: 10-6

Sept. 11th – Lose at home against New York Jets
Sept. 18th – Lose on the road against Oakland
Sept. 26th – Win on the road against Denver
Oct. 2nd – Lose at home against Philadelphia
Oct. 9th – Bye Week
Oct. 16th – Win at home against Washington
Oct. 23rd – Win on the road against Miami
Oct. 30th – Lose on the road against San Diego
Nov. 6th – Win at home against Oakland
Nov. 13th – Lose on the road against Buffalo
Nov. 20th – Win on the road against Houston
Nov. 27th – Lose at home against New England
Dec. 4th – Win at home against Denver
Dec. 11th – Win on the road against Dallas
Dec. 17th – Win on the road against New York Giants
Dec. 24th – Win at home against San Diego
Jan. 1st – Win at home against Cincinnati

Kansas City will still remain one of the strongest offensive teams in the NFL, especially with the return of Priest Holmes after he missed eight games last season with a knee injury. The defense will still be questionable at times, but undoubtedly better than what we have seen for the last few years. The offseason pickups of Kendrell Bell, Patrick Surtain, Sammy Knight and Carlos Hall will provide a big improvement to a defense that only took a hit by losing Linebacker Monty Beisel in the offseason. Kansas City will once again struggle out of the gate, as I predict we will see them begin the season at 1-3 again this year. Luckily for the Chiefs this season, instead of following a 1-3 start with Jacksonville, Atlanta, Indianapolis and a road game in Tampa Bay, Kansas City will instead have the Redskins, the Dolphins, the Raiders, the Bills and the Texans in five of their next six games. Key road wins could help put Kansas City in the playoffs, but I think the Chiefs will fall just short in Head Coach Dick Vermeil’s last season.

Denver Broncos: 7-9

Sept. 11th – Win on the road against Miami
Sept. 18th – Lose at home against San Diego
Sept. 26th – Lose at home against Kansas City
Oct. 2nd – Lose on the road at Jacksonville
Oct. 9th – Win at home against Washington
Oct. 16th – Lose at home against New England
Oct. 23rd – Lose on the road against New York Giants
Oct. 30th – Win at home against Philadelphia
Nov. 6th – Bye Week
Nov. 13th – Lose on the road against Oakland
Nov. 20th – Win at home against New York Jets
Nov. 24th – Lose on the road against Dallas
Dec. 4th – Lose on the road against Kansas City
Dec. 11th – Win at home against Baltimore
Dec. 17th – Win on the road against Buffalo
Dec. 24th – Win at home against Oakland
Dec. 31st – Lose on the road against San Diego

While many question the offseason decision in the NFL Draft by Denver Broncos Head Coach Mike Shanahan in drafting Running Back Maurice Clarett in the third-round, especially after Clarett hasn’t seen playing action in over two years, I think it was the best offseason move Shanahan made. Considering he traded away Running Back Ruben Droughns, failed to keep Safety Kenoy Kennedy, lost a strong cornerback in Kelly Herndon, and then tried to strengthen up their defense by bringing in four players from the Cleveland Browns, Clarett might be the least of Denver’s worries (especially with Tatum Bell poised to be the next break-out Running Back in Denver). While strong in the secondary, the Broncos are weak on the defensive line and won’t put any pressure on any of the very good AFC West Quarterbacks. Outside of the running game, the offensive isn’t as strong as people think.

Oakland Raiders: 6-10

Sept. 8th – Lose on the road against New England
Sept. 18th – Win at home against Kansas City
Sept. 25th – Lose on the road against Philadelphia
Oct. 2nd – Win at home against Dallas
Oct. 9th – Bye Week
Oct. 16th – Lose at home against San Diego
Oct. 23rd – Win at home against Buffalo
Oct. 30th – Lose on the road against Tennessee
Nov. 6th – Lose on the road against Kansas City
Nov. 13th – Win at home against Denver
Nov. 20th – Lose on the road against Washington
Nov. 27th – Win at home against Miami
Dec. 4th – Lose on the road against San Diego
Dec. 11th – Lose on the road against New York Jets
Dec. 18th – Win at home against Cleveland
Dec. 24th – Lose on the road against Denver
Dec. 31st – Lose at home against New York Giants

Oakland is another mediocre team in the AFC that could make a push for a .500 record, but I wouldn’t expect much beyond that. The offensive immediately got better with the addition of Randy Moss at Wide Receiver, regardless of whether or not he proves he is a team leader or continues to showcase attitude problems. Running Back Lamont Jordan was another good pickup, but it is too early to tell what he is going to be able to do as a go-to-guy. The team brought in some new players on defense, but the losses of Ray Buchanan, Philip Buchanan and Napoleon Harris keep the defense at the bottom-level of the AFC West. I believe the West division of the AFC will be the toughest-fought division, but someone has to finish at the bottom.
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Old 08-16-2005, 11:06 PM   #2
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Nice picks, I pretty much agree with those all the way. The Chargers are going to have a much-improved defense. Right now they're looking at a nasty linebacker corps with Ben Leber, Steve Foley, Randall Godfrey, Shawn Merriman, and Donnie Edwards. There corners, Drayton Florence and Quentin Jammer, are both solid, and saftey Terrance Kiel should thrive after getting some good experience last year.
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Old 08-18-2005, 01:01 PM   #3
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I agree with your top two teams, but the Broncos and Raiders, I think, are going to be playoff fringe teams capable of winning 9-10. But for the most part, nice picks.
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Old 08-21-2005, 10:17 PM   #4
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Astute analysis on the Broncos, Tobynosker. Thanks for getting all these up and started with a bang!

Chargers (10-6)
Raiders (9-7)
Chiefs (8-8)
Broncos (5-11)

This is a tough division to pick. Well, besides the Broncos that is. Not only is Mike Shanahan evidently insane (3rd round pick on Maurice Clarett, signing 3 former Browns DLs, continuing to rely on Jake Plummer, etc.), but the NFL has decided to crack down on cut blocks, which were the secret to past RB success with this team. The Chargers, meanwhile, have a great running game and an improving defense. If Drew Brees and friends can prove to be more than one-year wonders, then the Chargers should sail to the division title. The Chiefs continue to be the Chiefs: great offense, bad defense. Only I can’t see Priest Holmes staying alive all season, so they’ll be mediocre. And the Raiders are very improved on offense, so they’ll do fine.
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