1) Denver Broncos
Key Additions: Wes Welker, Quentin Jammer, Shaun Phillips, Terrance Knighton, Robert Ayers
Key Losses: Elvis Dumervil, Willis McGahee, Tracy Porter
Offense: The Denver Broncos offense was one of the best offenses last year in the NFL. Peyton Manning had an incredible season last year passing for 4659 yards and 37 touchdowns while completing 69%. Manning will have a new target to pass to this season. That target is Wes Welker. Welker will bring a new dynamic to this passing attack, Welker allows this team to have an underneath threat and Demaryius Thomas as a down the field threat. Eric Decker is also another big target for Manning to get the ball to. Decker last season had 13 touchdowns which was a tie for second for most receiving touchdowns.This season just like last the Denver Broncos will have a solid aerial attack.The only hiccup in this teams offense is the running back spot. As of now there is competition for the starting running back spot between Ronnie Hillman and second round draft pick Montee Ball. It is a possibility that these two backs could split the workload for Denver this season. If the running backs this season can step up and take some of the load of Peyton Manning’s shoulders this team could have an unstoppable offense this year.
Defense: The Denver Broncos defense will face a tough challenge the first four weeks of the season. Von Miller their defensive leader last season posted a total of 68 tackles and 18.5 sacks while forcing 6 fumbles. Miller is missing the first four games of the season because he is suspended for violating the leagues substance abuse policy. Denver also lost another key member of their defense, Elivis Dumervil, last season he posted 11 sacks and 6 forced fumbles. Last season the Broncos had the second best defense in the NFL. This season this will not be the case this season, I don’t expect the defense to nearly as efficient as they were last season. Their secondary was alright in the regular season but simply fell apart in the post-season subsequently lost them the game against the Baltimore Ravens. This Bronco defense will make or break this teams Super Bowl chances.
Prediction: 12-4 AFC West Champions
2) Kansas City Chiefs
Key Additions: Coach Andy Reid, Alex Smith, Sean Smith, Donnie Avery, Anthony Fasano, Mike Devito, Dunta Robinson, Eric Fisher
Key Losses: Matt Cassel, Peyton Hillis, Glenn Dorsey, Javier Arenas, Andy Studebaker, Kevin Boss
Offense: This offense will see great improvements this season. The biggest change for this team will be veteran Alex Smith playing quarterback. Smith who was a great quarterback in San Francisco will be leading this offense this year. Smith was a starter last season who only played games and lost his starting job due to injury. Smith is a great game manager who doesn’t turn the ball over much and will provide a consistent pass attack. In the backfield this chiefs team will having explosive running back Jamaal Charles. Charles was a solid running back last season rushing for 1509 yards but only punched in 5 touchdowns which is quiet low. Charles had a great upside though averaging 5.53yards per carry which will help any offense. This team will move the ball much more efficiently this season and will see a great change for the better this seaosn.
Defense: This Kansas City defense has plenty of talent on the field such as linebackers Tamba Hali who had 51 tackles and 9 sacks along with 1 forced fumble. Another great talent on this team is linebacker Justin Houston who also had 9 sacks last season. In the secondary they have pro-bowl safety Eric Berry who played very well in the back half of the season. Across from Berry will be the other safety Kendrick Lewis who was plagued by injury last season. Also in the secondary is veteran corner back Brandon Flowers who signed a 49 million dollar contract in 2011 will be this teams leader in the secondary. Dontari Poe will look to lead this team upfront on the line. Joining Poe will be defensive end Mike Devito who will help stop the run and provide a solid pass rush. This team overall will see great improvement in their record after finishing last season in dead last place at 2-14.
3) San Diego Chargers
Key Additions: Dwight Freeney, Woodhead, King Dunlap, Max Starks, Chad Rinehart, Rich Ohrnberger, DJ Fluker, Manti Teo
Key Losses: Takeo Spikes, Antoine Cason, Jared Gaither, Louis Vasquez, Tyronne Green, Antonio Garay, Shaun Phillips, Atari Bigby
Offense: This team has a new head coach this season, that coach is Mike McCoy who was the offensive coordinator for the Denver Broncos in 2011. McCoy while in Denver made Tim Tebow look mildly successful, so why can’t he make Rivers who has the talent, look like an elite quarterback? Rivers last season threw for 3606 yards and 26 touchdowns. Rivers downside was that he threw 15 interceptions and fumbled quiet often. While not all of this is his fault, Rivers simply doesn’t have the talent surrounding like quarterbacks Brady, Manning, or Rodgers. Rivers in my opinion can make it into the elite category if given the weapons. Antonio Gates who had a quiet season last year will again be Rivers’ main target this season and will need to lead this teams young group of receivers this season. In the backfield this team will have Ryan Matthews starting. Matthews who was injured last season missing 4 games rushed for 707 yards, but only 1 touchdown. This team will need more production out of him if they want to go anywhere this season. This offensive line will have to step up in order to give Rivers some time to look down field and make some plays happen.
Defense: This defense this off-season picked up veteran pass rusher Dwight Freeney from the Indianapolis Colts. Freeney will help this teams pass rush greatly because in the off-season they lost linebacker Shaun Phillips. Freeney who had a down season last year will look to make an impact on this defense. This team will also be missing second year linebacker Melvin Ingram who tore his ACL during OTA’s. This loss will also hurt the Chargers, they were counting on him to step up this year. Also the Charges this off-season drafted linebacker Manti Teo who was a headline college story after being the “victim” of an online dating hoax. Teo will be an immediate starter for the Chargers this year. This teams defensive secondary was hit hard with the off-season loss of Quentin Jammer to Denver and Antoine Cason. This teams secondary will be lead by safety Eric Weddle. This teams defense will be below average, but will come up with a few big plays this season.
4) Oakland Raiders
Key Additions: Matt Flynn, Tracy Porter, Vance Walker, Kevin Burnett, Charles Woodson
Key Losses: Carson Palmer, Rolando McClain, Darrius Heyward-Bey, Brandon Myers, and most of their defense
Offense: This teams offense last year was decent, but struggled greatly holding onto the ball. The difference this season is that instead of Carson Palmer leading this team they will have Matt Flynn at the helm coming over from the Seattle Seahawks. Flynn has not done anything outstanding in his five years in the league, but has shown flashes of potential to be a great NFL quarterback. Flynn will not be the first weapon offensively, their main weapon will be running back Darren McFadden. Last season McFadden missed four games with an injury but in the games he played he rushed for 707 yards and 2 touchdowns while averaging 3.3 yards per carry. McFadden also provides a receiving threat, McFadden has a great pair of hands and this team likes to utilize them out the backfield. This team lost starting tight end Brandon Myers who was not great but average at best. This offense will rely on McFadden to stay healthy and carry this offense throughout the entire season.
Defense: This defense only has two starters returning from the 2012 season. There will be many unfamiliar faces on this teams defense so you probably won’t recognize any of them. The two returning pieces of this defense are defensive end Lamarr Houston who had 4 sacks last season which tied for the most on the team. The second returning player of this defense is safety Tyvon Branch. Branch is a top safety in the NFL, but won’t have much support in the secondary to help him besides veteran Charles Woodson. Woodson is way past his prime playing time and will turn 37 during the season. He and Branch will try to secure the secondary and stop the pass this season. This team will struggle to stop anything this season.
- Season Preview: Denver Broncos (thefarmclub.net)
- Wes Welker’s Addition Makes The Denver Broncos Receiving Corps The Best In The NFL (boston.cbslocal.com)
- The Denver Broncos Look Like Super Bowl Contenders (samhorn.org)