It is baseball season, but there are plenty of ways to get your fill of football too. Our own Hank Koebler, IV is on the beat making his way across the NFL landscape exhaustively covering team after team. These previews will get you up to snuff with everything you need to know about the transition to each 2010 team.
Each preview covers the team's outlook and projection for the 2010 season. We've got in depth coverage of each team's offense, defense and special teams. We'll cover who's in and who's out, rookies, players in their prime and savvy veterans. Finally, we'll look at strategy and style of play on both sides of the ball, as well detailed information about coaches and players.
Check back often between now and the September 9th season kick-off as new team previews are going up almost every day. Clicking on the NFL Football in the right sidebar will take you right to the latest previews each time you come back.
Today Hank is previewing the AFC West teams, the Denver Broncos, San Diego Chargers, Oakland Raiders, and Kansas City Chiefs.
AFC West Predicted Finish
While all the attention has been placed on the moves made on the offensive side of the ball this season, the biggest impact will be had by the under-the-radar acquisition of an entire set of defensive line starters. The defensive line's improvement will have a trickle-down effect on the rest of the defense, and despite the Dumervil injury, the Broncos will look more like the team that started 6-0 last year than the team that stumbled to an 8-8 record after that start. Although their record will be pretty ugly at the middle of the season after a brutal 4-game stretch against the Colts, Titans, Ravens, and then Jets, the Broncos finish the season on a relatively easy schedule and should dethrone the Chargers as the kings of the AFC West.
While a ten-week Jackson holdout would completely sink this team's hopes of playing some January football, they'll still be hard-pressed to win the division. The main issues aside from holdouts that prevent them from winning the AFC West are (in no particular order): the way the Broncos have completely reloaded their defense, the Chargers' loss of depth and two starters in the defensive backfield, the lack of certainty about San Diego's nose tackle position, and the Chargers' offensive line's inability to run-block. It looks as if the Chargers' rein over the AFC West has come to an end, and they will be a long shot to make the playoffs. With so many key players set to become free agents in 2011, it appears as if the Chargers' window of opportunity was closing, and is closing a year earlier than it should have thanks to holdouts.
The Raiders are getting good, but seven years of bad drafts and free-agent classes can't be erased over the course of one solid offseason. However, the Raiders have finally gotten on the right track, and if they stay the course they could easily become playoff contenders in the AFC West in the next year or two. The removal of bad Al Davis decisions such as Jamarcus Russell speak volumes about the direction in which this team is headed, and given all that Davis has done for the AFL and NFL, it would be nice to see the Raiders win a title before he passes away.
The good news for Chiefs fans is that this team has improved over the offseason. The bad news for Chiefs fans is that Oakland and Denver improved more than Kansas City did over the offseason. It'll take another solid draft and free agency for this team to be in position to win the weak AFC West, and another year or two for them to have a shot at making some serious noise in the playoffs. While the Chiefs are headed upwards, they still have quite a way to go before they get where they want to be. - Hank Koebler, IV
Hank is a sports journalist attending the University of Missouri's school of journalism.
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