No. 2: Los Angeles Chargers
2020 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Justin Herbert has the excitement at an extreme high in Los Angeles. Can he bring the Chargers back into contention in the AFC? With the Chargers we all know it’s not a question of talent. It’s all about health and the progression of their young stars.
Derwin James has been one of the best safeties in the NFL when he is on the field. Staying on the field has been the biggest struggle for the former Florida State star. Same story with Joey Bosa. Absolute monster with health concerns year in and year out. If those guys can stay healthy, with the addition of rookie Asante Samuel Jr. the Chargers defense is scary for any offense.
On the offensive side of the ball it all comes down to second year quarterback Justin Herbert. The Chargers spent a first round pick on Rashawn Slater to make sure they can keep Herbert upright. Can he build on that amazing rookie season he just put together and continue to build chemistry with his weapons?
Austin Ekeler has been one of the better pass catching backs in the NFL for a few years now. He has had some health concerns, but nothing major, so he should be fine. Keenan Allen is one of the best route running wide receivers in the NFL and a great safety blanket for Herbert.
The biggest question mark for the offense is wide receivers Mike Williams. He is a rare thing in the NFL. We have seen the talent. Williams has posted a 1,000 yard season and has posted a double digit touchdown season. He has just not been able to put it all together. Flashes of greatness, and then a disappearing act is all we’ve seen from Williams.
My Prediction: I have the Chargers finishing 12-5 and 2nd in the AFC West.
No. 1: Kansas City Chiefs
The Kansas City Chiefs have been to the Super Bowl in back to back years. Can they keep up their run of dominance?
When you have a quarterback you are paying half a BILLION dollars to, you should probably protect him. After watching Tampa Bay harass and maul Patrick Mahomes throughout Super Bowl LV, the Chiefs made that a priority this offseason.
A complete offensive line overhaul has been the talk of the town in Kansas City all offseason. With Eric Fisher and Mitchell Schwartz now gone, the Chiefs added Orlando Brown Jr. via trade, Joe Thuney in free agency, Creed Humphrey in the draft, and Kyle Long even came out of retirement to come along. Last but not least, Dr. Laurent Duvernay-Tardif comes back after staying out of 2020 to help with covid relief.
On paper, this looks like a very good thing for the Chiefs, we just have to see it. We all know Mahomes, Kelce, and Hill will be phenomenal.
The questions come after that.
Can Mecole Hardman step up in his 3rd year and be that complimentary piece that Sammy Watkins was at times? Reports out of camp is he looks good and far and away blew out the other guys for that second spot.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire will also be looking to make a big jump this year. His rookie year he showed that he could be good. He led the league in all purpose yards through the first six weeks before Le’Veon Bell was brought in.
Edwards-Helaire has to be loving the offensive line additions.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Chiefs will still be anchored by star safety Tyrann Mathieu and defensive lineman Chris Jones. The linebacker core had the biggest overhaul this year for the Chiefs with Willie Gay Jr. and second round pick Nick Bolton being expected to have big roles on the defense. Jarran Reed could be an under the radar addition that puts this defense over the top. This allows Jones to step out and rush the passer more where he really excels.
The biggest question mark for the Chiefs defense is at corner back. With the loss of Breshaud Breeland, Charvarius Ward and L’Jarius Sneed will be asked to step up and lock down the opponents receiving core.
My Prediction: I have the Chiefs going 14-3 and winning the AFC West.