url: http://perfectpickem.com/nfl/article/2015/08/nfl-preview-2015-afc-west/ NFL Preview 2015: AFC West | Perfect Pick'em

NFL Preview 2015: AFC West

By Mario Hammond

August 8, 2015 - 11:26 am


The NFL Preview series will focus on each division, then each conference, and finally a full league-wide preview. You can view them all here. First up: the AFC West.

DENVER BRONCOS

Jeffrey Beall

Jeffrey Beall

Head Coach: Gary Kubiak

2014 Record: 12-4

Division Rank: 1st

Season Finish: Lost in Divisional Round

Star Player: Peyton Manning (QB) – The 5-time NFL MVP is going into his 18th (and possibly final) season in the league. Coach Kubiak plans to install a run-heavy system in order to keep Manning fresh down the stretch, but the team will only go as far as Peyton takes them.

Key Additions: Owen Daniels (TE), Shane Ray (LB), Ryan Harris (T)

Notable Departures: Julius Thomas (TE), Terrance Knighton (DT), Rahim Moore (FS), Orlando Franklin (T), Nate Irving (LB)

Stories To Watch: One of Denver’s top priorities will be retooling the offensive line, especially finding a replacement for LT Ryan Clady who will miss the season after tearing his ACL. Also the Broncos will look to build upon their Top-3 defense from last year with new coordinator Wade Phillips, replacing the departed Jack Del Rio.

Projected Regular Season Record: 13-3 (1st in division)

Championship Contender Potential: HIGH

SAN DIEGO CHARGERS

Nathan Rupert

Nathan Rupert

Head Coach: Mike McCoy

2014 Record: 9-7

Division Rank: T-2nd

Season Finish: Did Not Make Playoffs

Star Player: Philip Rivers (QB) – Though he’s entering his 12th season in the league and his future with the Chargers still a bit cloudy, Rivers is still one of the top QBs in the league.

Key Additions: Orlando Franklin (G), Jacoby Jones (WR), Patrick Robinson (CB), Melvin Gordon (RB), Steve Johnson (WR)

Notable Departures: Ryan Mathews (RB), Seyi Ajirotutu (WR), Eddie Royal (WR), Marcus Gilchrist (FS)

Stories To Watch: It will be interesting to see how quickly first-round pick Melvin Gordon will adjust to being the feature back on day one. And with Antonio Gates suspended for four games to begin the season, will receivers Keenan Allen, Malcom Floyd, and Ladarius Green pick up the slack in the red zone?

Projected Regular Season Record: 10-6 (2nd in division)

Championship Contender Potential: MEDIUM

KANSAS CITY CHIEFS

Barry Lenard

Barry Lenard

Head Coach: Andy Reid

2014 Record: 9-7

Division Rank: T-2nd

Season Finish: Did Not Make Playoffs

Star Player: Jamaal Charles (RB) – The all-world back is a threat in both the air and ground game, with the potential to turn any play into a homerun.

Key Additions: Jeremy Maclin (WR), Jason Avant (WR), Tyvon Branch (SS), Ben Grubbs (G), Marcus Peters (CB)

Notable Departures: Dwayne Bowe (WR), Anthony Fasano (TE), Ryan Harris (T), Kurt Coleman (SS)

Stories To Watch: Not one Chiefs receiver caught a touchdown pass last season, so the Chiefs brought in former Eagles receivers Maclin and Avant to address that issue. And the defense will need to find players in addition to Justin Houston and Tamba Hali to anchor the defense.

Projected Regular Season Record: 9-7 (3rd in division)

Championship Contender Potential: MEDIUM

OAKLAND RAIDERS

Screenshot

Screenshot

Head Coach: Jack Del Rio

2014 Record: 3-13

Division Rank: 4th

Season Finish: Did Not Make Playoffs

Star Player: Khalil Mack (LB) – Though the Raiders defensive stud flourished his rookie year at LB, Coach Del Rio’s defensive scheme may cause an increase of reps at defensive end.

Key Additions: Michael Crabtree (WR), Dan Williams (DT), Roy Helu (RB), Rodney Hudson (C), Amari Cooper (WR), Trent Richardson (RB)

Notable Departures: LaMarr Woodley (DE), Darren McFadden (RB), Tyvon Branch (SS), Matt Schaub (QB),Denarius Moore (WR)

Stories To Watch: It will be interesting to see the progression of second year QB Derek Carr throughout the season. And with the additions of Michael Crabtree, Roy Helu, and rookie Amari Cooper, he seems to have better weapons to use in the passing game.

Projected Regular Season Record: 6-10 (4th in division)

Championship Contender Potential: LOW

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