It’s hard to talk dynasty when the title run ends at one. And the Kansas City Chiefs were served a hefty helping of humble pie at Tampa in early February as Andy Reid’s reigning champions were dethroned by the Buccaneers. Now Patrick Mahomes and company will look to make it three straight conference championships and two Lombardi Trophies in three years. But will the Raiders, Chargers, and Broncos – none of which has managed a winning campaign each of the past two seasons – offer a serious challenge to the AFC West champions? This NFL series continues…
NOTE: 2020 win-loss records include playoffs
Kansas City Chiefs (16-3)
Andy Reid’s team was rocked by the Buccaneers in Super Bowl LV as the Chiefs’ potent offense was limited to three field goals. The club was minus offensive line bookends Eric Fisher and Mitchell Schwartz and now both players are no longer with the franchise. The search is on for starting tackles on a new-look front that now featured guards Joe Thuney (Patriots) and former Bears’ three-time Pro Bowler Kyle Long.
Las Vegas Raiders (8-8)
It’s been another busy offseason for the Silver and Black and the majority of the action has come regarding the offensive line. When the smoke cleared, tackle Trent Brown (Patriots), guard Gabe Jackson (Seahawks) and center Rodney Hudson (Cardinals) wound up being dealt to other teams. But when it comes to this club, fixing the defense has been a monumental task and something the Raiders have failed to do for far too long.
Los Angeles Chargers (7-9)
The new head is Brandon Riley, who made quite the impact on the Los Angeles Rams’ defense this past season. The Bolts’ offense is led by 2020 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Justin Herbert. He has a new target in tight end Jared Cook and a front bolstered by center Corey Linsley (Packers). Riley and defensive coordinator Renaldo Hill have to find a way to get more big plays/takeaways from the NFL’s 10th-ranked unit.
Denver Broncos (5-11)
Far too many starting quarterbacks and other issues have contributed to four consecutive losing seasons. The Broncos finished strong in 2019 but never recaptured that momentum and not having star outside linebacker Von Miller didn’t help. John Elway hired a general manager in George Paton and both must settle on a reliable answer behind center. Drew Lock wound up with 18 of the team’s NFL-high 32 turnovers in ’20.