This time next week, we will have rookies in mini-camps! Yes, that wait is finally over and football is back. With that, I will be closing out my “Bold Predictions” for the 2016 season. I will be ending with the division that boasts the defending Super Bowl Champions, the AFC West. Here’s a little sneak peak for the week, we have a new division winner. With that being said, let’s get right into the predictions!
Denver Broncos- Other than the defense here, it’s going to be tough to figure out whom to trust. The running backs have always been hyped and then split carries. There will be three quarterbacks playing in Denver at some point this season, which should murky up the offense some more. Your leading receiver is going to be Emmanuel Sanders. He will be the security blanket for all three signal callers this season and he should see over 12 yards and nine touchdowns. Another blanket of security will be Virgil Green at tight end. He has never had more than 12 receptions in a season, but he will have over 50 catches in 2016, which should translate into 675 yards and seven touchdowns. Demaryius Thomas will still be a threat to score when he gets the ball, but I just see Sanders outperforming him this season working out of the slot. Just hope that he doesn’t get that contract before the season starts.
Kansas City Chiefs- I want to believe that Jamaal Charles is going to be a beast again, but with the play of Charcandrick West and Spencer Ware, I have to believe they will run Charles a lot less; though he does have the opportunity to go the distance every time he touches the ball. I would imagine the back-up duos combines for 12 touchdowns on the season and that Knile Davis is released from the team when cuts are being made. This year I believe Albert Wilson is moved to the slot and doubles his numbers from last season. Look for him to contribute 65 receptions and turn them into 900 yards and six touchdowns. You know how Eric Berry sticks it to Kansas City? He goes out and has five interceptions with two of them going back for touchdowns and 80 tackles. After the season, he signs elsewhere.
Oakland Raiders- This is the team that will boast the best quarterback in the division in terms of production. Derek Carr made a huge leap from year one to year two by throwing for over 700 more yards and 12 more touchdowns. This year he will reach the 4,000 yard mark and remain with over 30 touchdowns. The main beneficiary is going to be a man by the name of Amari Cooper. Cooper will average over 90 yards-per-game and finish the season with over 1,400 yards and 12 touchdowns. Look for rookie safety Karl Joseph to be in the running for Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2016, as he will be a force with Khalil Mack rushing the quarterback. Also, Mack will lead the entire NFL in tackles this season.
San Diego Chargers- As I said when the Rams were approved to move to Los Angeles, the Chargers will stay in San Diego and the Raiders will not go to LA. That being said, draft Keenan Allen if you can. In only eight games of action last season, Allen had 67 receptions for 725 yards and four touchdowns. You know what he averaged in his first two seasons? 15 Games played 74 receptions, 915 yards, and six touchdowns. The last two numbers are skewed because of his eight touchdowns and 1,046 yards his rookie year. What I’m saying is this guy was on track for 134 receptions, 1,450 yards, and eight touchdowns. So I’m saying he has 110 catches this year for 1,500 yards and 11 touchdowns. Melvin Gordon will be given every chance to be the man in 2016 and if he doesn’t show it, expect Danny Woodhead to be a monster again, especially in PPR formats. I still expect him to crack over 1,000 yards from scrimmage and six touchdowns, but he needs to be grabbed on the cheap.
I believe that the Raiders did a lot to shore up their back-end on the defense and that offensive line should be deadly as well. That being said, I see them taking the division and getting back to the playoffs. For the record, that makes me having the Raiders and Jaguars both in the 2016 playoffs. I do honestly see this being anyone’s division and they all play one another extremely well. It is also a very “fair” year in terms of strength of schedule, as these teams are ranked No. 13-16 respectively. This should be a very competitive division in 2016 and it’s up for grabs. If the Broncos can have one of those quarterbacks stick, they could take the division with that outstanding defense, but we shall see.
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