Is it ever too early to make predictions for the upcoming season? Well yes, yes it is. However, unless you enjoy reading about the never-ending stream of NFL players being sent to the big house, (let's be honest, we only enjoy those stories if it's a Lions player) we have to fill our time in other ways. With that in mind, I decided to start a series of posts detailing my very, very early predictions for each team in the NFL. I'm gonna start in the AFC and work my way through each division, ending with the NFC North and our beloved Bears. Keep in mind, these predictions might not all be considered "bold", so don't be that guy who doesn't read the whole post, assumes they're bold predictions and goes on a rant about the lack of boldness. If you do, may you be struck down with the might of a certain hurricane Ditka. So with all that said, we begin with the AFC West. Hit the comments with your thoughts.
Edit: I have arranged the teams in order of how I see them finishing in their division, starting with first place.
Denver Broncos: Peyton Manning and Wes Welker will dink-and-dunk teams to death during the regular season, only to lose in the playoffs. I say this believing that Manning is one of, if not the best QB to ever play the game. Having said that, something seems to happen to him in the playoffs. As great as he is in the regular season, he's just 9-11 in playoff games and has 8 one-and-done postseason campaigns. Not to mention Welker's propensity for dropping wide open touchdown passes and Rahim Moore's baffling lapse in judgement on 2nd and 72 against the Ravens, it doesn't leave us with too much confidence in that other blue and orange team's postseason chances.
Kansas City Chiefs: The Chiefs will finish 2nd in their division with an 8-8 record. That may seem like an awfully low record for a second place team and an awfully high record for a team that made the first overall selection just months ago in the draft, but hear me out. Offensive line has improved, QB has improved, Coaching has improved. Those three things alone could easily give them a few wins. Four of their losses last year were by only one score. They are a very talented team for their record and I'd bet they are vastly improved next year.
San Diego Chargers: This will be Ryan Mathews' last year with the team, and by year I mean the 8 games that he is actually healthy enough to play in. Mathews has been a disappointment to say the least since he was drafted in 2010. In his three years with the team, he has gained only 2,476 yards and eclipsed 1,000 yards only once. He has also failed to get more than 7 touchdowns in any of his three years, bringing in just one last year. If this trend continues, which I believe it will, he will be looking for a job at the end of the season.
Oakland Raiders: The Oakland Raidahs will own the first overall pick in the 2014 NFL draft. The offense was horrible last year and has possibly gotten worse in the offseason. They swapped Carson Palmer for a guy who was signed to a huge free agent contract only to be beaten out by a 3rd round rookie (yes, a pretty good one) and promptly traded after a season of riding the bench. Not that Palmer was lighting it up or anything, but Flynn must be pretty bad for the Seahawks brass to bite such a large bullet. "But they have Darren McFadden!" you say. "He's one of the most talented runners in the league!" you say. I agree with both of your statements, but talent doesn't do too much when you're stuck in the trainer's room. In his five years, he hasn't started more than 13 games and has averaged about 8 over his career. As a bonus prediction, I wouldn't be surprised if McFadden faces the same fate as Mathews if he can't stay on the field.