Hold your horses though, this game is more than just running the ball and chasing quarterbacks, we’ve got 2 more categories to consider before annointing the champions elect.
1 : Chiefs (Andy Reid)
2 : Chargers (Brandon Staley)
3 : Raiders (Josh McDaniels)
4 : Broncos (Nathaniel Hackett)
Andy Reid wins this hands down, it’s probably not even close. Staley is part of the new breed of young, ultra-aggressive, go for it on 4th down head coaches. it hasn’t always worked so far but he has plenty to work with in Justin Herbert. Josh McDaniels is on a reputation recovery mission after taking a step back and waiting for the one forward again, time will tell if he’s learned from the mistakes of the past. Nathaniel Hacket looks and sounds every inch the modern NFL head coach, now the Broncos have Wilson at QB he might just have lucked into a roster set to compete.
1 : Chiefs
2 : Raiders
3 : Broncos
4 : Chargers
The Chiefs understand the importance of Special Teams, just look at Dave Toub’s influence on the 53 man roster for confirmation. The Chargers do not.
The scoring system so far has been quite rigid and doesn’t account for the potential gulf between places, for that reason I’ve allowed a bit of subjectivity in awarding bonus points. These are for cases where the gulf between a top ranked team and another is so great one point of difference simply isn’t enough or where a team has one of THE elite difference makers in their position. These have been allocated so :-
Chiefs : 4 (Andy Reid (2), Patrick Mahomes & Travis Kelce)
Chargers : 2 (Justin Herbert, pass rush)
Raiders : 1 (Davonte Adams)
Drum roll, cut to nominees nervously putting on their “I’m just happy to be here face”, the gold envelope opens and……….
The Final Score
1= Chiefs : 31
1= Chargers : 31
3 Raiders : 23
4 Broncos : 22
What does this tell us? Well, it’s pretty much as expected. the AFC West is going to be an arm wrestle to the very end, the in-division record is going to be key to securing the title and a home playoff game. The Chiefs and Chargers have stand out rosters and are among the favourites not just for the division but the conference and a shot at the Super Bowl. The Mahomes and Herbet rivalry is the NFL’s wet dream come true – who would say no to an annual repeat of the OT thriller from 2021? Now imagine it as the AFC title game. Mouth watering stuff. Don’t count out the other teams though, Broncos’ fans will have sky high expectations with an exciting new HC and finally having a proper presence under center. In Vegas the aim will also be to return to the play offs, if the Carr Adams connection takes off they could easily have a top 5 offence.
So in summary – the Chiefs are well placed to make it 7 in a row, but it’s closer than it’s ever been in that time.