2022 AFC West preview: Chiefs try to hold off everyone

Chiefs have decisions to make before free agency

Andy Reid, Kansas City Chiefs

Sep 8, 2013; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid during the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at EverBank Field. Mandatory Credit: Rob Foldy-USA TODAY Sports

The 2022 AFC West preview sees an incredible division in which any team could win it, but the Kansas City Chiefs are the team to beat.

No division went wilder this offseason than the AFC West. And yet, the Kansas City Chiefs remain top dog.

While the Denver Broncos, Los Angeles Chargers and Las Vegas Raiders all improved — we’ll detail it below — the Chiefs lost wideout Tyreek Hill and safety Tyrann Mathieu. Kansas City replaced them with a slew of veterans and rookies including receivers Juju Smith-Schuster, Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Skyy Moore, and safeties Bryan Cook and Justin Reid. Factor in further additions highlighted by first-round picks in defensive end George Karlaftis and corner Trent McDuffie, and then signed edge rusher Carlos Dunlap this week.

All of this adds up to a Chiefs team which remains a Super Bowl favorite, even if they’re incredibly different than previous versions. Of course, Kansas City has gone through transformations before, and it’s eyeing its seventh consecutive AFC West title.

The real question is who comes into the season with theist chance to catch the Chiefs?

In Denver, quarterback Russell Wilson has been added to a talented group, headlined by receivers Tm Patrick, Courtland Sutton and Jerry Jeudy. The Broncos also have a first-year head coach in Nathaniel Hackett. Will the defense be able to maintain or even improve without guru Vic Fangio no longer in town? The answer to that could spell success or doom for Denver.

The Chargers were busy this offseason adding talent on both sides of then ball. Los Angeles upgraded its offensive line with first-round rookie guard Zion Johnson and bolstered the defense in myriad ways by trading for edge rusher Khalil Mack, and signing corner J.C. Jackson and linebacker Kyle Van Noy away from the New England Patriots. Of all four teams in the AFC West, the Chargers might have the best roster if it can stay healthy.

As for Las Vegas, the Raiders are loaded at the skill positions with quarterback Derek Carr, receivers Davante Adams and Hunter Renfrow, tight end Darren Waller and running back Josh Jacobs. The problems are everywhere else, though. Las Vegas has star edge rushers in Maxx Crosby and Chandler Jones, but the defense is otherwise bereft of talent. The offensive line is also a problem save for left tackle Kolton Miller.

Ultimately, the Broncos, Raiders and Chargers all have reason to believe they can challenge Kansas City. But until the Chiefs relinquish the crown, they remain the wise choice.

Facebook Twitter LinkedIn

Author: Lucas Carlson