At long last, we’re here! The final division of the NFL 2018 season. Let’s start with the last team to get a game:
Derek Carr must be so hungry for his first real chance at the postseason. He sniffed it in 2016 before going down in December and missing what might have been his best run. Now that he might have a fully healthy season, he can try to shake the rust off and reacquaint himself with Amari Cooper and welcome Jordy Nelson into the Oakland system. Jared Cook comes over from Green Bay, while the team has enlisted Doug Martin to back-up the flighty Marshawn Lynch. The pieces are there, it’s just a question of whether we’ll see the Derek Carr of his rookie season, or the Derek Carr of his disappointing 2017.
Los Angeles Chargers
Watching this Chargers-Chiefs game, I’m thinking both are fairly evenly matched – despite being down 24-12 in the 3rd quarter at this point, Philip Rivers has looked every bit the elite QB he’s been his whole career. There’s always people who think ‘this is the year’ that Rivers will get his due. They’re potentially the most frustrating franchise in football, but they have a good team on paper once again: Travis Benjamin, Tyrell Williams, Keenan Allen and Mike Williams. They may be the dullest receiver corps out there, but they’ll get the job done. Melvin Gordon is also going to take the pressure off of Rivers’ arm, so I think they have a good chance at a run on the division. There’s no reason not to, right?
Kansas City Chiefs
It’s Mahomes’ job now to prove the Chiefs can win their first ever Super Bowl. He’s certainly getting it done in week one, tossing for 217 passing yards so far (I’m now at the end of the 3rd). My guess is they definitely win this game, and they could have a handle on the division if Oakland falters at all. Kareem Hunt is ready for a full year, even while sharing duties with the man he usurped last year, Spencer Ware. Tyreek Hill looks crazy special, and his chemistry with Mahomes is electric. The defense Come to think of it, this is Kansas City’s division to lose.
I don’t quite know what to make of the Broncos, as the only one I really knew going into this article is Emmanuel Sanders. Case Keenum was that third guy in the Viking QB controversy, and I was really just surprised he became a starter on his own terms. Good for Elway in finding a guy who can handle the team even in an off year, and this may turn into an on year if they play their cards right. Devontae Booker and Royce Freeman are solid choices for running back, while it’s only a matter of time until Jake Butt proves his worth in tight end (there’s some dude named Jeff Heuerman keeping his job warm). Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders are still on fire, while the future lies in Courtland Sutton. Can’t wait to see what this new version of the Broncos can do.
Predictions: Kansas City, Denver, Oakland, Los Angeles
Tomorrow I’ll fit in one last article about who I think, way too early on, are the candidates that most likely make a run for the Super Bowl.