With the 2011 NFL season is a couple weeks from kicking off, the anticipation is growing. Especially after being away from football for so long due to the lockout, I’m sure fans around the league can’t wait to get things rolling again.

In preparation of that, I’ve decided to start a season preview series discussing different aspects of each team in relation to their respective divisions.

So without further ado, let’s get started.

The AFC West has been accustomed to the Chargers leading the way while the other three teams trailed behind, getting little recognition. However, that all changed last season as the division underwent a bit of a shakeup. It just goes to show that anything can happen in the NFL and at any given time. So what do we have in store for us in 2011?

4. Denver Broncos

If there’s one thing we’ve learned, it’s that the Broncos still don’t know what they’re doing.

With Josh McDaniels now gone, they’re under a new regime but it doesn’t seem to be much better than the last.

From their questionable decision to draft Von Miller despite the fact that he doesn’t fit their scheme to their inability to choose a starting quarterback, the Broncos have a long way to go before anyone can consider them a legitimate threat.

3. Oakland Raiders

The Raiders did go 6-0 in their division en route to finishing 8-8, which is their first non-losing season since 2002. It seemed as if they were really turning the page and headed in the right direction. And then Al Davis decided to continue the destruction of his own franchise.

Not only did they lose three of their best players in Nnamdi Asomugha, Zach Miller, and Robert Gallery, but they also went back to their unorthodox draft approach by taking track stars as opposed to football players and then giving up next year’s third round pick in order to acquire Terrelle Pryor in the supplemental draft. I really feel sympathetic for Raiders fans.

2. Kansas City Chiefs

The Chiefs proved that the old fashioned ways of winning through a tough mentality and a potent rushing attack still work as they caught the nation by surprise with a 10-6 season.

Jamaal Charles led the league’s best rushing attack behind a strong offensive line and was the staple to their offense.

What I like best about this team though is that they recognized that this is a passing league so they went out to bolster their receiving corp by drafting Jonathon Baldwin (who suffered an injury) and then making one of the most overlooked signings in Steve Breaston. This gives Matt Cassel an improved arsenal of weapons to throw to, which should help replicate the impressive performance he put up last season.

Don’t sleep on this team as a one-year wonder; I expect them to fight with the Chargers to the wire.

1. San Diego Chargers

The Chargers fell of the pinnacle of the division last year, ending their reign of four consecutive division titles. But I believe they have a realistic shot of jumping back on top. Don’t forget that this team ranked 1st in both offense and defense in terms of total yards.

Phillip Rivers remains one of the most efficient quarterbacks in the NFL and he does have some targets in Antonio Gates, Vincent Jackson, and Malcolm Floyd, but their offense took a hit with the loss of Darren Sproles. Even though he wasn’t an every-down player, he brought an extra dimension to their offense and was a threat to make a big play every time he touched the ball.

Special teams was their Achilles heel last season, but they did hire Rich Bisaccia who should help straighten up a squad that allowed blocked punts and big returns all year long.

Even if they do fine tune those issues though, I feel that their window of opportunity to win a title is coming to a close. This is a make or break year for the Chargers, and they must capitalize.


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