Trenchtown Sports: Toughness, not talent, will win the AFC West

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Not sure there is any debate that the Chargers have had some of the worst luck in the history of the NFL. It doesn’t matter how talented you are if you aren’t mentally and physically tough you won’t get W’s. In 2010, the Chargers finished No. 1 in offense and defense and didn’t even make the playoffs. I’ll repeat, the top offense and defense couldn’t win enough games to make the playoffs. Rivers and Gates led an aerial attack that couldn’t be stopped and Ron Rivera led one of the nastiest defenses of the decade.

Fast forward to 2022-2023. This offseason was the most aggressive in Chargers history, don’t @ me. Bringing in JC Jackson, who only led the league in interceptions a year ago. Khalil Mack reunites with Brandon Staley to play on the other side of Joey Bosa. They also brought in Sebastian Joseph-Day, already becoming a fan favorite, and Kyle Van Noy, the former leader of Belichick’s defense in Foxborough. As mentioned earlier, it’ll be toughness that decides this division. To avoid a repeat of 2010, the Chargers brought in players that have played in high pressure, high impact games. Players that are built differently. Now, all-world Safety, Derwin James doesn’t have to play 5 different positions on any given Sunday.

Now, let’s look at the rest of the AFC West. By far, the busiest division this past offseason. The Raiders brought in Carr’s college bestie and 2nd best WR in football, behind Keenan Allen, Davante Adams. Carr now has Hunter Renfroe, Adams, Darren Waller, and Josh Jacobs to form a scary, balanced offense in ’22-’23. Those playmakers combined with former mastermind of the Patriots offense, Josh McDaniels, are going to keep defenses up at night. Also adding Free Agent Chandler Jones to play opposite Max Crosby should create pressure on every snap.

Next, the Broncos made a major offensive makeover with one move. Bringing in Russel Wilson puts the Broncos into the conversation immediately. He has led long playoff runs with less talent. However, he’s never had to face this much talent from division opponents. The lone bright spot for the Broncos since Peyton Manning left has been the defense. Wilson and new head coach Nathanial Hackett gave the Broncos a total makeover from a year ago. Hackett was previously calling plays with Aaron Rodgers so expectations are very high in the Mile High.

Finally, the Chiefs. The team that has had this division on lockdown for the past 6 seasons. A team that has played in the Super Bowl 3 out of the last 4 years. Can you imagine if the Chiefs actually finished last this year? That’s not out of the realm of possibility with how the rest of the division improved. Letting your number 1 playmaker will definitely hurt Mahomes and Andy Reed’s potent offense. The rest of the division is happy to see Tyreek Hill leave the division. This division will provide playoff-like entertainment in every game this season.