Doc’s Office: NFL 2018 – AFC West Team Totals

NFL 2018 AFC West Preview

 

In the AFC West this year we have a three-horse race to the finish line. The Broncos will be the odd team out and the Raiders may quickly fall behind as well if Gruden doesn’t get his coaching decisions into the 21st century. The Chargers are my pick to win the division this year (+125 favorite at time of writing). I think Rivers and Gordon can take this team deep into the playoffs and while the Chiefs will be tough competition, the Chargers just edge them out for the division title.

Denver Broncos

Coaches:

Head Coach: Vance Joseph (2nd year)

OC: Bill Musgrave (2nd year)

DC: Joe Woods (2nd year)

Key Position Week 1 Starters (Projected):

QB: Case Keenum

WR: Demaryius Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders, Courtland Sutton (rookie)

RB1: Royce Freeman (rookie) / Devantae Booker

TE: Jake Butt / Jeff Heuerman

Key Player Changes:

Lost Trevor Siemian / Brock Osweiler. Signed Case Keenum

Lost CJ Anderson; Drafted Royce Freeman 40th overall

Drafted Bradley Chubb DE 5th overall, added Tremaine Brock CB

Strength of Schedule:

20th

Schedule Break-down:

Favored in seven games only two of which are by 2 points or more

In six games they are a field goal or worse dog

They play four top 10 opponents and four bottom 10 opponents

Season win total:

Over 7 -140 / Under 7 +120

Doc’s Pick:

Under 7 +120 – I think the Broncos will struggle in the run game which will put extra stress on Keenum and the passing game. Sanders is coming off an ankle injury that had him hampered for the latter part of the 2017 season. I do think he and DT are solid, but I just don’t see much beyond them to be excited about on the offense. The defense should be strong, I will be looking to bet their games under the total this year.

 

Kansas City Chiefs

Coaches:

Head Coach: Andy Reid (6th year)

OC: Eric Bieniemy (1st year from KC RB)

DC: Bob Sutton (6th year)

Key Position Week 1 Starters (Projected):

QB: Patrick Mahomes

WR: Sammy Watkins, Tyreek Hill, Albert Wilson

RB1: Kareem Hunt (Spencer Ware expected to play a role as well)

TE: Travis Kelce

Key Player Changes:

Lost Alex Smith; Patrick Mahomes moves solidly into QB1 role

Added Sammy Watkins; Spencer Ware back after missing 2017

Drafted Breeland Speaks DE 46th; added David Amerson CB, Kendall Fuller CB, Anthony Hitchens LB

Strength of Schedule:

28th

Schedule Break-down:

Favored in eight games with five being by a field goal or more

On the road 3 of first 4 games and the home game is against an improved Niners team

They play six top 10 opponents and three bottom 10 opponents

Season win total:

Over 8.5 -110 / Under 8.5 -110

Doc’s Pick:

Over 8.5 -110 – Taking the over here mostly because if Andy Reid (big if) allows it, this should be one of the most fun offenses to watch this year. Every skill position is loaded with talent and upside. Their defense has several new players at starting positions so unsure how that will play out but I don’t think they have any problems putting points on the board. I think they can win 10 this year.

 

Los Angeles Chargers (of San Diego)

Coaches:

Head Coach: Anthony Lynn (2nd year)

OC: Ken Whisenhunt (3rd year)

DC: Gus Bradley (2nd year)

Key Position Week 1 Starters (Projected):

QB: Philip Rivers

WR: Keenan Allen, Travis Benjamin, Mike Williams

RB1: Melvin Gordon

TE: *Shrug shoulders emoji* (2 TE have torn ACLs this year, rumored to be trying to sign Antonio Gates back, they have Virgil Green but he has most often been used in a blocking role)

Key Player Changes:

Hunter Henry out for the year with torn ACL

Brought in Mike Pouncy C

Drafted Derwin James S 17th overall

Strength of Schedule:

3rd

Schedule Break-down:

Favored in ten games, nine of which are by a field goal or more

Only a dog in one of the first 12 weeks and in only 3 games all year

They play only two top 10 opponents and four bottom 10 opponents

Season win total:

Over 9.5 EV / Under 9.5 -120

Doc’s Pick:

Over 9.5 – With the 3rd easiest schedule this year I must go with the over on the Chargers. They have the pieces in place and the only major change at the skill positions is the loss of Henry. They won 9 games last year and it easily could have been 12 with several close losses. I expect them to be in the 12 win range this year and perhaps make a decent run in the playoffs

 

Oakland Raiders

Coaches:

Head Coach: Jon Gruden (1st year from ESPN booth)

OC: Greg Olson (1st year from LAR QB)

DC: Paul Guenther (1st year from CIN DC)

Key Position Week 1 Starters (Projected):

QB: Derek Carr

WR: Amari Cooper, Jordy Nelson, Martavis Bryant (may be facing suspension)

RB1: Marshawn Lynch (Doug Martin will also have a big role)

TE: Jared Cook

Key Player Changes:

Signed Jordy Nelson and Martavis Bryant; lost Michael Crabtree

Signed Doug Martin

Signed Tahir Whitehead LB and Shareece Wright CB

Strength of Schedule:

4th (tied with JAX)

Schedule Break-down:

Favored in seven games; just three by a field goal or more

Eight games have +/- 2.5 point spreads

They play four top 10 opponents and five bottom 10 opponents

Season win total:

Over 8 -120 / Under 8 EV

Doc’s Pick:

Over 8 -120 – The Raiders get off to a bit of a rough start being a dog in 4 of the first 5 weeks but I think they come out of those games with 3 wins. They certainly have the offensive weapons in place to put a lot of points on the board but I do worry a little that Gruden is stuck in the past when it comes to current NFL offense, hopefully their talent can outshine any coaching blunders

 

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