My biggest worry for each AFC West team

September, 2, 2012
9/02/12
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With the regular season starting in one week, let’s look at the biggest concern I have for each AFC West team heading into Week 1:

Denver: The linebackers. The Broncos are actually heading to the season in good overall shape. But can their linebackers make an impact, particularly at weakside linebacker where D.J. Williams is serving, at least, a six-game suspension? The Broncos will likely go with Wesley Woodyard, but rookie Danny Trevathan could be in the mix some. Denver’s defense is its biggest question and it has rise to the challenge.

Kansas City: Defense. It’s only temporary, but injuries to cornerbacks Brandon Flowers and safety Kendrick Lewis and a one-game suspension to star pass-rusher Tamba Hali makes this unit vulnerable against the offensively-dangerous Falcons who visit Arrowhead next week. Perhaps Flowers will be able to play but Lewis looks like he will not play and Hali will be missed. The rest of the defense must step up.

Oakland: Overall depth. It’s the same story that we’ve been talking about since before training camp. The preseason showed the Raiders have depth questions throughout the roster. If the injuries pile up, the Raiders could be in trouble.

San Diego: Injuries. The Chargers have been dealing with major injury issues for the past three seasons and they start the 2012 season with the same concerns. Left tackle Jared Gaither is out and running back Ryan Mathews likely won't play at Oakland in Week 1 and the Chargers have cornerback concerns and key receiver Vincent Brown will miss about half the season. The Chargers are going to be in a dog fight at Oakland, especially because of their offensive problems.

Bill Williamson | email

ESPN San Francisco 49ers reporter

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