AFC West: More or Less

June, 19, 2012
6/19/12
12:00
PM ET
AFC More or Less: East | West | North | South NFC: East | West | North | South

After running the numbers, ESPN.com pro football writer John Clayton arrived at a win total for every team in the division for 2012. Is the figure too high, too low or spot on?

DENVER BRONCOS: I’m not surprised Clayton has Denver pegged to win the most games in this division. I think the Broncos will be the favorite to win the division nationally. That’s what happens when a team adds a legend like Peyton Manning.

I think it is a fair number, since the team around Manning is getting better. John Fox is a premier coach and this program is on the rise. I can see Manning being the difference from an 8-8 team in 2011 becoming a 10-6 outfit in 2012.

The biggest challenge is Denver’s schedule. It is the second-toughest schedule in the NFL, behind the Super Bowl champion New York Giants.

More or less? I think this a fair number.

SAN DIEGO CHARGERS: The Chargers have been a difficult team to gauge in recent seasons. They have been considered a Super Bowl contender the past several years, but have failed to make the playoffs the past two years.

Because of that, they have fallen off the national radar. I don’t think much more than an 8-8 season is expected from San Diego. But I like Clayton’s number.

Any team with Philip Rivers at quarterback has a puncher’s chance. The Chargers were aggressive in free agency and they had a productive draft. If the defense can bounce back, Clayton’s number is very attainable.

More or less? I can’t complain about this number, either.

KANSAS CITY CHIEFS: I have to respectfully -- but vehemently -- disagree with Clayton on this one. While Manning overshadowed the Chiefs this offseason, I think Kansas City had a top-five offseason in the NFL. This roster is stacked.

There are a few holes in Kansas City, but it did get better and it will get back Jamaal Charles, Eric Berry and Tony Moeaki from season-ending knee injuries.

I know why Clayton went low on this one. He probably doesn’t believe in quarterback Matt Cassel. But the Chiefs are so strong around Cassel that I think he should be able to succeed. If this team isn’t decimated by injuries, I see it having a winning record and making a strong playoff run.

More or less? This is way too few wins.

OAKLAND RAIDERS: From 2003-09, the Oakland Raiders lost at least 11 games, which is an NFL record for futility. However, in the past two seasons, Oakland has finished a respectable 8-8. I have a difficult time thinking the Raiders will revert back to their 11-loss days.

I realize the Raiders have taken a step back in the division. They have lost some talent, and their additions have been modest. Overall, the Raiders are on the track for the long term, but they may have taken a step back for the short term. Yet I don’t think they will be 5-11. There is too much talent on the roster for Oakland to go to 5-11.

More or less? I’d go a game or two higher.

Bill Williamson | email

ESPN San Francisco 49ers reporter

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