2017 AFC West Off Season Report Cards, Odds: Chiefs, Broncos, Raiders, Chargers

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Published on:
Jun/18/2017

ESPN.com issued its off season report cards on the AFC West for 2017 while Gambling911.com has its picks based on the best futures odds.

Oakland Raiders - Instead of trying to keep together the entirety of a defense that ranked a middling 23rd in DVOA last season, general manager Reggie McKenzie was comfortable letting some regulars leave, Bill Barnwell of ESPN.com writes.  But they also acquired Marshawn Lynch from Seattle. 

There are questions about Oakland’s front seven.

The Raiders aren't thirsty for live bodies anymore, but they have holes in their lineup and cap space to address those spots.

Kansas City Chiefs – They made news by giving up Jeremy Maclin after Barnwell submitted his AFC West report card.  And he had already graded the Chiefs with just a C+.

Denver Broncos – The Broncos improved their offensive and defensive lines.

In regard to the offensive line, Barnwell writes:

The Broncos' offense was done in last season by a porous line, which failed to open holes in the running game or give Denver's quarterbacks enough time to get the ball out in Gary Kubiak's slow-developing passing attack. Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch were pressured on 31.5 percent of their dropbacks last season, which tied Denver with San Diego for the sixth-highest rate in the league. The Broncos' rushing attack, meanwhile, finished 30th in rushing DVOA, which was the worst ranking for a Kubiak-led running game since the 2009 Texans.

While the pass defense was excellent last season, the run defense was mediocre at best.  That should change according to Barnwell.

(John) Elway shot in during the offseason by swapping out nose tackle Sylvester Williams for longtime Bengals stalwart Domata Peko. If Peko can hold up for 500 snaps, the Broncos should get an anchor to help solidify their rushing defense. (Derek) Wolfe and Jared Crick will have more depth; they'll be backed up by a pair of second-rounders in 2016 draftee Adam Gotsis and rookie DeMarcus Walker. The Broncos passed on re-signing Vance Walker in March, but with his market nonexistent, they might be able to bring their former starter back into the fold.

Unfortunately losing Wade Phillips might hurt but Denver hopes replacing him with Vance Joseph could suffice.

The Broncos should be able to win at least 9 regular season games at EVEN odds.

Los Angeles Chargers – The biggest move in the off season for the Chargers was that they relocated to LA and lost a good chunk of their fan base in San Diego as a result.

They did make waves by drafting Mike Williams while addressing a weak offensive line.

Barnwell writes:

It was time for the Chargers to move on from disappointing veterans such as King Dunlap and D.J. Fluker, and they invested heavily up front. Russell Okung was able to stay healthy during his lone season in Denver and did enough to justify a long-term deal. The four-year, $53 million deal he signed gives the former Seahawks standout $39.5 million over the first three seasons. Los Angeles then used its second- and third-round picks on guards Forrest Lamp and Dan Feeney, which led to the release of Orlando Franklin, who never lived up to the five-year, $36.5 million deal he signed with San Diego before the 2015 season.

Okung does have a history of injuries and there are questions about how the rookie guards might perform.  As a result Barnwell graded the Chargers with a C+.

They are favored to win OVER 7.5 regular season games and, on paper at least. Look like a .500 team.

- Mary Montgomery, Gambling911.com

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