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2020 AFC West Predictions, Odds, Projected Records, and Win Totals

Eric Rosales

by Eric Rosales in NFL Football

Updated Mar 9, 2021 · 3:57 PM PST

Super Bowl 55
Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes celebrates as time winds down in their victory over the Buffalo Bills in the NFL AFC championship football game, Sunday, Jan. 24, 2021, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Reed Hoffmann)
  • Reigning Super Bowl-champion Chiefs heavy favorites to win the AFC West in 2020
  • Denver Broncos expected to improve under QB Drew Lock
  • Read below for odds, analysis and our predictions on the AFC West Division

The reigning Super Bowl champions reside in the AFC West.

And if quarterback Patrick Mahomes maintains good health, the young phenom could own the division the way Tom Brady and Bill Belichick lorded over the AFC East. KC is essentially brining back the entire band, so it’s no surprise they’re at the top of the Super Bowl odds.

The rest of the division is in a transitional phase. The Chargers won’t have Philip Rivers under center for the first time since the 2006 season. The Broncos are feeling frisky with their young pivot, while the Raiders are bringing pro football to Vegas.

Even if they were in better position to chase down the champs, the NFL divisional odds are pointing to KC. They’re that dam good.

AFC West Odds and Win Totals

Team Division Odds at FanDuel Win Total at FanDuel SBD Win Probability
Kansas City Chiefs -420 11.5 12-4 (24.2%)
Los Angeles Chargers +700 8 8-8 (21.1%)
Denver Broncos +1100 7.5 7-9 (20.7%)
Las Vegas Raiders +1200 7.5 6-10 (20.5%)

Odds as of Sept. 2

Let’s break down the division and find the value bets that abound.

Denver Broncos

  • 2019 Record: 7-9
  • Offense: 17.5 points per game (28th): 298.6 yards per game (28th)
  • Defense: 19.8 points allowed per game (10th): 337.0 yards allowed per game (12th)
  • Turnover differential: +1 (13th)

It was a strange start for the Broncos under first-year head coach Vic Fangio. The team stumbled out of the gate, dropping their first three games and their defense didn’t record a sack or a turnover. Before they knew it, they were hit with a Gardner Minshew come-from-behind win and at 0-4, Denver’s 2019 was already in extended garbage time.

The good news is the Joe Flacco era is mercifully over. In comes Drew Lock to assume the reigns in his second season. He finished last year with a 4-1 record in his five starts.

To give him the best chance to succeed, John Elway has loaded the skill spots with talent, drafting Jerry Jeudy and KJ Hamler to Courtland Sutton and Noah Fant for a nice young group of pass catchers, while signing Melvin Gordon to share backfield duties with Phillip Lindsay.

Defensively, AJ Bouye was brought in to play corner, and Jurrell Casey should stuff the run and collapse the pocket, letting Bradley Chubb and Von Miller terrorize opposing QBs.

A potentially good offense with a trademark sturdy defense makes Denver a darling pick to at least provide some resistance against the Chiefs in the division, but it’s hard to look past that schedule, which ranks as the fifth-toughest in the NFL.

Key Offseason Moves

Key Additions Key Losses
AJ Bouye, CB JuWan James, OL (opt-out)
Jurrell Casey, DL Derek Wolfe, DE
Graham Glasgow, OL Chris Harris Jr, CB
Melvin Gordon, RB Will Parks, DB
Nick Vannett, TE Connor McGovern, OL

Denver will be improved, but as for making the leap, I think they’re a year away.

Prediction: 9-7 (Second)

Kansas City Chiefs

  • 2019 Record: 12-4
  • Offense: 28.2 points per game (5th): 379.2 yards per game (6th)
  • Defense: 19.3 points allowed per game (7th): 349.6 yards allowed per game (17th)
  • Turnover differential: +8 (7th)

Things didn’t start out great for the Chiefs, as Mahomes battled some little nagging leg injuries which slowed their supersonic offense. It was almost disaster when he came up lame on a goal line dive against Denver in Week 7, dislocating his kneecap.

Of course, we know how this turned out. Mahomes came back, got into game shape, then went on one of the most remarkable runs in NFL playoff history. It included a spectacular come-from-behind win over the Houston Texans, when they were down 24-0 before blitzing Houston 51-7 the rest of the way.

It culminated with a spectacular comeback against the 49ers, including a clutch bomb to Tyreek Hill on 3rd-and-15 that turned the tide of the Super Bowl, and eventually led to the franchise’s first title.

The Chiefs wasted no time ensuring Mahomes would be a Chief for a long, long time, inking him to a massive 10-year deal worth up to $503 million. With Andy Reid at the helm, a race car offense with the best player in the league, and a defense that can hold its own, we may be just scratching the surface of the Chiefs’ era.

Key Offseason Moves

Key Additions Key Losses
Mike Remmers, OL Kendall Fuller, CB
Antonio Hamilton, CB Morris Claiborne, CB
Ricky Seals-Jones, TE Stefan Wisnewski, OL
DeAndre Washington, RB Cam Erving, OL

A division title and the over wins total is the wager for starters, and don’t forget to put some on NFL MVP and Super Bowl crown as well.

Prediction: 13-3 (First)

Los Angeles Chargers

  • 2019 Record: 5-11
  • Offense: 21.1 points per game (21st): 367.4 yards per game (10th)
  • Defense: 21.6 points allowed per game (14th): 313.1 yards allowed per game (6th)
  • Turnover differential: -17 (32nd)

Perhaps the only good thing about this season was the Chargers knew that it was time to pull the plug. Philip Rivers looked cooked in his last season with the Bolts, and went out with whimper, tossing 20 interceptions.

The offense coughed it up an NFL-worst 31 times, which led to that ugly last-place turnover ratio. Rivers is now in Indy on a one-year pact, while running back Melvin Gordon was also free to walk, and he stayed in the West with Denver.

The good news is Los Angeles has lots of good things going for them, and maybe a little roster turnover might just be what they need. Tyrod Taylor steps in as gatekeeper while top draft pick Justin Herbert learns and bides his time before eventually becoming the starting QB.

Austin Ekeler is a nice running back, who should have great running lanes with the additions of veterans Trai Turner and Bryan Bulaga on that offensive line. Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram form a fearsome pass rush duo, though the preseason injury to stud safety Derwin James hurts. He’s gone for the year.

Key Offseason Moves

Key Additions Key Losses
Trai Turner, OL Philip Rivers, QB
Bryan Bulaga, OL Russell Okung , OL
Chris Harris Jr, CB Melvin Gordon, RB
Linval Joseph, DT

Just cleaning up that turnover ratio should add a couple of wins. But Taylor was ushered out of Cleveland for being ineffective and the Baker Mayfield era started much sooner than many expected. It could happen again.

Prediction: 7-9 (Fourth)

Las Vegas Raiders

  • 2019 Record: 7-9
  • Offense: 19.6 points per game (24th): 363.7 yards per game (11th)
  • Defense: 26.2 points allowed per game (24th): 354.8 yards allowed per game (19th)
  • Turnover differential: -2 (21st)

The season was already mayhem before training camp, when the Raiders traded for wide receiver Antonio Brown. He forced his way out of Oakland after a series of on-field camp tirades and an off-field recorded conversation with head coach Jon Gruden was posted to social media.

After his outright release, the Raiders were actually really impressive. Powered by eventual NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Josh Jacobs, Oakland sat at a respectable 6-4 after 10 games, in prime position for a playoff spot. But the wheels came off down the stretch, as they lost five of their last six, including a Week 17 L to the Broncos that pushed them out of the postseason.

Gruden responded with a shopping spree that went high-end all the way down to bargain basement. He beefed up the front seven, doling out nearly $78 million in contracts to linebackers Cory Littleton and Nick Kwiatkowski, defensive linemen Maliek Collins and Carl Nassib. He also took fliers on veteran Jason Witten, washed-out second overall pick Marus Mariota, veteran defensive back Damarious Randall and safety Jeff Heath.

On top of Jacobs at running back, Vegas does have a rising tight end in Darren Waller and an impressive pair of budding stars on the D-line in Maxx Crosby and Clelin Farrell.

Key Offseason Moves

Key Additions Key Losses
Cory Littleton, LB Karl Joseph, S
Nick Kwiatkoski, LB Tahir Whitehead, LB
Maliek Collins, DT Benson Mayowa, DE
Carl Nassib, DE DeAndre Washington, RB
Nelson Agholor, WR

Still, in a division where all the other teams either have their franchise QB playing or on the roster, Vegas is lagging behind. Don’t be surprised if Gruden injects Mariota into the lineup at some point and pulls the plug on Derek Carr.

Prediction: 8-8 (Third)

Other division previews:

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