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How will the West be won in 2010? Easy. San Diego (13-3) will run away with the division crown again. Denver had high hopes until reality set in. They're not playoff calibur. Nor is Kansas City and Oakland. KC is rebuilding. Oakland continues to be in a state of confusion.
1) San Diego Chargers S.D. has big shoes to fill. For the first time since 2001 they'll be without RB LaDanian Tomlinson. How does a team replace over 16,000 total yards and 153 touchdowns? Carefully. Running attack will be tested early and often placing more pressure on QB Phillip Rivers to deliver. Future RB hopes focus on 1st rounder Ryan Matthews (Fresno State). A few new faces in place or competing for roster spots. Chargers should have no trouble repeating in NFL's weakest division. Can these guys step up and win playoff games? That's another story.
2) Denver Broncos 2009 was a tale of two seasons. They stampeded out of the gate to 6-0 glory only to stumble losing 6 of final 8. Defense was solid for 1st six, miserable the rest of the way. Offense never found fluidity. Running game was inefficient. Passing game suffered outside of Brandon Marshall. Injuries piled up. Drafting was focused on offense. Demaryius Thomas (Georgia Tech) is an impact WR who will pay immediate dividends stretching opposing defenses. No one knows for sure if QB Tim Tebow can handle NFL pressure. We'll soon find out in training camp. Many question marks surrounding Denver. Probably just another .500 season on the way? Dropping to 3rd if they're not careful.
3) Kansas City Chiefs Chiefs rebuilding in a hurry. Solid pieces in place on both sides of line. Draft secured hard nosed safety Eric Berry from Tennessee regarded as a gamer with great instincts. The only way to go is up after a harsh 4-12 '09. KC has a few years to go but don't be surprised at all if these guys finish in 2nd place.
4) Oakland Raiders Six games in single digits says all one needs to know about how far this team has fallen. Year after year of great draft position has produced very little to speak of except for monumental busts. JaMarcus Russell was the NFL's #1 draft pick in 2007. An abomination on and off the field. He's gone. Replaced by another inefficient QB, Jason Campbell. This team has self destructed from top (Al Davis) to bottom. No help in sight. Raider Nation will not be happy campers in 2010.