The Denver Broncos finally addressed their most glaring need with their biggest addition since 2012, back when they added the legendary Peyton Manning.
With the acquisition of Russell Wilson from the Seattle Seahawks, the Broncos have catapulted to true contender status.
The Broncos were seen as a talented team without a real answer at the game’s most important position. With Wilson in tow, the Broncos can truly compete with the elite teams in the NFL, many of which reside in the AFC West, which is now the NFL’s toughest division.
AFC West has the best collection of quarterbacks in the NFL
In a game driven by the quarterback position, the AFC is armed with some of the best, and that’s especially true of the AFC West.
Patrick Mahomes, aged 26, is already an NFL MVP, Super Bowl MVP, and a four-time Pro-Bowler through his five seasons. The only year he didn’t make the Pro Bowl, he wasn’t playing. Mahomes is a generational talent, and his presence alone makes the Kansas City Chiefs a threat in every game he plays.
The soon-to-be 24-year-old phenom, Justin Herbert, of the Los Angeles Chargers has put Mahomes-type numbers up in his only two seasons in the NFL. Herbert has a rocket for an arm and shows plus athleticism, making him the perfect modern quarterback.
Derek Carr, the only other 30-year-old of the bunch, is just entering his prime. Carr has been a solid player over his career but took it to another level in 2021, with a phenomenal season. Carr passed for 4,804 yards and 23 touchdowns as he lead the Raiders back to the playoffs. Showing his leadership, Carr guided his team through one of the most turbulent seasons a team can experience.
The AFC West elder statesman, now, is Wilson at age 33. Wilson has amassed 315 touchdowns in his 10-year career, 292 passing, and 23 on the ground. Wilson owns a Super Bowl ring and is on track to be a Hall-of-Fame player. He’s also a consummate winner, as Wilson comes with over 104 victories under his belt.
The AFC West now features three quarterbacks with a top-10 QBR. Additionally, Wilson (5), Mahomes (10), Herbert (11), and Carr (14) are in the top half of the league in passer rating.
Sportbooks believe the AFC West houses some of the best teams in the NFL
The next visible criteria center around the palaces built in Las Vegas. Most gambling sites believe several teams in the AFC West have the talent to challenge for a Super Bowl.
For example, Bet MGM Sportsbook has the AFC Championship odds stacked with AFC West teams. The perennial favorite Chiefs are +400 (tied for first), Broncos come it at +650 (tied for third), and the Chargers+1400 (tied for seventh). No other division is as well represented with betting favorites to win the AFC crown.
The Lines — a betting journalism site that averages the betting lines being used by the world’s most prominent gambling sites — has the Broncos listed as the sixth-most likely team to win the Super Bowl. Those in the know believe the Chiefs, Broncos, and Chargers are all contenders to win the Super Bowl as each team sits in the top-10 average for most major sites.
AFC West ripe with elite talent
With the addition of Wilson, the AFC West can say they are the only division with a bonafide playoff-caliber starting quarterback for all four franchises. Additionally, each team possesses some of the game’s premier talents and coaches.
The Broncos bring Wilson to a team with untapped offensive talent. All-Pro Garett Bolles anchors a promising offensive line while Courtland Sutton, Tim Patrick, and Jerry Jeudy provide Wilson with a deep group of talented pass catchers. Javonte Williams was an NFL darling last year with his eye-popping play and has earned a prominent role.
On Defense, the Broncos have the game’s best safety in Justin Simmons along with a true lockdown corner in Patrick Surtain II. Overall, the Broncos’ defense is the league’s No. 2 scoring defense.
The Chargers offer their array of defensive talent with All-Pro Derwin James and Pro-Bowl pass rusher Joey Bosa. Rookie stalwart left tackle Rashawn Slater, fantasy football stud Austin Ekeler, reliable Keenan Allen, and newly-minted $20 million man Mike Williams give Herbert a phenomenal supporting cast.
The Chiefs have one of the game’s best head coaches in Andy Reid. Reid and Mahomes have two of the NFL’s best playmakers in Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce. Both players are among their positions best. Orlando Brown, Joe Thuney, and Creed Humphrey are also at the top of their position, and give the Chiefs pieces to one of the NFL’s best offensive lines. Defensively, Chris Jones and Nick Bolton give the Chiefs dynamic playmakers to build around.
A Raiders team that made the playoffs last season may be the division’s least-talented group. That said, with the likes of dynamic pass-catcher Darren Waller and Hunter Renfrow, Carr is likely to have another great season. Kolten Miller has shown to be one of the NFL’s best left tackles. Yannick Ngakoue and Maxx Crosby provide new head coach Josh McDaniels with a premier pass-rush duo. McDaniels’ offensive mind should help bring out the best in Carr and if they get a lead, Crosby and Ngakoue are capable of shutting the door on the opponent’s comeback.
With Wilson’s arrival in Denver, top to bottom, the AFC West is by far the NFL’s best division in 2022.