Is the AFC West the best division in football?
Hell yeah it is. At least, according to the football players competing inside the four-team slaughterhouse.
“My opinion—and you can argue it—is it’s the best division in football,” world-class safety Justin Simmons said of the AFC West on Wednesday. “The Chiefs, Raiders, Chargers and now us—we have ‘Russ’ (QB Russell Wilson) and a bunch of additions—Randy Gregory, D.J. Jones, K’Waun [Williams]. I can go down the list of guys that we have.”
Simmons is right, too.
With the addition of Russell Wilson, the AFC West now boasts three quarterbacks in the Top-10, and maybe all four in the Top-15. Right after the Wilson trade, we looked at which team has the best QB; where do the Broncos rank?
Look, Patrick Mahomes is probably the best quarterback in the NFL today, so he’s the reigning leader of the West. Carr is good, but not great, and is last of the bunch. Where does that leave Justin Herbert and Wilson? Well, it’s splitting hairs at that point.
But, depending on what you value more — youth or experience — you’ll land on the better player. Simply, Herbert may become even greater than we’ve seen in his first two years, but give me Wilson’s experience (and much smaller turnover numbers) over Herbert.
Wilson has given the Broncos a legitimate quarterback — and a superstar at that — for the first time since Peyton Manning retired in Feb. of 2016. Of course, though, he alone won’t win the AFC West for the Broncos.
And considering the Broncos have lost 13 straight games to the Chiefs (not a typo), with the Chiefs winning the West six straight times over that span, Simmons knows how crucial it is to take the divisional crown.
“It’s super important,” Simmons said of winning the division in 2022. “We all know what it’s been like the past five years playing in the west. It’s going to be like primetime every single time an AFC West game is on. It’s going to be all chips in the middle of the table every time one of those four teams are playing each other. You have to embrace it. Part of being a competitor is embracing the best parts of it.”
Simmons certainly has embraced the challenge, and he’s been fantastic against Mahomes and the rest of the West. But, the young, star safety wants to make the postseason and to be a divisional champion, too.
“If you want to be the best, you have to go up against the best,” Simmons continued. “We’re in the best division. What a way to go into postseason if you’re on top of that division. That’s really all that’s at the top of our mind. We preach it every single day and how important it is to win the west. It’s going to be a great year.”
For Broncos Country, it is going to be a great year.
Wilson is now the quarterback which will give the Broncos offense a much-needed shot in the arm. So will Nathaniel Hackett — the new head coach — with his new, more explosive offensive system.
And George Paton has gone all-in, signing guys like Gregory, Jones, Williams, while bringing back Kareem Jackson and Josey Jewell. The defensive side of the ball is just as stacked as the offensive side, however, Paton needs to search for depth at edge, corner, inside linebacker and interior defensive line in the NFL Draft.
Paton said last week, “It’s a blessing” to not have a first-round pick, thanks to having Wilson at quarterback. And the Broncos are in good hands with Paton steering the ship.