The AFC West was one of two divisions that had just one team finish .500 or better in 2019. The Kansas City Chiefs won the division by five games after finishing 12-4, and then they rolled through the playoffs en route to the franchise’s first Super Bowl championship.
But the defending champs are just one reason why the AFC West will be exciting in 2020. The Denver Broncos have been active this offseason. The Los Angeles Chargers will have someone other than Philip Rivers under center for the first time since 2003. And the Raiders? Well, they will be called the Las Vegas Raiders in 2020.
This is the fourth of an eight-part series where we break down the best season win total bets of every division, and odds are courtesy of FOX Bet. And here are all of our 2020 NFL Over/Under Win Totals Predictions.
AFC West 2020-21 Season Win Totals
Denver Broncos (Over 7.5 -120, Under 7.5 +100)
Broncos GM John Elway must see great potential in his team that’s one year removed from a 7-9 record. Elway has made a plethora of moves that suggest he is confident his team can make a playoff push in 2020.
Denver’s biggest offseason move was signing running back Melvin Gordon to a two-year deal. Though current starter Philip Lindsay is coming off back-to-back 1,000 yard seasons, the Broncos love Gordon’s ability to catch passes out of the backfield. Gordon formed a solid 1-2 punch with Austin Ekeler in Los Angeles, and Denver is trying to replicate a similar tandem backfield.
The Broncos also signed former Lions guard Graham Glasgow. He fills a huge void in the interior of the offensive line. To make up for the loss of four-time Pro Bowl cornerback Chris Harris, the Broncos traded for another Pro Bowler in A.J. Bouye. In addition, Denver added five-time Pro Bowler Jurrell Casey to bolster its defensive line.
It’s clear that the Broncos believe they are capable of a .500 or better record to surpass their predicted win total. However, their success this season hinges largely on the shoulders of quarterback Drew Lock. Lock made just five starts last year, though he led Denver to a 4-1 record in that time. While the additions of Gordon and Glasgow will help their offense, I need to see more from Lock before investing in a season-long wager on him and the team.
Kansas City Chiefs (Over 11.5 -110, Under 11.5 -110)
The Kansas City Chiefs once again enter 2020 as the class of the division. However, the question remains: will there be a Super Bowl hangover?
The Chiefs have been very quiet this offseason — their re-signing of backup quarterback Chad Henne is their highest-profile move to date. The Chiefs have to decide what to do with wide receiver Sammy Watkins and defensive tackle Chris Jones. Both players are butting heads with the front office about their salaries, and ownership will have to decide if it’s more financially responsible to cut ties with them now. Thus, there is a possibility the Chiefs will look slightly different entering the season.
The Chiefs would have to match or exceed their 12-4 record from a year ago to hit the over. Kansas City has a daunting schedule ahead, with trips to Baltimore, Buffalo, New Orleans, and Tampa Bay. The rest of the division will also be better and will not have three other teams below .500 once again. In addition, the Chiefs will get everyone’s best shot as defending Super Bowl champs.
However, Patrick Mahomes is as electrifying as they come, and it’s scary to think we have not seen the best of him yet. As exciting as the Chiefs are to watch, I am more than happy to lay off their season win total given their difficult schedule and possible post-championship vulnerability.
Las Vegas Raiders (Over 7.5 -110, Under 7.5 -110)
The Raiders will be an interesting team to follow in their inaugural season in Las Vegas. They are coming off a disappointing 7-9 season that saw them lose five of their final six games.
The Raiders ranked 25th in pass defense last year, and they allowed a division-worst 26.2 points per game. One bright spot was rookie running back Josh Jacobs, who finished eighth in the league in rushing with 1,150 yards.
Las Vegas clearly made defense a priority in the offseason, as they completely revamped their linebacking corps. They added Cory Littleton and Nick Kwiatkoski, two speedy players with good coverage skills. They also upgraded their pass rush with the addition of Carl Nassib. The Raiders did not completely overlook some offensive needs, either, as they added wide receiver Nelson Agholor.
Quarterback Marcus Mariota was brought in to push starter Derek Carr in training camp. While it’s likely a safe bet that Carr will be under center in Week 1, the addition of Mariota cannot hurt Carr’s preparation.
The Raiders’ schedule sets up quite nicely for a .500 or better record. They face the AFC East and NFC South, which should come with some winnable games. They get the two toughest NFC South opponents (Saints and Buccaneers) at home, while a trip to Foxborough to play the Patriots does not seem nearly as daunting without Tom Brady under center.
There is some unknown as to how the fans in Las Vegas will welcome their new franchise. I can only imagine their inaugural season will be successful, and they only have to be one win better than last year to hit the over.
Verdict: Take Las Vegas OVER 7.5 wins
Los Angeles Chargers (Over 7.5 -110, Under 7.5 -110)
It will be an odd sight watching the Chargers take the field without Philip Rivers under center. His 16-year tenure with the team came to an end after one of the most disappointing seasons of his career. Rivers had just one year worse than his 5-11 record last year, and he’s largely to blame for the team’s failures. His 20 interceptions were the second-most of his career, and his 23 touchdowns were his fewest in a season since 2007.
At first glance of Los Angeles’s roster entering 2020, quarterback seems to be the only question mark. As of now, journeyman Tyrod Taylor is the presumed starter. Taylor is a solid but not spectacular 22-20 as a starter with 51 touchdowns and 16 interceptions. He led Buffalo to the playoffs in 2017.
It remains to be seen if the Chargers make a move for Cam Newton or Jameis Winston. If not, they are likely to use the sixth overall draft pick on a quarterback like Tua Tagovailoa or Justin Herbert. Whatever quarterback they draft would likely sit behind Taylor for a year.
Their sixth-ranked defense from a year ago is mostly intact, and they appear ready to wreak havoc once again. In addition, the Chargers invested a lot in their offensive line in the offseason. They acquired guard Trai Turner from the Panthers and signed former Packers right tackle Bryan Bulaga to a three-year deal.
While many people will write off the Chargers entering this season, I believe this is a great buy-low spot. Tyrod Taylor is more than capable of leading the Chargers to a .500 or better record. He knows how to manage a game well and rely on a solid defense, just like he did in Buffalo. The Chargers will win many games in the trenches, and their defense will be impossible to throw on now that they’ve got Chris Harris Jr.
Verdict: Take Los Angeles OVER 7.5 wins