Chiefs Cruise Past Carr
Written by: Quintin Bentley Crevling
Kansas City Chiefs outlast Oakland Raiders to become the 2016 AFC West champions!
The Chiefs were one game behind Oakland heading into the last game of the season. Unfortunately for the Raiders, franchise quarterback Derek Carr broke his fibula in week 16, ending his season.
The Raiders proceeded to lose their week 17 matchup with backup signal caller Matt McGloin while Kansas City closed out the season with a big win against the division rival San Diego Chargers.
Both teams ended the season with a respectable 12-4 record but the Chiefs managed to beat Oakland twice, giving them the tiebreaker advantage, an AFC West title, and second place in the AFC.
The Chiefs were the quietest team to win their division this year. They hovered around the league average in almost every statistical category and still managed to win 12 games.
They did, however, dominate the competition in two categories: Turnovers (33) , and punt return yards (592).
Marcus Peters lead by example this season by picking off six passes and forcing a fumble to earn himself All-Pro honors.
It was rookie sensation Tyreek Hill who really stole the show recording 592 punt return yards for two touchdowns. He also returned a kickoff for a touchdown.
Most rookies returning kicks this well are delegated to that one task, not Tyreek Hill who was the team’s multi-dimensional threat, leading the receivers in yards (596) and touchdowns (6), and rushing the ball for an additional 267 yards and 2 touchdowns.
The Chiefs statistical woes can easily be attributed to a slew of season ending injuries to some of their best players including All-Pro’s Jamaal Charles, Justin Houston, and Derrik Johnson.
With Jamaal Charles suffering his third season ending injury, I would expect the Chiefs front office to begin preparing to replace the once great player.
The Raiders played like a man possessed this season trying to save their organization from an inevitable relocation to Las Vegas.
It looked as if they were going to pull off a miraculous feat and win the division for the first time since 2002, but in an easy late season game against the Colts, quarterback Derek Carr’s lower leg was rolled under a defender snapping his fibula and breaking the hearts of fans nationwide.
Carr was the soul of this offense playing well enough to have his name in the MVP conversation.
The defensive unit was lead by All-pro Khalil Mack who strung together another incredible season amassing 11 sacks and 5 forced fumbles.
Defensive coordinator Ken Norton has turned this defense around in the last few years and they are only a couple small pieces away from being great.
This offseason the Raiders should invest a draft pick on a receiver to round out a solid receiving corps, and they must add some big bodies on the defensive line and a dominant linebacker in the middle.
At the midway point of the season it looked as if the Broncos were well in the mix for the division title in a three way tie for first. The Broncos playoff hopes were crushed as they lost five of their last eight games eliminating themselves from wildcard contention.
Denver’s defense played at an extremely high level lead by All-Pro linebacker Von Miller who had a career high 78 tackles and recorded 13.5 sacks with 3 forced fumbles. The Broncos secondary were ball hawks all season catching 14 interceptions.
The story of the Broncos this season was their lack of weapons on the offensive side of the ball.
The Broncos made the decision to sit their first round draft pick, Paxton Lynch, so he can gradually learn the game instead of being thrown into the fire. Their only offensive weapons appeared to be the stud receiving duo Demaryius Thomas, and Emmanuel Sanders who both eclipsed 1,000 yards for the third straight year.
If the team has a confident quarterback next year and adds another running back or receiver, they should be a problem for the rest of the league.
It appears as if everyone in the AFC West needs to relocate as the Chargers have finalized a deal moving the team to Los Angeles in the 2017 season.
The only highlight of the Chargers season came in weeks 6-12 when they strung together a 4-2 record, beating the Falcons and Texans who both went on to win their respective division.
Unfortunately they had long losing streaks to start and end the season, finishing with a 5-11 record.
Chargers front office fired head coach Mike McCoy who amassed a 27-37 record in his four years with the team.
The team has a long way to go before they are a serious playoff contender. They need to address their aging offensive unit and they must build a defense around Joey Bosa who earned Defensive Rookie of the Year honors.