Ed Zurga | Credit: AP

Kansas City is the favorite, but the Broncos will give them a run for their money in 2020.

Findbet continues our tour of NFL training camps as we approach the start of the NFL season. Let's take a look at the headlines coming out of the AFC West and make our record predictions for 2020.


Mecole Hardman scores a touchdown. Mecole Hardman impressed as a rookie in 2019.Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Kansas City

Just when you think the Chiefs couldn't get any more dangerous, they go out and select one of the most dynamic running backs in the NFL Draft in Clyde Edwards-Heliare from LSU. The Chiefs were able to bring back Sammy Watkins to pair with Tyreek Hill and emerging star Mecole Hardman. They also signed Patrick Mahomes to a 10(!) year contract extension valued at over $500 million. Head Coach Andy Reid and General Manager Brett Veach were both given contract extensions after the Chiefs' Super Bowl season, and they didn't stop there. They re-upped their star defensive tackle, Chris Jones, to a contract extension as well. Not much changed on this roster compared to last year, and not much needed to as the Super Bowl champs look primed to repeat with one of the most dangerous and exciting offenses in the NFL.

Prediction: 13-3 (Division Champ)

Von Miller and the Denver defense will be the foundation of Denver's success in 2020.USA Today

Denver

Denver feels like they just scratched the surface of what they are capable of at the end of 2019. Second rounder Drew Lock didn't look overwhelmed stepping into the starting role as a rookie, and was one of the big reasons wide receiver Courtland Sutton had a career year. The Broncos then went and added more weapons around Lock in Melvin Gordon III, Jerry Jeudy and KJ Hamler. They also have one of the most exciting young TEs in the league in Noah Fant. Defensively, the added Jurrel Casey to an already formidable defensive line and look to continue their stellar play from 2019. Denver's season hinges on Drew Lock's development. If he can take the next step, no one will want to see this team on their schedule, especially late in the year.

Prediction: 8-8

Alligient Stadium The Raiders make their Las Vegas debut in 2020USA Today

Las Vegas Raiders

The Raiders make the big move from Oakland to their brand new stadium in Las Vegas for 2020. Las Vegas is known for its bright lights and flair, and the Raiders look to take on that persona in 2020. They added the fastest wide receiver in the draft in Henry Ruggs III as well as NFL ready Bryan Edwards from South Carolina. They have a bona fide star running back in Josh Jacobs as well as gadget RB Lynn Bowden Jr. Defensively, the Raiders need to take a step forward this year if they want to have any chance at competing for a playoff spot. They traded away Gareon Conley to Houston for a third round pick during the season last year and drafted controversial Ohio State CB Damon Arnette at 19 in the 2020 draft. Celin Farrell, the 4th overall pick in 2019 had a rough year acclimating to NFL Offensive lineman and looks to make a jump this year. Overall, if the Raiders defense doesn't take a step forward this year, it will hold them back from a winning record and a playoff spot.

Prediction: 7-9

Tyrod Taylor is just a placeholder until Justin Herbert is ready.Alex Gallardo / Associated Press

Los Angeles Chargers

The Chargers moved on from longtime starting quarterback Philip Rivers this off season and handed the keys to their offense to journeyman QB Tyrod Taylor. The Chargers did draft Justin Herbert in the 1st round of the 2020 draft, but he is considered a raw prospect and needs some time to adjust to the NFL before being thrown into the mix. They also moved on from Melvin Gordon and signed Austin Ekeler to a contract extension in the off season. He comes into 2020 as the starter after he was borderline elite filling in for Gordon at the beginning of 2019. The Chargers offense will mostly go through their run game. Even with Keenan Allen and Mike Williams at receiver, Taylor and Herbert don't inspire much confidence in producing a viable passing game. Derwin James tore his miniscus in his knee and will be out for the year, a massive blow to Gus Bradley's defense and for a unit that was going to be relied on to take some pressure off an offense in transition. The Chargers are headed for a rough transition year, but if Herbert can make some strides in mop up time during his rookie year, the future looks bright for this rebuild.

Prediction: 5-11


Paul George grabbing a rebound in Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals

Barry Gossage/Getty Images

In a must win game for the Los Angeles Clippers, Paul George was finally able to look like the best player on the floor in a playoff game.

After a slow start, George poured it on in the second half on his way to a game high 41 points in Game 5. The performance elevated the Clippers over strong outings from the likes of Devin Booker and Chris Paul as L.A. outlasted Phoenix 116-102.

The Clippers don't have much time to bask in their win however as they have to turn around and play two more elimination games just to make it out of the West. The Suns jumped out to a 3-1 series lead as Los Angeles struggled to find their identity without Kawhi Leonard. If the Clippers are to stave off elimination any longer, George has to continue this level of play.

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Ben Simmons disappointed in the playoffs this season

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Following a Game 7 loss to the Atlanta Hawks, the Philadelphia 76ers and coach, Doc Rivers, are questioning if Ben Simmons is the right guy to be running their offense through moving forward.

Offense being the key word here.

Simmons is an all-world defender possessing the ability to guard virtually any opponent on the court from the perimeter to the rim. But it was his lack of offensive help throughout this playoff season that stood out beyond any accomplishments this year. Simmons joined Rudy Gobert as unanimous selections for the NBA's All-Defensive First Team this year and also finished fifth in the NBA in assists per game with 8.8 per contest.

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The Lakers looked lost in the Valley

Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The Phoenix Suns are just a win away from sending LeBron James home in the first round of the playoffs for the first time in the King's illustrious career.

After stating that "These shoulders were built for a reason," James referring to facing the challenge of taking on added responsibilities after Anthony Davis was ruled out for Game 5, the Lakers and LeBron disappointed in a big way Tuesday night. L.A. started off hot jumping out to a 10-5 lead behind a couple shots from James and a three from Davis' replacement Markieff Morris. But it didn't take long for the wheels to completely fall off for the defending champion Lakers as they spent most of the first half trying to remember how basketball works.

LeBron James LeBron looking on during Game 5Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Two numbers stick out in the Game 5 loss for the Lakers and those are 34.5 and 12. Los Angeles shot 34.5% from the field on Tuesday night and were minus 12 in turnover ratio. No matter who's on your team, if you can't shoot and you can't protect the ball, the outcome is already determined.

The Suns weren't simply beneficiaries of a poor performance however as the Suns put it on the Lakers early and often and they never let their foot off the pedal for 48 minutes. Phoenix ended with 15 more assists, had seven more combined steals and blocks, and outscored L.A. in the paint by 12 points. Devin Booker and Cameron Payne were spectacular and they seemed to hit big shots every time the Lakers appeared to threaten a comeback. Mikal Bridges was effective on both sides of the ball adding three steals and two blocks to help electrify his team with the defensive effort.


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