The AFC West division once again had a representative in the Super Bowl, though just one playoff team. It’s a division on the rise. But first, let’s check in on how the 2020 season went.
2020 AFC West Final Standings
Kansas City Chiefs (14-2)
Las Vegas Raiders (8-8)
Los Angeles Chargers (7-9)
Denver Broncos (5-11)
The Chiefs made it to their second straight Super Bowl, losing to the Buccaneers. They were the lone playoff team, with the Broncos having a top-ten pick based on their poor season.
Fourth Place: Denver Broncos
Denver Broncos Team Preview
The Broncos came in last in the AFC West, mostly due to the lack of a reliable starting quarterback.
Drew Lock played in 13 games, throwing 15 interceptions and never quite doing enough to engineer wins.
The Broncos did own one of the best defenses in the NFL, led by Justin Simmons’ five interceptions and Alexander Johnson, who finished with 124 tackles.
Denver had a loaded wide receiving room that will return in 2021. Courtland Sutton missed the year, allowing Tim Patrick to emerge with 742 yards and six touchdowns. Rookie Jerry Jeudy hauled in 52 catches for 856 yards.
Third Place: Los Angeles Chargers
Los Angeles Chargers Team Preview
The Chargers’ 7-9 season may be looked at as a foundational year for something special thanks to one man: rookie quarterback Justin Herbert.
Herbert won Rookie of the Year after putting up 4,336 yards, 31 touchdowns, and just ten interceptions. Throughout the year, Herbert showed the elusiveness, strength, and decision-making of a franchise quarterback. The future is bright for the Chargers.
Elsewhere, the top offensive weapons were Keenan Allen and Austin Ekeler, both of whom will return in 2021.
Second Place: Las Vegas Raiders
Las Vegas Raiders Team Preview
The first year in Las Vegas was anything but memorable.
Halfway through the season, the Raiders were in the mix for a Wild Card spot in the AFC. Losing five of their last seven games dropped them out of the race and an 8-8 finish.
Quarterback Derek Carr threw for 4,103 yards and 27 touchdowns in a solid seventh season.
Josh Jacobs and Darren Waller rounded out the top offensive threats. Jacobs rushed for over 1,000 yards, and Waller caught nearly 1,200 total yards to go along with his 107 catches and nine scores.
The Raiders' defense was much of the reason for their shortcomings in 2020. The unit will need to turn the ball over and get to the passer much more to build on their offensive stability.
First Place: Kansas City Chiefs
Kansas City Chiefs Team Preview
It was business as usual for Kansas City, with Patrick Mahomes authoring another strong season in the NFL.
The fourth-year quarterback finished with 4,740 yards, 38 touchdowns, and only six interceptions.
Mahomes was aided by his two top passing-game targets Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill. The athletic tight end and speedy wide receiver put a strain on every defense en route to a Super Bowl appearance.
Unfortunately, the Chiefs failed to win back-to-back championships off the back of a porous offensive line. Mahomes’ 2020 season may be remembered for how often he was running for his life against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Stabilizing the offensive front will go a long way to keeping the Chiefs in the driver's seat of the AFC.