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M21 AFC West Preview

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Old 08-18-2020, 01:19 PM   #1
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M21 AFC West Preview

The AFC West is an interesting division that sees 3 (!!) of these teams controlled by IRL fans of the team. That always makes things a little bit more interesting and we should see some pretty fiery rivalries develop in this division. Ace returns to his Chargers which are stacked with young talent but struggled to stay competitive last cycle. Raider Nation finally gets his crack at running the silver and black after he may have been the most improved player in the entire league over the M19 cycle. BBJ takes over the defending super bowl champions and this team does exactly the OPPOSITE of what BBJ usually does best. Can he take advantage of the best QB in the league and explosive playmakers all over? Then there is the ever consistent Automatik returning to his Broncos, the only team he has ever known over his HAWFL career. However, this may be the most stacked the Broncos have been with young talent in the entire time he has had them.

Team Ratings**Per Madden School, pre-release**
Broncos-78 OVR (T-18th)
Chiefs-82 OVR (T-4th)
Chargers-81 OVR (T-5th)
Raiders-81 OVR (T-5th)

Denver Broncos Owner-Automatik

Key Players-
OLB Von Miller (97 OVR)
Miller has long been the lifeblood of this defense and I donít see that changing anytime soon. As a true fan, Auto refuses to trade Von (trust me, I have tried), and who can blame him as this guy boasts 87 spd, 89 acc, 94 PMV, 90 FMV, and 94 BSH! Von may be on the wrong side of his prime at 31 but he is still an elite pass rusher.

WR Courtland Sutton (84 OVR) One of the breakout stars of last season, Sutton will be looked to as THE MAN amongst a young WR corps this season. This Broncos WR group is athletic and young as even Sutton is only 24. Auto has always been a very good offensive player and this cycle he starts off with guys perfectly suited to his offense already.

Building Blocks
QB Drew Lock (70 OVR)
Jeudy would have made sense here as I expect Auto to turn him and Sutton into one of the best WR duos in the league rather quickly. However, so much of their success will be riding on the development of Drew Lock. Lock looked very good at the end of last year and Iím slightly surprised to see him rated below some of this years rookie class. The Broncos have done their part, investing in weapons to surround Lock with, now the Missouri products must show what he is made of.

OLB Bradley Chubb (81 OVR) Chubb is still developing and has a great teacher in Von Miller. The Broncos secondary is amongst the best (top 10 in both man and zone) and combining them with two premier pass rushers will make this team tough to deal with

Outlook
Auto enters the cycle as the biggest division favorite in the league in my opinion. He has proven to be a top tier player in the past and the irl Broncos have accelerated his build with some of the playmakers they have added recently. Despite entering the season as the lowest rated team in the cycle, I will have Auto penciled in as the division winner until someone rises up and proves me wrong.

Kansas City Chiefs Owner-BBJ
Key Players
QB Patrick Mahomes (99 OVR)
Mahomes is just 24 years old and now has a 10 year contract. He will be the guy in KC through the entire cycle but the question will be can BBJ make the most of his once in a lifetime abilities.

DT Chris Jones (92 OVR) S Mathieu (93) really elevates this defense but Jones is the glue that holds the thing together. He is also the recipient of a big new contract so the Chiefs will be tied to him for most of the cycle. Jones is one of the best pass rushers you will find at the DL positions with 95 PMV and 89 FMV but the entire team is suspect against the run, ranking 24th in the league.

Building Blocks
CB Charvarius Ward (76 OVR)
DT Derek Nnadi (78) is another young guy the Chiefs will be relying on to develop but Ward will more than likely enter the season as their #1 CB. At 24, there is still some room for growth which the Chiefs will definitely need, especially if the team decides to move Honey Badger for cap relief.

HB Clyde Edwards-Helaire (74 OVR) Helaire isnít the fastest guy (86 SPD, 90 ACC) but he can do everything else he will be asked to do in this offense. The Chiefs will have some big decisions to make on salary cap issues which means with Damien Williams (83) being in the final year of his contract, this rookie could be asked to be a big part of the team rather quickly.
Outlook
BBJ is at his best when he can grind the rock and play defense. This team does not do that. They sling the rock and outscore you with their plethora of weapons. It will be extremely interesting to see how BBJ can adjust his game to fit this team, if he can make the proper adjustments and improve his decision making, he will be a very dangerous out.

Los Angeles Chargers Owner-Ace
Key Players
LE Joey Bosa (91 OVR)
Although he was outshined by his little brother last year, Joey is still amongst the very best pass rushers in the league. He leads a very good group including DT Joseph (85) RE Ingram (88) and LB Nwosu (77) that rank 7th in the league in rushing the passer

WR Keenan Allen (91 OVR) This guy is probably a top 5 WR when he is on the field, the problem is he hasnít been on the field as much as he or the team would like. Ace is hoping the AWFL Chargers donít have that problem as they will need Allen to be a reliable target for their young QB Herbert (70)

Building Blocks
QB Justin Herbert (70 OVR)
There may be better young offensive guys like TE Henry (85) and WR Mike Williams (81) but none of them are as important to the success of this team as Herbert. For the first time in over 17 years, a QB not named Phillip Rivers will start the season under C for the Chargers. This team is built to win now, so there is a heavy load resting on the shoulders of their rookie QB.

LB Kenneth Murray (73 OVR) This defense is stacked with the 2nd best coverage unit and 7th best pass rushing unit. The only real weakness is their LB crew and they put a huge investment there when they traded back into the 1st this year to snag Oklahoma LB Kenneth Murray. He has the athleticism (88SPD, 89ACC, 77COD) that is coveted in todays league and will be a very good cycle piece for LA

Outlook
Ace is one of those guys who can get hot and beat anyone on any given week. He also has a team that has an elite defense and good playmakers on offense but so much rides on what he can get out of his QBs. LA will also have the 3rd best cap situation, which means Ace will be able to make some moves to improve the team as he sees fit. This team could compete for a wildcard spot but it would depend on Ace putting together a complete season.

Las Vegas Raiders Owner-Realitys Proof
Key Players
HB Josh Jacobs (88 OVR)
Jacobs had a stellar debut for the Raiders last year and nearly took home rookie of the year despite missing 3 games. The OL is the unquestioned strength of this unit, ranking 2nd in run blocking and 6th in pass blocking and they will look to pave the way for Jacobs to repeat his success in year 2.
MLB Cory Littleton (78 OVR) The Raiders are still searching for a defensive leader ever since trading Khalil Mack. Littleton was a big FA signing for them last year and the hope is he can come in and be that voice for them.

Building Blocks
WR Henry Ruggs (76 OVR)
One of the most electrifying rookies in the game, Ruggs and his 98 SPD are going to be an absolute blast for RP to play with. One thing you can always say about Raiders draft picks is they donít lack in athleticism and Ruggs leads an offensive group that ranks 5th in the league in those terms.
DE Maxx Crosby (77 OVR) Crosby was a huge find for Las Vegas last draft, compiling 10 sacks despite being picked 106th in the draft. He is still only 22 years old and there is big excitement in the air that Crosby could be the pass rusher the Raiders have been missing.

Outlook
The Raiders arenít as well positioned as their division counterparts but this team has some excellent building blocks. RP will have some added motivation running with his squad this year and I expect he will make some unexpected noise. This is my pick for sleeper team in the division and although I donít think he is going to knock Auto and the Broncos off the perch, I do think RP could be in the playoff hunt a few times this cycle.

Best New Rivalry-BBJ vs Ace
These two are not strangers to each other and there is already natural bad blood between these teams. I see both these teams as being middle of the pack to fighting for a WC berth so every single game is going to be vital to them and playing twice a year will give the winner a huge leg up.

Best out of division game-Week 6 Dolphins (Arlen) at Broncos (Automatik)
These two also know each other rather well and I expect they are going to become even better acquainted this season. The Dolphins may have the toughest early schedule in the league with the Seahawks and Broncos amongst their first 6 games. This potential playoff preview will go along way in establishing the early pecking order of the AFC.
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