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Tuesday, 20 November, 2018

Verdicts on Denver, Kansas City, LA Chargers and Oakland

Chargers could be electric this season

Minnesota quarterback Case Keenum
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Denver Broncos

2017 5-11 Coach Vance Joseph
QB Case Keenum RB Royce Freeman
Major Ins QB Case Keenum, OT Jared Veldheer
Major Outs RB CJ Anderson, TE Virgil Green
Top draft picks DE Bradley Chubb (first round), WR Courtland Sutton (2)

Verdict
The Broncos will look back on last season with a great deal of disappointment and they're hoping that signing Case Keenum has resolved their problems at the quarterback position.

Their pass offence was a mess last season but Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders are still talented receivers and Devontae Booker can step up in the running game.

Defensive end Bradley Chubb is expected to excel in his first season but this could prove a campaign of transition in Colorado, so they may not progress enough to force their way into the post-season picture.


Kansas City Chiefs

2017 10-6 Coach Andy Reid
QB Patrick Mahomes RB Kareem Hunt
Major Ins CB Kendall Fuller, LB Anthony Hitchens
Major Outs QB Alex Smith, LB Derrick Johnson
Top draft picks DE Breeland Speaks (2), DT Derrick Nnandi (3)

Verdict
Arrowhead bosses have put their faith in young QB Patrick Mahomes and we can expected to see some eye-catching plays from Alex Smith's gung-ho replacement.

However, he will be going up against some of the best pass defences in the league and that tempers optimism about them securing a third successive divisional title.

They should be great to watch, but expect plenty of high-scoring games as their defence has been weakened by the loss of arguably their best player on that side of the ball, cornerback Marcus Peters. 


LA Chargers

2017 9-7 Coach Anthony Lynn
QB Philip Rivers RB Melvin Gordon
Major Ins C Mike Pouncey, TE Virgil Green
Major Outs S Tre Boston, G Kenny Wiggins
Top draft picks S Derwin James (1), LB Uchenna Nwosu (2)

Verdict
It was a case of what might have been for the Chargers last season after they fell to close defeats in their opening four games and then finished like a train.

It was a difficult first season at their new home as their presence in Tinseltown did not really capture the imagination of the locals. Tight end Antonio Gates has gone and his replacement Hunter Henry is ruled out for the season due to injury, as is top cornerback Jason Verrett. 

Running back Melvin Gordon is capable of stepping up and the Chargers have boosted their defence in the draft, so they have the potential to make a playoff push.


Oakland Raiders

2017 6-10 Coach Jon Gruden
QB Derek Carr RB Marshawn Lynch
Major Ins WR Jordy Nelson, S Marcus Gilchrist
Major Outs DE Khalil Mack, WR Michael Crabtree
Top draft picks OT Kolton Miller (1), DT PJ Hall (2)

Verdict
Jon Gruden is back at the helm after more than a decade in the commentary box to try to galvanise the Raiders, who went backwards last year and have had just one winning season in the last 15 years.

Running back Marshawn Lynch could be a focal figure and they have spent a lot of money boosting their offensive line. 

They caused a huge shock last week by trading defensive star Khalil Mack to Chicago. Gruden's first year is turning into quite a soap opera but we are unlikely to be seeing them in January. 


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The Broncos will look back on last season with a great deal of disappointment and they're hoping that signing Case Keenum has resolved their problems
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