AFC West and NFC West teams entered last season with sky-high expectations and, although each division produced two playoff teams, they also had disappointments. A bounceback is possible in 2023, as each of these divisions houses one powerhouse team.
However, many of the other teams face significant questions, which may hold them back from playoff contention. We look at each squad’s odds of winning its division according to Tipico Sportsbook, and predict where each AFC West and NFC West team will finish.
Kansas City Chiefs (-165 odds to win the AFC West on Tipico Sportsbook)
Coming off a 14-3 season capped by a Super Bowl ring, Kansas City is poised to remain among the cream of the crop in 2023. The Chiefs have won at least 12 games in each of Patrick Mahomes’ five seasons as the starter, and there’s little reason to suspect that things will go any differently in 2023 with Mahomes, tight end Travis Kelce and coach Andy Reid all set to reprise their roles.
Predicted Record: 12-5 (AFC West winners)
Los Angeles Chargers (+340 odds to win AFC West)
With one of the game’s best quarterbacks in Justin Herbert throwing to a deep group of playmakers led by running back Austin Ekeler, and receivers Keenan Allen, Mike Williams and rookie first-round pick Quentin Johnston, the Chargers can keep up with any opponent offensively.
Perennial special teams struggles and a seemingly never-ending stream of bad luck in big moments have kept Los Angeles from knocking on the door of the league’s upper echelon, but after going 10-7 and making the playoffs for the first time in Herbert’s career last year, the Chargers should contend for another postseason berth this season.
Predicted Record: 9-8 (No playoffs)
Denver Broncos (+550 odds to win AFC West)
The Broncos were expected to become a contender last season after adding big name quarterback Russell Wilson to a team with an already elite defense. Instead, Denver’s Wilson-led offense averaged a league-low 16.9 PPG en route to a 5-12 record.
With new coach Sean Payton at the helm and starting running back Javonte Williams back from a torn ACL, the Broncos have nowhere to go but up on offense. Denver has enough talent on both sides of the ball to hang in the playoff race, even in the competitive AFC.
Predicted Record: 10-7 (Wild Card)
Las Vegas Raiders (+1200 odds to win AFC West)
Vegas went 6-11 in Josh McDaniels’ first season as the team’s head coach, dropping his career record as a head coach to 17-28. Things are unlikely to improve much for the Raiders in 2023.
The change from Derek Carr to Jimmy Garoppolo under center is likely a downgrade, and running back Josh Jacobs is holding out after the Raiders didn’t reward his league-high 1,653 rushing yards in 2022 with an extension.
Star wideout Davante Adams is still around, but preseason odds suggest Vegas is easily the worst team in the AFC West.
Predicted Record: 5-12 (no playoffs)
San Francisco 49ers (-170 odds to win NFC West)
Quarterback Brock Purdy compiled an eight-game winning streak before hurting his elbow early in the NFC Championship Game against the Eagles. The 2022 seventh-round pick is back and healthy and San Francisco projects to once again surround him with one of the best rosters in the NFL.
The 49ers boast an elite defense and a deep group of playmakers on offense, including running back Christian McCaffrey, tight end George Kittle and wide receiver Deebo Samuel.
In the team’s first full season with Purdy and McCaffrey, San Francisco is poised to continue a successful stretch that’s seen the team notch 13 wins twice in the past four seasons.
Predicted Record: 12-5 (NFC West winners)
Seattle Seahawks (+215 odds to win NFC West)
Seattle shocked the NFL last season by making the playoffs at 9-8 after trading away Russell Wilson. Geno Smith topped Wilson’s career high with 4,282 passing yards in 2022, and the Seahawks just added first-round pick Jaxon Smith-Njigba to a receiving corps that still features DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett.
The Seahawks won’t be sneaking up on anybody this year, but with some promising young pieces on both sides of the ball, Seattle is well positioned to match or even exceed last season’s success.
Predicted Record: 9-8 (Wild Card)
Los Angeles Rams (+950 odds to win NFC West)
The top-heavy stars and scrubs approach helped the Rams win the Super Bowl two years ago, but last season showed the downside of such roster construction as Los Angeles’ lack of depth left the team unable to overcome a slew of injuries. A 5-12 record was the result.
Star defensive tackle Aaron Donald is still a force to be reckoned with, and LA will get quarterback Matthew Stafford and wide receiver Cooper Kupp back after they played just nine games apiece in 2022. However, the Rams will have one less star to rely on after trading corner Jalen Ramsey to the Dolphins during the offseason.
Even beyond Ramsey’s departure, this is far from the same team that won it all in 2021: just three of the 14 defensive players who played at least 35 percent of snaps on LA’s championship team remain on the roster heading into 2023.
Predicted Record: 6-11
Arizona Cardinals (+2500 odds to win NFC West)
This is expected to be a rebuilding year for the Cardinals, who fell from 11-6 in 2021 to 4-13 in 2022. It’s unclear when quarterback Kyler Murray will be fully recovered from the torn ACL he suffered in December.
Even once Murray is back, he’ll be throwing to a receiving corps that no longer features veteran wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, who was mercifully cut by the team in the middle of the offseason.
Arizona will have a hard time scoring enough points to cover for the team’s leaky defense, which allowed 26.4 PPG in 2022 — second-most in the NFL.
Predicted Record: 2-15
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