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The AFC West might as well be renamed "the Kansas City Chiefs Invitational" as long as three-time Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes is around.

The Chiefs are the winners of the last eight AFC West titles, a streak that began back in 2016 when Alex Smith was still Kansas City's starting quarterback. Their current run of AFC West first-place finishes is the second-longest streak of division titles in NFL history, trailing the Tom Brady-Bill Belichick New England Patriots dynasty's 11 AFC East division championships won in a row from 2009-2019. 

Can another team in the division challenge Kansas City? Unclear at this point. We addressed some burning questions on a macro view, but let's go take a deeper dive into some of the key issues for each AFC West team prior to training camps getting underway in July. 

Kansas City Chiefs

Who will emerge as the Chiefs' No. 2 pass-catcher after TE Travis Kelce with Rashee Rice facing likely suspension? 

Tight end Travis Kelce is obviously the Chiefs' go-to option in the passing game, but after their latest Super Bowl run, it appeared as though 2023 second-round pick wide receiver Rashee Rice was well on his way toward becoming Mahomes' new No. 1 in the eventual post-Kelce era. Rice ranked second on the Super Bowl champions in catches (79) and receiving yards (938) behind Kelce while leading them in receiving touchdowns (seven) as a rookie.

However, Rice's 2024 offseason has been anything but calm. He is being sued for allegedly being at fault for a multi-vehicle crash in Dallas on March 30, and he was under investigation for allegedly hitting a photographer at a Dallas club back in May. Should Rice begin the 2024 season with a suspension, who will step up in his place? His 8.3 yards after catch per reception ranked second in the NFL among receivers last season, trailing only San Francisco 49ers All-Pro Deebo Samuel (8.8).

Will it be 2024 first-round pick (28th overall) wide receiver Xavier Worthy, who ran a record 4.21 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine, or perhaps free agent signee Marquise "Hollywood" Brown, a 2019 first-round pick of the Baltimore Ravens? Also, can these two bring back Mahomes' deep passing game? Mahomes tossed 41 touchdowns of 20 or more air yards when All-Pro receiver Tyreek Hill was around from 2018 through 2021. Since 2022, he has thrown only two touchdowns of 20 or more air yards in the last two seasons. 

Las Vegas Raiders

Can the Raiders have a functional offense with Gardner Minshew and/or Aidan O'Connell running the show?

The Raiders were unable to trade up for one of the 2024 NFL Draft's top passers, which resulted in Caleb Williams (first overall to Chicago Bears), Jayden Daniels (second overall to the Washington Commanders), Drake Maye (third overall to the New England Patriots), Michael Penix Jr. (eighth overall to the Atlanta Falcons), J.J. McCarthy (10th overall to the Minnesota Vikings) and Bo Nix (12th overall to the Denver Broncos) coming off the board before their selection at No. 13 overall.

Las Vegas opted to add another weapon in Georgia tight end Brock Bowers -- the all-time SEC tight end career leader in catches (175), receiving yards (2,538) and receiving touchdowns (26) --  for whomever its 2024 quarterback is between journeyman Gardner Minshew and 2023 fourth-round pick Aidan O'Connell. Whoever they pick, the results likely won't differ too much, but some consistency and production closer to league average is possible. Rotating between Jimmy Garoppolo, Brian Hoyer and O'Connell in 2023, the Raiders ranked 28th in the league in touchdown to interception ratio (20-18) and passer rating (80.1). 

2023 seasonO'Connell Minshew

Comp Pct



TD-INT ratio

1.7 (12-7)

1.7 (15-9)

Sack Pct



Passer Rating



The 2024 season will likely be a transition year for the Raiders, but you never know. All-Pro wide receiver Davante Adams, slot receiver Jakobi Meyers and then the two young tight ends in 2023 second-round pick tight end Michael Mayer and Bowers are a decent cast of pass-catchers. 

Los Angeles Chargers

How will Chargers' passing game work without Keenan Allen and Mike Williams, and with Greg Roman at OC?

The Chargers had the chance to provide quarterback Justin Herbert, whose passing yards (17,223) and completions (1,613) rank as the most in NFL history through a player's first four seasons -- his 114 career passing touchdowns are tied with Mahomes as the second most through a player's first four seasons -- with another high-flying weapon in either LSU's Malik Nabers or Washington's Rome Odunze with the fifth overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft.

Instead, new head coach Jim Harbaugh opted to bolster Herbert's offensive line and select the draft's best offensive tackle in Notre Dame All-American Joe Alt. The Chargers front office addressed their receiver spot, which became a need after trading Keenan Allen to the Chicago Bears and releasing Mike Williams, by selecting Georgia's Ladd McConkey in the second round (34th overall) and adding two more receivers with their two seventh-round choices: USC's Brenden Rice (225th overall), the son of Jerry, and one of Harbaugh's Michigan guys in Cornelius Johnson (253rd overall). DJ Chark was also signed to a one-year, $3 million deal in early May. 

Harbaugh hiring Greg Roman as his offensive coordinator also is a strong indication of how he wants the Chargers to operate: with a smashmouth run game to take some pressure off Herbert. Roman served as Harbaugh's OC with the 49ers from 2011 to 2014 and then his older brother John Harbaugh's OC from 2019-2022 with the Ravens, where he coordinated some of the most productive rushing offenses in league history centered around the threat of what MVP quarterback Lamar Jackson can do with his legs. Roman also brought over two of his top running backs from Baltimore in free agency after Los Angeles signed both JK Dobbins and Gus Edwards this offseason. 

Will the stylistic shift to more of a balanced offense, or even a run-first attack, while relying on rookies plus 2023 first-round pick receiver Quentin Johnston (431 receiving yards and two receiving touchdowns on 38 catches as a rookie) in the passing game result in long-term gains in the win column for the Chargers? We'll see. 

Denver Broncos

Will head coach Sean Payton get his offense on track in Denver in 2024 with either/or Bo Nix and Zach Wilson?

Bo Nix
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Head coach Sean Payton and Russell Wilson, on the wrong side of 30, couldn't build a cohesive offense together, which is why the Broncos released Wilson and ate a historic $85 million dead cap hit.  Now, Denver has a quarterback room led by 12th overall pick Bo Nix and the second overall pick from the 2021 NFL Draft in Zach Wilson.

Stylistically, Nix would appear to be a fit for what Payton liked to do with Drew Brees. DISCLAIMER: This is not saying Nix is Drew Brees. Nix set college football's single-season completion percentage record (77.4%) last year at Oregon while having the eighth-fastest time to throw (2.48 seconds). He also threw for 22 touchdowns and no interceptions on throws that he released in under 2.5 seconds. Brees, Payton's longtime pupil, owns five of the seven highest single-season completion rates in league history, including each of the top three highest marks.

It also also worth adding this piece of context with Nix's numbers: Oregon utilized screen passes on 12.4% of their throws with Nix under center the last two seasons, the eighth-highest rate in college football and fifth-highest rate among Power Five teams. Nix's 6.6 air yards per pass attempt at Oregon from 2022 to 2023 ranked 105th out of 109 qualified FBS passers in that span. Some of that may be due to the scheme the Ducks were running, but there's a chance they chose to operate that way after Nix's up-and-down career at Auburn.

Meanwhile, the former Jets quarterback is a total reclamation project: Wilson ranks last in the NFL in completion percentage (57%), TD-INT (23-25) and passer rating (73.2) during the span of his three-year career from 2021 to 2023. 

Denver did at least draft Nix's go-to wide receiver from Oregon, Troy Franklin, in the fourth round to go along with Courtland Sutton, Josh Reynolds, Marvin Mims and Tim Patrick. If Payton can build an offense around running back Javonte Williams that doesn't ask Nix or Wilson to do too much, perhaps there is a path to competency.