6 min read

NFL Record Predictions for Every AFC West Team Entering 2023 Preseason

With preseason games already underway, it’s time to take an updated look at each team’s season-long prospects. In the coming days, we’ll provide record predictions for each NFL team, concluding with the AFC West.

Listen to NFL insider Ari Meirov discuss every AFC team with Josh Larky and Ryan Reynolds.

Other Record Predictions

NFC: South | East | North | West

AFC: East North | South

AFC West Record Predictions

Denver Broncos

2022 Record: 5-12

2023 Win Total: 8.5

Division Odds: +550

Super Bowl Odds: +4500

The 2022 season was a genuine nightmare for Russell Wilson and the Denver Broncos. Everything that could go wrong did. Heading into opening day this season, Sean Payton is the new honcho in Denver. Can the Wilson-led Broncos transform into the competitive team we expected last year?

How Denver Exceeds Expectations

If Wilson returns to form, Denver can be a playoff team, plain and simple. After Nathaniel Hackett’s late-season firing, Wilson played two of his best games to close out the year. A bounce-back year is very much on the table for Wilson. 

Not only did the Broncos bring in Payton, Denver also added RT Mike McGlinchey and OG Ben Powers to upgrade the offensive line. If Wilson’s offense improves while the Broncos’ defense maintains, 2023 could be a much brighter year in Denver.

How Denver Fails to Meet Expectations 

If the version of Wilson we saw throughout most of last season is the new reality, Denver is in trouble in the ultra-competitive AFC West. Ultimately, the Broncos’ success or failure primarily rides on their quarterback.

Record Prediction: 8-9

>> READ: Broncos Fantasy Team Preview 

Kansas City Chiefs

2022 Record: 14-3

2023 Win Total: 11.5

Division Odds: -165

Super Bowl Odds: +600

Since Patrick Mahomes took over as the Kansas City Chiefs’ starting quarterback in 2018, Kansas City has won at least 12 games every year. The road to the Super Bowl runs through Kansas City as long as Mahomes and Andy Reid are together.

How Kansas City Exceeds Expectations

The thing about being the team to beat is that there isn’t much margin to exceed expectations. As mentioned above, 12 wins is essentially the baseline for the Mahomes/Reid-era Chiefs. We saw last season that Mahomes could be the league’s MVP even without an elite talent such as WR Tyreek Hill. Ultimately, greatness is the expectation for Kansas City. As defending champs, the Chiefs can only maintain their current expectations.

How Kansas City Fails to Meet Expectations

Even if the Chiefs fall below expectations, they won’t have fallen too far below — outside of an injury to Mahomes. The clearest path to that outcome would involve their defense taking a step back.

On that front, the Chris Jones contract situation is concerning. Jones may be the most important defensive player in the league because if he misses time, that transforms Kansas City’s pass rush. If Jones misses games, that could cost the Chiefs a few wins against premium opponents, of which they have many.

There’s also some chance that this is the year age finally starts to catch Travis Kelce. That eventual outcome and what it could mean for the Chiefs’ offense should at least be on your radar.

Record Prediction: 12-5

>> READ: Chiefs Fantasy Team Preview 

Las Vegas Raiders

2022 Record: 6-11

2023 Win Total: 6.5

Division Odds: +1200

Super Bowl Odds: +8000

The Las Vegas Raiders have a very strong core in Edge Maxx Crosby, WR Davante Adams, RB Josh Jacobs and LT Kolton Miller. After that, the roster gets thin in a number of areas as Vegas makes the transition from Derek Carr to Jimmy Garoppolo. Ultimately, the question is: Why will the Raiders be better this season than last season?

How Las Vegas Exceeds Expectations 

If the Raiders are going to improve, Garoppolo needs to at least match what Carr has been able to provide. That’s far from a guarantee, but there is no argument Garoppolo succeeded in San Francisco.

The clearest way the Raiders could take a step forward is through their pass rush. Crosby is one of the best in the game, and Vegas added the seventh overall pick, Tyree Wilson. Crosby, paired with the combination of Wilson and veteran Chandler Jones, gives the Raiders a path to having an elite edge duo. If Garoppolo can stabilize the Raiders offense while Vegas marches out a high-end pass rush, the team has a narrow path to exceeding expectations.

How Las Vegas Fails to Meet Expectations 

Brock Purdy was the last pick in last year’s draft, and he led a more effective offense last season in San Francisco than Garoppolo did. That calls into question exactly what Garoppolo is capable of doing in a new offense. If Garoppolo underwhelms, Vegas is in trouble against a difficult schedule. Jacobs still has contract uncertainties, and Adams has publicly implied that he’s not very happy with the team's direction. 

The Raiders open the season against four teams with win totals of 8.5 or greater, with three of those games coming on the road. The worst-case scenario for the Raiders is that they start 0-4 and their 2023 campaign starts to become a runaway train.

Record Prediction: 4-13

>> READ: Raiders Fantasy Team Preview  

Los Angeles Chargers

2022 Record: 10-7

2023 Win Total: 9.5

Division Odds: +340

Super Bowl Odds: +2500

Undoubtedly, the Los Angeles Chargers are filled with premium talent at difference-making positions. The question is, can this group reach their potential?

How Los Angeles Exceeds Expectations

Most of the Chargers’ best players missed significant time, while Justin Herbert played through multiple injuries last season. Entering this year, Herbert is a premium quarterback supported by a top-10 offensive line and a top-10 skill group. The Chargers are on the short list of teams that could finish the year with the highest-scoring offense in the league. 

Defensively, Los Angeles has the raw materials to be a fringe top-10 pass rush with a similarly talented secondary. If the Chargers can put everything together, they can go on a run.

How Los Angeles Fails to Meet Expectations 

We can reasonably expect the Chargers to have a premium offense. Brandon Staley’s defense is a more volatile unit. In addition, Staley has taken a lot of heat for making some questionable decisions in the biggest game the Chargers have played in each of the past two seasons. If the Chargers underperform this season, their defense will be the most likely culprit. If the Chargers fail to make the playoffs, this could be Staley’s last season in Los Angeles. 

Record Prediction: 11-6

>> READ: Chargers Fantasy Team Preview 

Follow Ryan @RyanReynoldsNFL on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook

 Follow The 33rd Team Podcast Network on Spotify and Apple Podcasts.