Peter King's MMQB piece ranks all the teams in the NFL. He bases part of his reasoning on the quarterback play for each team. The top 12 teams in his ranking have "franchise" quarterbacks ranging from Tom Brady to Tony Romo. Signal callers like Kerry Collins are in the top 12 not necessarily because of their talent but because they're the "right fit" for their respective teams.
Here's how King ranked the AFC West teams:
7. San Diego Chargers - This it to be expected since they're coming off a division title, even if that was with only eight wins. In recent years the Chargers have been hailed as the most talented team in the division, arguably in the entire NFL. King says the Chargers are good enough to win 13 games but a second half road schedule (at Pittsburgh, at the Giants, at Dallas, at Tennessee) will be difficult to overcome.
20. Denver Broncos - King questions some of new coach Josh McDaniels moves and that the honeymoon period will be short. I agree with this assessment. Losing Cutler will no doubt hurt them this season.
27. Oakland Raiders - King references the offseason questions of JaMarcus Russel's work habit. Tom Cable seems to be taking a no-nonsense approach and with the addition of Jeff Garcia, he seems willing to follow through on that.
29. Kansas City Chiefs - We're not the '08-'09 Dolphins, but we might be on the right track.
Could the Chiefs be this year's Dolphins, a team that gets a quarterback and magically starts being competent? Don't think so. Not unless the front seven of Kansas City is a lot better than it appears right now. Chiefs surrendered an alarming 5.0 yards per rush last year, and that's not going to change overnight just because they're playing a 3-4 now and because they picked a couple of big bodies, Tyson Jackson and Alex Magee, with their first two choices in the draft.
Run defense. Mr. Wendler of WarPaint Illustrated did an excellent job fleshing out this issue with the Chiefs defense.
I agree with the placement of the Chargers and the Broncos. But the Chiefs gotta be considered above the Raiders if not simply because of the quarterback position. If Russell flames out early and Garcia is inserted, the Raiders could become disruptive in the division. But if Russell stays on board, I see the Chiefs finishing above the Raiders.