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By Jacob Johnson | Published On: Aug 17 2021

AFC West Win Totals

AFC West Win Totals News 2021 – In the last eight Super Bowls, the AFC representative has either been the New England Patriots or the winner of the AFC West. Kansas City was the AFC West team in the Super Bowl the last two seasons, while the Broncos were there in two of three years while Peyton Manning was their quarterback.

However, since Peyton Manning left football, this division has been all Kansas City’s. The Chiefs have won the division five straight years (2016-2020) and are an incredible 31-5 against division opponents since 2015. And that includes last year’s Week 17 game against the Chargers, where the Chiefs rested all of their starters.

No team, including the Patriots as they ran through the AFC East in 16 of 17 seasons, posted a better record over a six-year period inside their own division than the Chiefs. And with Patrick Mahomes and Andy Reid, and a now revamped offensive line, there is no reason to think those fortunes are going to change.

The Chiefs are expected to roll to another division title, making it six in a row. But we finally may have the quarterback rivalry that we’ve been waiting for since the end of Peyton Manning vs. Tom Brady. Justin Herbert was brilliant in his rookie season, and we’re going to see two Herbert vs. Mahomes battles this season, and neither one will be because of an errant needle to the lung of Tyrod Taylor.

Kansas City Chiefs – 12.5 Wins

The Chiefs finished 2020 with the best record in football at 14-2. The knock against them, however, was that a good number of those wins were much closer than they should have been, and that was a sign of the fall to come.

The inability to put opponents away, and a number of crippling injuries, made the fall rather painful on Super Bowl Sunday. The Chiefs were dominant over the Bills in the AFCCG but were kicked in the teeth by the Buccaneers. That humiliation, coupled with the realization that the offensive line needed a complete overhaul, led to a very active offseason in Kansas City.

Orlando Brown is the new left tackle. Joe Thuney is the new left guard. Creed Humphrey is the new rookie center. And right guard will be either the return of Dr. Laurent Duvernay-Tardiff or rookie Trey Smith.

This is a much better offensive line than the one we saw in February, and one with a nasty attitude. They don’t just want to keep Patrick Mahomes upright, and they want to shove the defender in the dirt and make him hurt. Mahomes and his weapons can handle the finesse, and the line wants to play mean.

It’s a challenging start to the season with the Browns, Ravens, and Chargers. There are also games against the Bills, Titans, Packers, and Steelers. Although only Tennessee is on the road, the rest will come to a packed Arrowhead Stadium. The Chiefs also get the NFC East this season, which will push their win total up to 13 or 14.

Chiefs Pick: Over 12.5 wins

Los Angeles Chargers – 9 Wins

No one should lose their job because of injury, and certainly not with an injury that is inflicted by the team doctor. And not that anyone in L.A. is glad that Tyrod Taylor had his lung punctured while a pain killer was being administered, but that cloud did come with a rather large silver lining. The NFL world learned much earlier than expected that Justin Herbert is the real deal.

Who knows exactly how long head coach Anthony Lynn would have stuck with Taylor as his quarterback, but it would have been too long based on the obvious talent of Herbert. Rushed into duty ahead of schedule, he shined and set the record for most touchdown passes by a rookie. He was also named NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year, and all thanks to an off-target needle.

Anthony Lynn is gone, and the new head coach is Brandon Staley, the former defensive coordinator with the Rams, which makes for an interesting choice with a young quarterback to cultivate. There is good talent around Herbert in the persons of Keenan Allen and Austin Ekeler, so that should dampen any sophomore swoon. And if they can stay healthy (looking at you, Derwin James), this defense is very good.

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The Chargers won’t push the Chiefs for the division, but they will be in the playoff hunt. They play at Baltimore, at home against the Steelers, Browns, Vikings, and Cowboys. And there is an interesting game in L.A. vs. the Patriots on Halloween. Herbert’s one really disastrous performance in 2020 was a 45-0 drubbing at the hands of New England. No doubt he’s circled that game on the calendar.

All told, this looks like a 10-win Chargers team, with an 11th win getting them to the postseason.

Chargers pick: Over 9.5 wins

Other AFC West News

Denver Broncos – 8.5 Wins

It has been a cruel offseason for Broncos fans. Most of them came to the realization that Drew Lock isn’t the guy to compete against the likes of Patrick Mahomes and Justin Herbert. A new quarterback in Denver was the only way forward.

First, that quarterback was going to be Deshaun Watson. Then Matthew Stafford was coming to town. Then it was going to be an even bigger upgrade, Aaron Rodgers. In the end, it turned out that the new quarterback hire was… Teddy Bridgewater (cue the sad trombone.)

Nothing against Bridgewater, who has proven himself to be serviceable. But against an MVP like Mahomes and the reigning Rookie of the Year like Herbert, serviceable might as well be a four-letter word.

It’s doubly sad for Broncos fans because otherwise, this offense has talent. Cortland Sutton is back from injury. Jerry Jeudy, if he can cut down on his drops, will be very good on the outside. If tight end Noah Fant can avoid the nagging injuries that plagued him last season, he can be a star.

The schedule makers were very kind to Denver, giving them the Giants, Jaguars, and Jets to begin the season. But the Ravens, Steelers, Browns, Cowboys, and Chargers highlight a really tough middle of the season, and that will sink the Broncos year.

They might get up to eight wins, but that’s Denver’s ceiling in 2021.

Broncos pick: Under 8.5 wins

Las Vegas Raiders – 7 Wins

Since 2003 the Chiefs have won seven division titles, the Broncos have won six division titles, and the Chargers have won five division titles. The Raiders have won exactly zero.

The Raiders did get the wild card in one of the last 18 years but lost to the Texans 27-14. If you are searching for the last Raiders playoff win, you have to go back to the 2002 season, when Derek Carr was 11-years old. He’s now the 30-year-old starting quarterback of the least successful franchise in the last 20 years. Check out the NFL league standings for an insight into the regional tables.

For all of his detractors, Carr has actually played well. Darren Waller is one of the best tight ends in football, and Josh Jacobs is a beast at running back. But this offseason, the Raiders turned over the majority of the offensive line, which was a strength. And while the defense has improved its pieces, it remains to be seen if they will be improved as a unit.

It’s going to be another fourth-place finish in Las Vegas unless that defense gels, and then they might get to third place. But that is where it ends. The season begins with the Ravens, Steelers, Dolphins, and Chargers, and an 0-4 start is not out of the question. Add in two games with KC, the Browns, Colts, and Cowboys, and this team will only get to five or six wins.

Raiders pick: Under 7 wins

How the Battle for the West Will be Won

It doesn’t pay much, just -250, but the smart money on the winner of the AFC West is on Kansas City. This should be the Chiefs’ sixth straight division title, which will be the most ever since the AFC West became a thing. A bet on Kansas City to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl for a third straight year pays +250. The Chiefs are the preseason favorite to win Super Bowl LVI, paying +500.

The Chargers have the tools in place, and if Herbert continues to grow, the sky’s the limit, although they’re probably still a year away. L.A. is paying +400 as division champions, +1600 to win the AFC, and +3300 to win a home-field Super Bowl.

Maybe Aaron Rodgers is in Denver in 2022, and that would definitely change their outlook. But for this year, they are longshots to make the playoffs. A division bet on Denver pays +550, and it’s +1600 to win the AFC and +3500 to win the Super Bowl.

In the three years since Jon Gruden returned to the Raiders, they have a -327 point differential. That is one of the many reasons they pay +2500 as division champions, +4000 to win the AFC, and +10000 to win the Super Bowl. Only four teams in football have longer odds.

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