The last time someone other than the Kansas City Chiefs won the AFC West, Peyton Manning was still playing.
The Chiefs have won six AFC West titles in a row. The Denver Broncos fell off right after winning Super Bowl 50, the Los Angeles Chargers and Las Vegas Raiders weren't ready to take control of the division and the Chiefs' run started. Then Kansas City drafted Patrick Mahomes and the door closed for everyone else for a while.
Perhaps this is the year the streak ends. The Chiefs are still very good, though a bit more vulnerable than in past years. And the other teams in the division attacked the offseason like they were sick of the Chiefs beating them.
The AFC West is going to be really fun, and the BetMGM divisional odds reflect that.
Chiefs still favored to win AFC West
While the AFC West hasn't been overly competitive the past few years, the odds for who will win the division reflect a new era beginning:
No other division has all four teams at +600 or shorter. The division is a lot more competitive than the past few years. It's understandable why the Chiefs are favored, and nobody should argue with that. The order of the rest of the division can be debated.
The Broncos fired the first shot of the offseason in the AFC West. After years of chasing a post-Manning quarterback, Denver paid up and traded for Russell Wilson from the Seattle Seahawks. It has been said often that the Broncos were set up to compete but just needed a quarterback, and we're about to find out.
The Chargers have a quarterback, Justin Herbert, and they got aggressive in adding other pieces. They re-signed receiver Mike Williams, signed expensive cornerback J.C. Jackson and traded for defensive end Khalil Mack.
And we've all seemed to have forgotten the Raiders were in the playoffs last season.
Raiders coming off a good season
The Raiders could end up being the best last-place team in the NFL. If they finish in last place.
Las Vegas hired a new coach, Josh McDaniels, and then added an amazing talent at receiver, trading for Davante Adams from the Green Bay Packers. The Raiders were 10-7 last season and got better. McDaniels failed miserably with the Broncos in his first stint as a head coach, but that was a while ago. If he's ready to live up to the promise predicted for him years ago, maybe the Raiders are a great value at +600 to win the AFC West.
There's a fine argument for any one of the four teams. The Chiefs still have Mahomes and Andy Reid, even if they lost stars like Tyreek Hill and Tyrann Mathieu. The Broncos will look a lot different with a massive quarterback upgrade. The Chargers probably have the most talented roster on paper. And the Raiders are getting good odds.
The Chargers are the most tempting bet, given the talent, Herbert's ascension and the Chiefs retooling. But this is the one division you'll want some action on. It will be fantastic to watch all season.