Post NFL Season Review of AFC West, 2022-23

Post NFL Season Review of AFC West, 2022-23
Sat 18th February 2023

After a thrilling season, the NFL is officially over for another year. So, the team at SportsTips thought it would be a good idea to go through every team in the AFC West, and have a look at the year that was!

Denver Broncos

The 2022 edition of the Denver Broncos opened the season with two wins in their first three games. But the Broncos and an inept offensive unit lost nine of their next 10 games and finished at the bottom of the division with a 4-12 record. Denver, which ended the season with the second most players on injured reserve, missed the playoffs for the seventh straight season.

The Broncos lured former New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton out of retirement to replace Nathaniel Hackett, who was fired after an embarrassing Week 15 loss. Denver has 25 free agents and will likely only re-sign some of its unsigned players. However, the one player who won’t be leaving is Dre’Mont Jones. The talented defensive end has become a solid pass rusher and a prime candidate for the franchise tag.

Former Pro Bowl quarterback Russell Wilson struggled mightily in his first season with the Broncos and threw for 3,524 yards and only 16 touchdowns in 15 games. Veteran running back Latavius Murray led the team with 703 yards and five scores on 160 carries after Javonte Williams went down with a season-ending injury in Week 4. Jerry Jeudy was the top wideout with 67 catches for 972 yards and six touchdowns, and Courtland Sutton tallied 829 yards on 64 receptions.

Linebacker Alex Singleton was the NFL’s fifth-leading tackler with 163 tackles, and Jones collected a team-high 6.5 sacks. Baron Browning and DeShawn Williams posted five and 4.5 sacks, respectively. All-Pro safety Justin Simmons intercepted a league-high six passes.

Kansas City Chiefs

The Kansas City Chiefs raced out of the gate with nine wins in their first 11 games and cruised to their seventh consecutive AFC West crown with a 14-3 record. The Chiefs knocked off the Jacksonville Jaguars in the Divisional Round to host their fifth straight AFC Championship Game and squeaked past the Cincinnati Bengals to advance to Super Bowl LVII. Kansas City edged the Philadelphia Eagles to win their second Vince Lombardi Trophy in four years. 

The Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy is a candidate to call the offensive plays for multiple NFL teams this offseason and could be leaving the franchise after 10 seasons. Kansas City must also decide whether to make free agent Orlando Brown Jr. the highest-paid left tackle in the league. The Chiefs used the franchise tag on Brown a year ago and might be forced to do it again if a long-term deal cannot be reached.

Two-time NFL MVP Patrick Mahomes led the league with 5,250 yards and 41 touchdown passes and has 192 career touchdowns in six seasons. Rookie running back Isiah Pacheco was the leading rusher with 830 yards and five scores on 170 carries, and Pro Bowl tight end Travis Kelce finished eighth in the NFL with 110 catches for 1,338 yards and 12 touchdowns.

Second-year linebacker Nick Bolton ranked second in the league with 180 tackles, added two sacks, and picked off a pair of passes. All-Pro defensive tackle Chris Jones finished fourth in the NFL with 15.5 sacks, while George Karlaftis tallied six quarterback sacks. L’Jarius Sneed and Juan Thornhill paced the team with three interceptions apiece.

Las Vegas Raiders

The 2022 Las Vegas Raiders stumbled out of the gate with four losses in their first five games and ended the season with three straight setbacks to finish third in the division with a 6-11 record. The Raiders failed to qualify for the postseason in back-to-back seasons in two decades and became the first squad in league history to drop five or more games in a season while leading by double-digits in the second half.

Las Vegas released veteran quarterback Derek Carr and has several key free agents that need to be re-signed to new deals. Running back Josh Jacobs is a candidate for the franchise tag if a long-term contract cannot be reached. Wide receiver Mack Hollins is another valuable offensive weapon that will earn a significant pay raise.

Carr threw for 3,522 yards and 24 touchdowns but was released before $40.4 million in his contract became guaranteed. Jacobs captured his first NFL rushing title with 1,653 yards and 12 scores on 340 carries, and caught 53 balls for 400 yards. Davante Adams finished third in the league with 1,516 yards and 14 touchdowns on 100 receptions, while Hollins reeled in 57 passes for 690 yards and four scores. 

Pro Bowl defensive end Maxx Crosby paced the Raiders with 88 tackles and collected a team-high 12.5 sacks. Chandler Jones tallied 4.5 quarterback sacks, while Duron Harmon, Denzel Perryman, and Amik Robertson led the team with two interceptions.

Los Angeles Chargers

The Los Angeles Chargers started the 2022 season with a 5-3 mark and won four of its final five regular-season games to finish second in the division with a 10-7 record. The Chargers advanced to the playoffs for the first time since 2018 but suffered the third-largest blown lead in NFL postseason history in a loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars in the Wild Card Round.

Los Angeles has the fifth-worst salary cap situation in the league but needs to re-sign several playmakers on both sides of the football. Potential salary cap casualties include linebacker Khalil Mack, cornerback Michael Davis, and center Matt Feiler. Safety Nasir Adderley enjoyed the best coverage season of his young career, and linebacker Drue Tranquill became a productive every-down player this past season.

Quarterback Justin Herbert threw for 4,739 yards and 25 touchdowns despite his top receivers missing significant time due to injuries. Running back Austin Ekeler rushed for 915 yards and 13 scores on 204 carries and caught a team-high 107 receptions. Mike Williams posted 63 catches for a team-best 895 yards, and Josh Palmer hauled in a career-high 72 passes for 769 yards.

Tranquill led the Chargers with 144 tackles and five sacks, while safety Derwin James Jr. collected 115 tackles, four sacks, and picked off a pair of passes. Mack tallied a team-high eight sacks, Morgan Fox added 6.5 quarterback sacks, and cornerback Bryce Callahan paced the team with three interceptions.

Even though the season has finished, we’ve got you covered with all the latest information on the NFL! We keep you as up to date as possible, so you don’t miss any of the action this off-season.

Marvin is a self-confessed sports fanatic who is addicted to the NFL, MLB and CFB. He has a passion for Daily Fantasy Sports and absolutely loves gambling and making money on his favorite sports. He has been an avid Dallas Cowboys fan since the 1970s and has been writing about sports for more than three decades. Whether he is making prop bets or choosing which teams will cover spreads, he is thrilled to provide relevant information for all of our readers.