The San Diego Chargers came up short in 2010 and 2011. San Diego finished the 2010 NFL season with a 9-7 record while the Kansas City Chiefs finished with a 10-6 record and won the AFC West title. The Chargers had a 3-3 record against division opponents, while Kansas City was 2-4. San Diego finished last season at 8-8 which was identical with the Denver Broncos. Denver won the division due to a tiebreaker scenario with a better record against common opponents.
San Diego lost their leader in receiving yards and touchdown receptions from 2011 when Vincent Jackson signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but they signed Robert Meachem to a four year deal. Meachem’s worst season in terms of receptions and receiving yards when he received significant playing time happened in 2011 when he caught 40 passes for 620 yards, but Meachem also had six touchdonws. Jackson missed 11 games in 2010 and his primary replacement was on pace for 37 receptions, 594 yards and two touchdowns.
Denver signed one of the NFL’s greatest quarterbacks of all time in Peyton Manning. It is one thing to go through practices and look healthy, but Manning had four neck surgeries, so there is no guarantee of his success. All-Pro running back Jamaal Charles as well as Pro Bowl strong safety Eric Berry tore their ACLs in 2011, so it will be interesting to see how they play for Kansas City. Darren McFadden was fourth in the NFL in rushing yards per game during the 2011 season, but missed nine games with a foot injury and has not played in at least three games every season since he came to the league in 2008. San Diego had an 8-4 record in 2011 when Malcom Floyd played. Floyd led the NFL in yards per reception, led San Diego in receiving yards per game, was second in receiving yards and third in touchdown receptions. Floyd missed at least four games the last two seasons, so this is a concern. Philip Rivers is very unlikely to throw 20 interceptions again because San Diego fixed their offensive line issues, and the most INTs he threw before 2011 were 15 in 2007.
It will be interesting to see what happens in 2012 because Kansas City was 10-6 in 2010, San Diego was 9-7 and the Oakland Raiders were 8-8. Denver, San Diego and Oakland were 8-8 in 2011, while Kansas City was 7-9. This could be another season in which the AFC West is up for grabs.