The Raiders are the AFC West’s hot team this offseason after more smart moves and a young nucleus that's starting to come together. Still, it's going to be tough to knock the Broncos off their perch even with Peyton Manning gone. The Chiefs and Chargers will make things interesting as well.
Much like I did with the college football win totals, I will break down the schedules in terms of home and road opponents outside the division. In most situations, I'll give a split to each team in divisional play with them winning at home and losing on the road. Vegas is much more on the ball in the NFL compared to college football so the numbers are a lot sharper.
Note: Over/under odds courtesy of 5Dimes Sportsbook
(Over 9 wins -115, Under 9 wins -115)
Record Last Year: 12-4
Offense: Things are going to be completely different for Denver, which has no idea who will be under center in Week 1. Trevor Siemian, Mark Sanchez and Paxton Lynch are all vying for the job. The pieces around them are pretty much the same with C.J. Anderson and Ronnie Hillman in the backfield while Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas are out wide. Watch out for Devontae Booker, a rookie back out of Utah.
Defense: Denver's defense should be one of the best once again with a secondary that will be hard to beat. Aqib Talib and Chris Harris Jr. are the best pair of corners in the league while T.J. Ward and Darian Stewart are real good safeties. Von Miller is happy (and well compensated) now and that's a bad thing for quarterbacks.
Schedule: The Broncos do not ease into the schedule with games against the Panthers, Colts and Bengals early. Denver has a Week 11 bye, which is good as it comes after games at Oakland and New Orleans in two weeks prior. The yearly New England game is on Dec. 18 and is the only home contest over a four-game span.
Prediction: I like the over for Denver. Their schedule is easy enough that early struggles by the offense will be hidden by the really good defense that the Broncos have.
(Over 10 wins +110, Under 10 wins -140)
Record Last Year: 11-5
Offense: The names are pretty much the same on this side of the ball. The silver lining to Jamaal Charles' injury last year was the fact that the team learned that Charcandrick West and Spencer Ware were competent backs as well. Alex Smith has Travis Kelce, Jeremy Maclin and Albert Wilson back.
Defense: Justin Houston's MCL injury may not allow him to return in 2016 and that would be a big loss. Tamba Hali and Eric Berry aren't 100 percent right now either. Berry is arguably one of the best safeties in football. This unit at full health is real good, but the question is are there too many injured players? Also, who is going to start opposite Marcus Peters at corner?
Schedule: Kansas City has the rare three-game home stretch with it coming Weeks 14-16 against Oakland, Tennessee and Denver. The road slate is unkind with trips to Pittsburgh, Indianapolis and Carolina as well as Denver.
Prediction: Slight lean to the under although I've erroneously counted this team out the past few years. Andy Reid continues to do good things with the Chiefs and proving people like me wrong. Eventually, it has to catch up with Kansas City that the offense is nothing special.
(Over 8.5 wins -105, Under 8.5 wins -115)
Record Last Year: 7-9
Offense:The Raiders upgraded the offensive line by adding free agent guard Kelechi Osemele while also re-signing solid left tackle Donald Penn. This will help Latavius Murray and DeAndre Washington in the run game. It also will keep Derek Carr upright, meaning he'll have time to get Amari Cooper, Michael Crabtree and Clive Walford involved. At minimum, this team should be more fantasy relevant than it has in the past.
Defense: The defense is littered with young talent. All-Pro Khalil Mack continues to grow while first-round draft pick Karl Joseph and free agent addition Sean Smith should help solidify the secondary. I don't quite get cornerback David Amerson’s new contract, but he's played a lot better than he did in Washington. There are the pieces in place to put together a defense that could be tough to run on in 2016.
Schedule: Oakland technically plays four straight at home beginning Nov. 6, as the Raiders host the Broncos, Texans, Panthers and Bills with a Week 10 bye mixed in. The team has some winnable games on the road outside of the division.
Prediction: I think the over is the play. I'm completely buying Oakland as a factor in 2016 and a potential wild card contender. The Raiders’ offense should have more success while the defense will be able to keep the team in games. Oakland will win the AFC West in 2017.
(Over 7.5 wins -106, Under 7.5 wins -124)
Record Last Year: 4-12
Offense: Keenan Allen should have a big season for the Chargers. Antonio Gates is back for potentially one more year of his fantastic career. Philip Rivers also returns for year 14 and he's going to be hoping for more from the run game. Melvin Gordon disappeared last year while Danny Woodhead is better used in the passing game.
Defense: No. 3 overall pick Joey Bosa continues to hold out and that's not going to help the defense. Melvin Ingram, Manti Te'o and Denzel Perryman form a solid linebacker trio while Brandon Flowers and Jason Verrett are good corners.
Schedule: The road will be unkind to San Diego early on with trips to Kansas City, Indianapolis, Oakland, Atlanta and Denver over the span of eight weeks. San Diego has a later bye in Week 11 and the chance to enter it with momentum with home games against the Titans and Dolphins leading into the break.
Prediction: I think the under is the play here. San Diego's going to finish last in the division and this roster needs to infuse more talent with Rivers and Gates in the back end of their careers. There's not a lot to like about the Chargers in 2016.
— Written by Matt Josephs, who is a part of the Athlon Sports Contributor Network. Josephs prefers non-Power 5 college football and may be the only one wagering on the Sun Belt. Follow him on Twitter @MidMajorMatt.