BOSTON (CBS) – Training camp is already underway for some teams around the league, and that process for the Patriots begins Wednesday when the veterans report to Gillette.
In 2013 the Broncos set the NFL on fire and broke all sorts of offensive records, finishing as the no. 1 ranked team in the AFC. The Patriots were just a hair behind; finishing second and also earning that first round bye.
After a 2-14 finish in 2012, the Kansas City Chiefs turned some heads in 2013 and finished with a 11-5 record with new coach Andy Reid and new quarterback Alex Smith. The Bengals once again topped the NFC North and Indianapolis with Andrew Luck appear to be a team on the rise.
That was 2013, so to get a glimpse of 2014, 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Toucher & Rich show brought in Albert Breer of the NFL Network for an AFC preview.
The AFC West sent three teams to the playoffs last year, with Oakland being the lone team not involved.
For Breer, the big AFC West storyline for 2014 is the vast amount of improvement by the Broncos this offseason, adding to an already stacked team.
“I think the gap is wider than it was last year. I think Denver got better, I think San Diego kind of tread water and Kansas City could be the team that’s in for a big step back,” said Breer.
Breer points to the low ceiling of Alex Smith, how they finished last season and the contract situation of Jamaal Charles as a reason for regression for the Chiefs.
“Jamaal Charles’ contract situation is simmering and if you’re him you almost have to hold out. You’re an aging running back on the back end of your contract not making a lot of money this year, plus the offense revolves around you. If you take him out of that offense the offense is in trouble. They have all the earmarks of a team that’s going to take a step back.”
Breer likes the additions of veterans Justin Tuck, Maurice Jones-Drew and LaMarr Woodley in Oakland, but the Raiders are still the Raiders and once again will be a non-factor in the AFC.
Listen below for the full AFC West preview: