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I’m of the mindset that the AFC is superior to the NFC heading into the 2023 NFL campaign, but there’s also a lack of clarity in the AFC. In the North, how will the Joe Burrow and Marlon Humphrey injuries play out for the Bengals and Ravens, respectively? 

In the East, just how quickly can Aaron Rodgers turn the Jets’ culture around? And in the South, what should we expect from rookie head coaches and quarterbacks like DeMeco Ryans, C.J. Stroud, Shane Steichen and Anthony Richardson

Thankfully, we’ve reached the AFC West, where we get a bit of clarity: If you aren’t taking the Kansas City Chiefs as your projected division winner, then you haven’t been watching the NFL for the past three seasons. Let’s dive in and take a closer look. 

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4. Las Vegas Raiders

Last season’s record: 6-11

Current Vegas Over/Under: 6.5

Frascella’s Projection: 5-12

The storyline: Star RB Josh Jacobs continues to hold out… and does WR1 Davante Adams even want to be there? 

Fantasy sleeper: Jacobs and Adams are the ‘big names’ in Las Vegas, but WR2 Jakobi Meyers matches up very nicely with Jimmy Garoppolo’s throwing tendencies. I expect a very productive PPR season from Meyers in Josh McDaniels’ offense. 

Fantasy bust: I just don’t think I can take Davante as high as we normally take him. He already had an injury scare this preseason, and it just feels like he wants out of Las Vegas altogether. It could be a messy year for the Raiders, one in which Davante demands to go elsewhere and McDaniels ultimately gets fired. 

3. Denver Broncos

Last season’s record: 5-12

Current Vegas Over/Under: 8.5

Frascella’s Projection: 6-11

The storyline: Can new head coach Sean Payton ‘correct’ Russell Wilson in the final quarter of his storied NFL career? 

Fantasy sleeper: I really don’t see one, so I’ll have to say RB2 Samaje Perine. We know Javonte Williams is coming off a major injury, so Perine could be a benefactor in a number of different ways. 

Fantasy bust: Jerry Jeudy has all the talent in the world – but can he stay healthy and produce consistently? I just don’t think I can take him at his climbing ADP. 

2. Los Angeles Chargers

Last season’s record: 10-7

Current Vegas Over/Under: 9.5 

Frascella’s Projection: 9-8

The storyline: Is this finally Justin Herbert’s season to win a playoff game? If not, we can be pretty sure Brandon Staley will get canned. 

Fantasy sleeper: TE1 Gerald Everett found a nice rhythm with Herbert last season. He’s looking strong in two TE PPR leagues. 

Fantasy bust: WR3 Quentin Johnston is getting too much hype as a rookie. Keenan Allen and Mike Williams are still in the way, while Everett and Austin Ekeler get plenty of action and touches as well. 

1. Kansas City Chiefs

Last season’s record: 14-3

Current Vegas Over/Under: 11.5

Frascella’s Projection: 13-4

The storyline: Just keep the Momentum Train chuggin chuggin? We all know Andy Reid, Pat Mahomes and Travis Kelce lead the team to beat in the NFL. 

Fantasy sleeper: Little-known WR Justyn Ross has impressed in OTAs, mini-camp and training camp. The opportunity is there for him, as Tyreek Hill is long gone, while JuJu Smith-Schuster and Mecole Hardman are out of the mix as well. 

Fantasy bust: Kadarius Toney is simply hard to trust. Has all plenty of natural talent and ability… but where’s the justification to count on him? 

I’ll see ya right back here next week for my full NFC predictions. 

John Frascella is a published sports author who has been covering the NFL for 19 years. Follow him on Twitter aka ‘X’ @LegendSports7 for all things NFL, NBA and MLB throughout the year.

All of John Frascella’s Updated AFC Win Projections

1. Kansas City Chiefs: 13-4

2. New York Jets: 12-5

3. Buffalo Bills: 11-6

4. Baltimore Ravens: 11-6 (dropped from 12-15 due to Marlon Humphrey’s injury)

5. Miami Dolphins: 10-7

6. Cincinnati Bengals: 10-7 (obviously depends upon Joe Burrow’s injury timetable) 

7. Jacksonville Jaguars: 9-8

8. Los Angeles Chargers: 9-8

9. Pittsburgh Steelers: 9-8

10. Tennessee Titans: 8-9

11. Cleveland Browns: 8-9

12. New England Patriots: 7-10 

13. Denver Broncos: 6-11

14. Indianapolis Colts: 6-11

15. Las Vegas Raiders: 5-12

16. Houston Texans: 5-12