It has been four seasons since an NFL betting team other than the San Diego Chargers have claimed the top spot in the AFC West, and heading in to 2010-11, it doesn’t appear as though there are any legitimate contenders to end that streak.
This year will be very different in California however, as for the first time in a decade running back LaDainian Tomlinson will not be leading the charge in Qualcomm Stadium. After nine years of record-setting production, age and future salary cap concerns kept the Chargers’ all-time leading rusher from resigning long term with the club, causing Tomlinson to take his talents to the Big Apple where he is now employed by the New York Jets. The move completes the transition from a rushing-based offense to an air-it-out attack, a change that was inevitable given the talents of quarterback Phillip Rivers and his receivers. Vincent Jackson, Malcolm Floyd, and tight end Antonio Gates are all taller than 6’4 with speed to burn, and rarely does a ball thrown in any of their directions touch the ground.
[adinserter block=”1″]San Diego won 11 straight games to end the regular season at 13-3 in 2009-10, but a loss to the Jets in the playoffs was proof that while the offense has arrived, head coach Norv Turner’s troops will have to be much better on the defensive side of the ball. The keys to better defending will be the ability to replace departed defensive tackle Jamal Williams in the middle, while creating a more consistent pass rush, which is where former Pro Bowler Shawne Merriman will have to rebound as early as the NFL betting preseason.
The Denver Broncos finished second to the Chargers a year ago, missing out on the betting postseason for a fourth straight year despite finishing .500. The fact that head coach Josh McDaniels was able to keep his team above a losing record despite being in his first year with the team, and the considerable turnover that took place, is a testament to that he was ready to make the leap from coordinator to top dog. McDaniels and company will be hard-pressed just to maintain their eight-win mark in 2010-11, especially considering they dropped 13 spots in offensive rankings from 2008 to 2009, and lost top receiver Brandon Marshall and top tight end Tony Scheffler.
[adinserter block=”2″]The Oakland Raiders and Kansas City Chiefs have combined to average just 4.0 betting NFL wins per season over the past three years, and while both have made changes that on paper seem to be for the better, it is hard to project either being much better in 2010-11. The Raiders finally cut ties with former first overall pick quarterback Jamarcus Russell, replacing him with former Washington Redskins’ starter Jason Campbell. Owner Al Davis and company feels this is a team on the verge of something special, but as has been the case with this franchise over the years, it will have to be proven on the field. The Chiefs will be in year two of the Todd Haley/Matt Cassell experiment, but with a lack of major upgrades to the roster this past offseason, it will be difficult for this team to be much better than the one that lost seven of their first eight games en route to a 4-12 season a year ago.
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