The AFC West gets to boast the most recent Super Bowl champion—although, truly, only one team gets bragging rights: the Kansas City Chiefs.
Big shake-ups in the past offseason for the AFC West include the Los Angeles Chargers drafting a quarterback early and the Las Vegas Raiders relocating to Sin City. Other than that, the Denver Broncos are rebuilding on the fly steadily with Drew Lock entering year two; his first year as the full-time starter.
Who in the AFC West has it easier, and who has it tougher, in the NFL's 2020 regular season schedule?
4. Las Vegas Raiders
The Raiders might be one of the strangest teams, with an offseason including selecting two top-20 picks in the 2020 NFL Draft, including Alabama speedster receiver Henry Ruggs III while ostensibly alienating starting quarterback Derek Carr in the winter.
Nevertheless, out of the pick of splitting up the AFC North and South divisions for the AFC West in 2020, the Raiders get the Cleveland Browns (on the road) and Indianapolis Colts (at home).
Additionally, despite a relatively early Week 6 bye week, the Raiders' second half is fairly easy. After facing the Chiefs in Week 11, Las Vegas doesn't play an above-.500 team from the 2019 season for the rest of the year. The Raiders, admittedly, have a tough first five weeks, but given their second half schedule, could we see a late AFC playoff push from Vegas in 2020?
3. Los Angeles Chargers
By virtue of coming in fourth place in the AFC West in 2019, the Chargers get to play the last-place finishers of the AFC South and North. That means facing the Jacksonville Jaguars at home and the new-look Cincinnati Bengals on the road (in Week 1, too).
Additionally, the Chargers—with plenty of questions of their own, such as how soon head coach Anthony Lynn will designate rookie Justin Herbert as the starting quarterback—have to play the NFC South (Saints, Buccaneers, Panthers all stand out as stiff competition), and don't really see a run of easy competition all year besides between Weeks 6-9 before their Week 10 bye, which sees L.A. the two lesser AFC East teams (Jets, Dolphins) and aforementioned Jaguars plus division rival Raiders.
Not too bad, but there is plenty to be proved on the gridiron in the AFC West.
2. Denver Broncos
A late push in the 2019 season bumped the Broncos' 2020 competition up a notch: two improving teams in the AFC South's Tennessee Titans (the postseason darling) and North's Pittsburgh Steelers, a team racked with injuries. Both teams competed for the final wild card spot last season and both will play Denver, with a home bout with Tennessee kicking off the season.
Along with those two AFC opponents, the Broncos play the new-look New England Patriots and Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the first seven weeks of the 2020 season. In the second half, Denver sees five of their six annual division matchups, three of them on the road, along with facing the Saints, Panthers, and Bills. This isn't going to be easy for Lock and crew.
1. Kansas City Chiefs
If you come at the king, you best not miss. The Chiefs have the toughest schedule among AFC West teams in 2020 and for good reason—they play the division winners of the AFC South and North—hosting the Houston Texans at home in their season-opener (a postseason rematch) and visiting last year's regular season best Baltimore Ravens in M&T Bank Stadium.
Additionally, the Chiefs, along with the rest of the AFC West, get to play the tough NFC South, with standout games including a road game against Tom Brady and the revamped Tampa Bay Buccaneers and visiting the Superdome to play the New Orleans Saints.