AFC West Update: Broncos announce starting running back, and Antonio Gates returns for another season


Raider Nation, welcome back to an all new season of Raiders football, as well as an all-new edition of the AFC West Update.

Aside from the Los Angeles Chargers, the division has seen a lot of turnover, and each team will have a multitude of new faces on their roster in 2018. It won't take long for the Silver and Black to meet a division rival on the gridiron, as the team is set to challenge the Denver Broncos in Week 2. The Chiefs and Chargers have a juicy matchup Week 1 however, as they'll kick the 2018 campaign off in Carson, Calif., against each other.

With the first set of games ready to begin in the next few days, let's check out some of the news that's been swirling around the AFC West.

Denver Broncos

As a graduate of the University of Oregon, when I found out the Broncos had drafted Royce Freeman I felt a sharp pain in my heart. The Pac-12's all-time leader in touchdowns had quite the career as a Duck, totaling 6,435 scrimmage yards during his four years in the Pacific Northwest, and added 64 total touchdowns. When the Broncos selected Freeman in the third round of the 2018 NFL Draft, many applauded the team for their pick, and after a strong training camp, as well as four preseason games, he's been awarded the starting job.

Head Coach Vance Joseph announced Monday that 5'11", 230-pound tailback would sit atop the team's depth chart to start Week 1, and no one is expecting that to change any time soon. He'll get his first start against the Seattle Seahawks in the Mile High City.

Power Rankings (according to

Current – No. 20

Previous – No. 22

Kansas City Chiefs

The Patrick Mahomes era is beginning in Kansas City, and the hype surrounding him seems to be growing.

Ever since the Chiefs traded up in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft to select Mahomes, all we've heard is that the kid has a cannon for an arm. The former Texas Tech Red Raider has pieced together an impressive preseason, and showed off his ability to throw deep with a 69-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Tyreek Hill during the preseason. The second-year signal-caller will get his first real test of NFL action this weekend against a tough Chargers defensive front, we'll see how he handles the pressure in the pocket.

Kickoff between the Chiefs and the Chargers starts at 1:05 p.m. PDT.

Power Rankings:

Current – No. 17

Previous – No. 17

Los Angeles Chargers

Antonio Gates is undeniably one of the greatest tight ends to ever play the game of football, and after hauling in a record-breaking 112th touchdown reception in Week 2 of 2017 he's back for more in 2018. A season ago, Gates became the tight end with the most touchdown receptions in NFL history, and earlier this week the Chargers announced No. 85's return.

When you think of the Chargers, one of the first people that comes to mind is Antonio Gates. In 15 seasons with the Bolts, Gates has totaled 11,508 receiving yards, 114 touchdowns, 927 receptions, and has been named a Pro Bowler and First-Team All-Pro a handful of times. We'll see how he's able to add to his legacy in 2018.

Power Rankings:

Current – No. 10

Previous – No. 12

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