AFC West Q&A: Who will be the division MVP?

Today's question: Who will be the AFC West MVP?

Jeff Legwold, Denver Broncos reporter: If he can fight the energy-sapping tug of lame-duck football, Raiders quarterback Derek Carr could be the guy. But folks are sadly mistaken if they believe the Raiders' home games are going to be predictable affairs. There isn't an enormous sample size for the situation the Raiders will play in -- home games in the city they're leaving with the team's move a couple of years off. When situations such as this have happened, the jilted "home" fans often turn on the team quickly and opposing fans often buy up plenty of the seats. That can be difficult to overcome. If the Raiders can have a big year, though, Carr should have a big year.

If the Raiders can't overcome their lame-duck situation, the Broncos' Von Miller is poised to have a big year as well. The Broncos are elite in the secondary, have speed at linebacker and will sport an improved, more physical defensive front. All of that means Miller will have more room to work with than he did last season and opposing offenses will pay a far greater price for ganging up on him.

Adam Teicher, Kansas City Chiefs reporter: It's an upset (and probably great news for the other three teams in the AFC West) if it's not Oakland quarterback Derek Carr. With 28 touchdown passes and six interceptions last year, he had numbers good enough to put him in the discussion for Offensive Player of the Year before breaking his right leg in the next-to-last game of the season. He was the only quarterback in the AFC West to be among the top 15 last season in passer rating. If Carr doesn't have similar numbers this season, it's difficult to picture the Raiders as serious contenders for the division title. The Raiders didn't play defense well enough last season to win the AFC West without a great year from Carr. If Carr doesn't win, it's fair to expect the division MVP to be a defensive player. Oakland linebacker Khalil Mack, Denver linebacker Von Miller and Los Angeles Chargers defensive end Joey Bosa immediately come to mind. The Chiefs have three defensive players who have had recent seasons where they could have been a division MVP: linebacker Justin Houston, cornerback Marcus Peters and safety Eric Berry.

Eric D. Williams, Los Angeles Chargers reporter: Derek Carr put up MVP-type numbers last season before breaking his leg. And with more playmakers in running back Marshawn Lynch, tight end Jared Cook and receiver Cordarrelle Patterson, Carr should be even more dangerous in 2017. Also helping Carr is one of the best offensive lines in the NFL. The Raiders allowed a league-low 18 sacks last season and cleared the way for a running game that averaged 4.4 yards per rush, tied for 10th in the NFL.

Paul Gutierrez, Oakland Raiders reporter: Two words: Khalil Mack. Or, if he figures out a way to beat the Kansas City Chiefs: Derek Carr. Yes, the Oakland Raiders are loaded with, as I professed earlier, the best one-two punch in the AFC West in terms of defensive and offensive players. Mack and Carr were the Raiders' first two picks in their transcendent 2014 draft, and they are paying huge dividends. Mack is the reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year and Carr finished tied for third in league MVP voting, behind Matt Ryan and Tom Brady, despite missing the season finale. Mack dominated games in which he did not register a sack, and if the rest of his defensive mates give him more help this year, Mack will be unstoppable. Carr, meanwhile, has the look of a league MVP candidate in the near future, even if he is 1-5 against the Chiefs.