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Predicting the final standings for all eight NFL divisions

Derek Carr's Raiders and Justin Houston's Chiefs are locked in a tight battle for the AFC West crown. Getty Images

A football bouncing from Kansas City Chiefs kicker Cairo Santos' right foot into one upright and through them both could decide the AFC West race this season. The Denver Broncos and Oakland Raiders will still have plenty to say about that, but the wacky overtime ending in Denver -- Chiefs 30, Broncos 27 -- showed again just how fraught the prediction business can be.

We soldier on, using input from coaches and evaluators to predict how all eight NFL divisions will finish, starting with those with the highest degrees of difficulty.


AFC West

Currently: Raiders 9-2, Chiefs 8-3, Broncos 7-4, Chargers 5-6

Prediction: Chiefs 12-4, Raiders 12-4, Broncos 11-5, Chargers 7-9

The Chiefs were my preseason choice to win the division at 11-5, but they needed that wild overtime victory at Denver on Sunday night to maintain the narrowest edge. That assumes Kansas City wins upcoming home games against the Raiders (Week 13) and Broncos (Week 16). It also assumes the Broncos will win at Tennessee and home against the Patriots. So many of those games could go either way, just like that epic Chiefs-Broncos game Sunday night.

"I think it's Denver until proven otherwise," a coach from another team said. "A lot rides on [Trevor] Siemian and how much he can open up their offense. [Gary] Kubiak likes to run and play-action pass. Siemian had three touchdowns [against the Chiefs], and two were longer. That supports their case."