NFL

AFC West set for intriguing battle

Peyton Manning led the Broncos to the AFC West title last season (©GettyImages)
Peyton Manning led the Broncos to the AFC West title last season (©GettyImages).

Last season, the Denver Broncos tore the AFC West apart. Peyton Manning led them to an easy Divisional victory, and it was only an incredible game against the eventual winners, the Baltimore Ravens, that knocked them out of the playoffs.

This year, they will aim to go one better and win it. However, it could be an uphill struggle to even get into the playoffs.

The AFC West could have gone from being the worst division to one of the best in the space of just one offseason.

The Chiefs have made some incredible signings, and with Alex Smith at QB and Jamaal Charles leading the running game (with a better offensive line as well due to Eric Fisher, who has looked incredible in preseason) they could be a force to be reckoned with.

In addition, they have kept big names like Tamba Hali and Dwayne Bowe and as a result I believe they could go all the way, going from the team having the number one draft pick to winning the Superbowl.

The San Diego Chargers and the Oakland Raiders don't appear to be serious contenders for the AFC West title, but new Chargers head coach Mike McCoy appears to have the tools he will need to coax Phillip Rivers back on track. Rivers will be able to target rookie Keenan Allen for a new-look receiving game.

If Ryan Matthews is able to stay healthy all season, he could link up with new signing Danny Woodhead to create a running partnership as dynamic as the one at Carolina, where they average 4.5 rushing yards per play.

The Chargers have lost some important faces on defence, but picking up Dwight Freeney and Maniti T'eo in the draft means they could come up with some big plays when they need them most.

While San Diego have a suspect special teams outfit, which was shown against the Bears in week two of preseason as they had yet another punt blocked, they still have time to solve their problems before the season starts. They could make a surprise push for a wildcard spot and could be in with a chance if the Chiefs or Broncos slip up.

The Raiders are still the Raiders, just a slightly better Raiders. Expect them to come last in the division with only a sparse amount of wins.

With the teams above getting set for week one of the new season, it's unclear what will happen. Just know one thing: the AFC West is no longer the useless, tiresome division. It could house the Superbowl winner.

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Topics:
Denver Broncos
Oakland Raiders
NFL
San Diego Chargers
Kansas City Chiefs

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