May 21, 2012; Englewood, CO, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) during organized team activities at the Broncos training facility. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-US PRESSWIRE
The AFC West was the tightest division in football last year with three teams tying for first (Denver Broncos, San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders at 8-8) and another one game out of first (Kansas City Chiefs at 7-9). The division changed quite a bit this offseason, especially in Denver, so things could be different in 2012 but I'm thinking the division will once again be extremely close.
Chargers GM AJ Smith talked with the San Diego Union-Tribune and said he thinks the division will be close once again, and he also said that he hopes the Broncos don't "run away with the division."
"I couldn't care less about predictions," Smith said Wednesday afternoon. "It's fun to do, and it stimulates conversation ... As far as the division race is concerned, I know this, it will be very difficult to win the West. The Broncos are defending champs, and they added Peyton Manning. The Raiders and the Chiefs are much better. The Broncos are led by one of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history. I just hope the Broncos don't run away with the division and leave the rest of us behind in the dust."
The Broncos are becoming the new Raiders, at least as far as my rivalry concerns go. I really, really do not want Denver to win the division, especially with Peyton Manning at the helm. Manning ruined the Chiefs playoff chances in January 2004 and January 2007. The Broncos screwed things up by beating the Chiefs in January 1998, when KC had one of its best teams.
In short, I really dislike all the AFC West teams, but especially the Broncos and especially Manning.