After the Denver Broncos defeated the Carolina Panthers 24-10 in Super Bowl 50, the Broncos lost a few key players on both sides of the ball. Quarterback Peyton Manning retired, and QB Brock Osweiler, who was supposed to replace Manning, signed with the Houston Texans. The Broncos didn’t re-sign linebacker Danny Trevathan or defensive lineman Malik Jackson.
However, the Broncos defense returns linebackers Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware as well as cornerbacks Chris Harris Jr. and Aqib Talib. It’s hard to doubt this team even if their quarterback position is uncertain.
The Oakland Raiders have been on the rise in recent years. Led by QB Derek Carr and defensive end/linebacker Khalil Mack, the Raiders could be in the hunt for a playoff berth. In 2015, they went 7-9, which was an improvement from their 3-13 campaign in 2014.
Last season, the Kansas City Chiefs made the playoffs, and defeated the Houston Texans 30-0 in the wild card round. The Chiefs should be in the hunt for a playoff berth in 2016.
The San Diego Chargers went 4-12 in 2015 and finished last in the division. Perhaps they’re the AFC West’s dark horse, but it seems like the Chargers have the smallest chances to make the playoffs.
The Broncos, Raiders, and Chiefs all have a shot at winning the division title, and the Chargers could be in the hunt as well. Possibly three of the four teams could make the playoffs depending on seeding.