Reasons the Denver Broncos Should Be Favored in the AFC West

Jennifer Eakins@@themondaymommy Contributor IJuly 21, 2012

June 4, 2012; Englewood, CO, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) speaks to wide receiver Demaryius Thomas (88) following organized team activities at the Broncos training facility. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-US PRESSWIRE

Three out of four teams in the AFC West finished last season with an 8-8 record. That doesn't exactly scream powerhouse NFL division.

The Denver Broncos are looking to change that. As the defending champions of the division, the Broncos made some key off-season moves, setting themselves up for a repeat.

Peyton Manning alone has accounted for his share of victories in the past with the Colts. If he can perform at even half of his level of play in Indy, it could be enough to add two or three wins, thus taking the AFC West.

Manning comes into this season armed with young talented receivers in Eric Decker and Demaryius Thomas along with guys he's familiar with in Brandon Stokley and Jacob Tamme. Denver's running game was successful last season and should only improve with Manning under center.

The addition of Jack Del Rio is a huge positive for the Broncos defense. A healthy Von Miller, Champ Bailey and newcomer Tracy Porter should wreak havoc on the division's offenses.

The other three teams in the AFC West could see some improvement as well but not enough to edge out the Bronco's at the top of the division. Here's a look at the reasons why the Bronco's will be triumphant.


Norv Turner is still the coach of the San Diego Chargers

On paper the Chargers have been the team to beat in the AFC West for several years. Talent-wise they have been stacked and just can't seem to put it together on the field.

With Turner calling the shots, it seems these guys are destined for mediocrity. They will certainly need to step up their play on the field and win more than eight games to make a run for the division title. It also doesn't help San Diego that they lost key offensive players Vincent Jackson and Mike Tolbert.

It would seem that this is the last chance for Turner to take advantage of the talent on his squad and elevate their game to a higher level.


The Chiefs are still the Chiefs

Kansas City finished last year with a 7-9 record, firing head coach Todd Haley midway through the season. To be fair, the Chiefs suffered a few crucial injuries last season including those to quarterback Matt Cassel and running back Jamaal Charles. 

When healthy though, Cassel is still pretty inconsistent. He showed glimpses of solid quarterback play in 2010 but had a lackluster performance in 2011. The Chiefs did make some offensive improvements in the off-season and are certainly hoping to get out of the basement of the AFC West.


Matt Leinart was the Raiders best off-season move

The Raiders kissed away their chances of acquiring great new talent when they traded for quarterback Carson Palmer, losing 2012 draft picks.

When healthy, Darren McFadden is a bright spot in the offense. However, the Raiders lost Michael Bush, a solid counterpart to McFadden in the running game.

The Raiders are certainly in a rebuilding phase and will need some improvement on both sides of the ball to contend for the top of the AFC West.

The Broncos off-season acquisitions coupled with talent already on their roster put them in a great position to repeat as division champions. With an inconsistent and shaky division, a healthy Broncos team should have no problem edging out the other squads and coming out on top of the AFC West.