Last season, a resilient, head-scratching Tim Tebow-led Denver Broncos squad won the AFC West. However, Denver (8-8) suffered defeat as many times as it reigned victorious.
If the Broncos complete the previous task in consecutive seasons, it will be due to the laser, rocket arm of Peyton Manning. However, a surgically repaired neck could potentially cause those rockets to misfire.
Denver added another notable contributor to its roster by signing Tracy Porter, but it also lost the likes of WR Eddie Royal, backup QB Brady Quinn (which could prove costly if Manning succumbs to injury) and fan favorite Tim Tebow.
Willis McGahee will celebrate his 31st birthday during the season, which usually signifies a running back's spiraling decadence. The most pivotal loss, however, occurred with Brian Dawkins' retirement.
Yes, the Broncos found their offensive leader's replacement, but filling the void left by the defensive equivalent may be trickier.
For the first time in recent memory, the San Diego Chargers are also surrounded by question marks.
Coming into 2011, Philip Rivers—a perennial Pro Bowler—was primed to embark upon another signature journey, complete with mistake-free decisions and a 100-plus quarterback rating. However, defensive gurus rewrote the script to the movie that fans had grown accustomed to seeing.
Rivers posted a career-high amount of turnovers, headlined by 20 interceptions and seven fumbles. Offseason acquisitions have since bolstered the depth chart, but the losses of WR Vincent Jackson and RB Mike Tolbert are crushing.
Elsewhere, the word "risk" has become synonymous with the Oakland Raiders. The franchise gambled away this season's first-round pick, along with a second-round choice next year, in exchange for 32-year-old Carson Palmer.
The reward was three more interceptions than touchdowns throughout 10 contests.
If history repeats itself and Kansas City's top divisional competition records eight wins, Crennel will likely avoid a tragic ending in 2012.