Young Playmakers for Raiders and Broncos Will Rekindle AFC West Rivalry

Nick Kostora@@nickkostoraContributor IIISeptember 24, 2012

Dec 19, 2010; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders running back Darren McFadden (20) is pursued by Denver Broncos linebacker Jason Hunter (52) at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum. The Raiders defeated the Broncos 39-23.  Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-US PRESSWIRE

Remember when the rivalry between the Oakland Raiders and Denver Broncos meant something?

A time when every meeting between them changed the balance of power in the AFC West?

Well, the nostalgia of those classic encounters may soon give way to a new take on the age-old duel, as young playmakers rekindle a flame that has all but burned out in recent years.

The AFC West is again a division that anyone can win, and players like Von Miller and Darren McFadden have the ability to elevate the Broncos and Raiders back into the realm of Super Bowl contenders.

Imagine the intense nature of an Oakland/Denver clash in December with the division hanging in the balance.

The 1980s would be proud.

There is a reason this is the most played rivalry in the history of Monday Night Football, with 17 meetings so far.

Fans want to see these teams battle for the division and restore a once-proud tradition.

And now, finally, we are seeing offenses that are capable of competing with the best the league has to offer.

The physical type of philosophy the Oakland Raiders abandoned in recent decades has returned because of the dynamic ability of McFadden. A bruising runner with a combination of size and speed that offenses salivate over.

The Broncos finally have the experienced quarterback in Peyton Manning who can get the most out of young and skilled receivers like Eric Decker and Demaryius Thomas.

This rivalry has playmakers everywhere.

Peyton Manning and Carson Palmer manage the offenses and get the ball into the young, skilled hands of their respective weapons.

Defensive standouts Von Miller and Michael Huff anchor the defenses and make them competitive.

This rivalry has the players to restore the type of passion and intensity that made it great in the first place.

Oakland and Denver have rebuilt and restructured themselves to be competitive for the foreseeable future, and one of the game's most storied rivalries will be restored to prominence because of it.