While the Broncos will likely repeat as division champions, they will not go uncontested.
The new-look AFC West could prove that they are the best division in football when next season begins.
Terrelle Pryor breaks a would-be tackle
2012 Record: 4-12
The Raiders have been one of the most disappointing teams over the past few seasons. While they have certainly seen worse years, they have not lived up to their offseason expectations.
While Palmer has shown great leadership at times, his ability has significantly diminished recently. Pryor, on the other hand, is a very physically gifted athlete, but still needs some developing before he can lead a team.
He did show flashes of his ability last season, but it doesn’t seem like he is quite ready to be the face of a franchise.
The Raiders will still be a tough, gritty team in 2013, but they won’t win the games they need to.
2013 Prediction: 5-11
Philip Rivers extends the ball across the plane
2012 Record: 7-9
Philip Rivers and the Chargers are another example of a team that did not live up to their high expectations.
With one of the best quarterbacks in the league in Rivers, and a solid defense to match a solid offense, it is surprising that the Chargers fell apart like they did in 2012.
The defining game of the season for them had to have been the first meeting between Denver and San Diego in prime time. Despite being up by more than 20 points at halftime, the Chargers let Manning lead the Broncos to a come-from-behind victory.
After that game, the Chargers had a rough time beating talented teams down the stretch.
They will be an improved offense behind new head coach Mike McCoy, and could be more explosive than ever. Rivers could easily have his best season statistically if they can put the pieces together.
Look for the Chargers to become a more threatening team in 2013.
2013 Prediction: 8-8
Chiefs head coach Andy Reid
2012 Record: 2-14
When Andy Reid was hired by the Chiefs, it was clear that the franchise was going to be an improved squad by season’s start.
Reid is one of the most well-respected football minds in NFL history and will take control of a Chiefs roster filled to the brim with talent.
With countless former first rounders on the defensive side of the ball and the speed of the offensive side, the Chiefs roster looks pretty good on paper.
Smith has been on fire since his magical 2011 campaign and will only continue his success at Arrowhead.
The Chiefs will be a tough team to beat in 2013, and could very well make a playoff push in what would be a Cinderella season.
2013 Prediction: 10-6
Peyton Manning celebrates a Denver touchdown
2012 Record: 13-3
The 2012 AFC West champions will see more competition from their division in 2013, but will still repeat as the best in the West.
Peyton Manning is still performing at an extremely high level, and the defense is arguably the league’s best. With one full season with Manning at the helm under their belt, the Broncos will be an even better team in 2013.
The Broncos did the one thing they absolutely had to do this offseason, and that was retain LT Ryan Clady. By locking in Clady, they have shored up the left side of their offensive line for at least another year.
Manning will be Manning, and the rest of the offense will catch up sooner rather than later. The defense, led by all-pro LB Von Miller, will see another year of dominance under Jack Del Rio’s system.
Don’t be surprised if you see the orange and blue in the Super Bowl next season.
2013 Prediction: 13-3