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NFL 2015: AFC West preview

Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) watches from

Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) watches from the sidelines during the second half of an NFL preseason game against the Arizona Cardinals, Thursday, Sept. 3, 2015, in Denver. Credit: AP / Jack Dempsey



First season

LAST SEASON: 12-4, won division, lost to Indianapolis, 24-13, in divisional playoff

OUTLOOK: Peyton Manning did plenty of soul-searching after last year's late-season struggles and playoff failure, but he felt good enough to give it at least one more run. Won't be easy, though. Not only are there questions about whether Manning's game is on the downside, but he's adjusting to new coach Kubiak's run-oriented system. Defense should be fine, as long as pass rushers DeMarcus Ware and Von Miller stay healthy and DBs Aqib Talib and T.J. Ward (who is suspended for the opening game) play up to expectations.



Third season (20-12, .625)

LAST SEASON: 9-7, tied for second in division

OUTLOOK: One of the most disturbing stats of the year: the Chiefs had zero -- yes, zero -- touchdowns by a wide receiver the entire 2014 season. It was a big reason they regressed to 9-7 after getting to the playoffs the year before. Enter Jeremy Maclin, who was drafted by Reid when he coached the Eagles. It's a major addition for an offense that struggled getting down the field, and QB Alex Smith will be better for Maclin's presence. The defense is terrific, led by pass rushers Justin Houston, who just re-upped on a long-term deal, and veteran Tamba Hali.



Third season (18-14, .563)

LAST SEASON: 9-7, tied for second in division

OUTLOOK: The Chargers are still all-in with Philip Rivers, who was signed to a contract extension over the summer, despite his reservations about whether the Chargers will be moving to the Los Angeles market. Rivers remains one of the league's most dynamic passers, but it's the addition of first-round RB Melvin Gordon that should really help Rivers thrive. It presents the threat of a better play-action passing game. Defense is a question mark, with only Melvin Ingram a reliable pass-rushing threat.



First season

LAST SEASON: 3-13, fourth in division

OUTLOOK: Del Rio gets another shot as a head coach, and he inherits a team with at least some promise. Second-year QB Derek Carr showed plenty of improvement last season, and he now has an elite receiving threat in Amari Cooper, the former Alabama star. LB Khalil Mack, last year's first-round pick, is one of the best young defenders in the game. Ageless S Charles Woodson provides good veteran leadership. Should be a better year in Oakland, even if it may not end with a playoff berth.

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