The wild, wild West. Peyton remains behind his much better brother Eli in Super Bowl rings, Philip Rivers continues to father enough children to form his own football team, Andy Reid is what diabetes would look like as a coach and the ghost of Al Davis still haunts the Raiders.
Coach: John Fox
No surprise here. You could surround Peyton with a heap of trash and blind guys and he’d still throw for an absurd amount of yards. The fact that he’s got some weapons and a decent defense to back him up doesn’t change that.
A lot of people are concerned with Manning being 38, but I don’t think that matters much so long as he can stay upright. He’ll decline a little bit after losing Eric Decker, but not much. The dude just can’t lose. It’s actually getting annoying. We get it. You’ve only had two seasons with less than 10 wins in your career. Win another one and get out of the damn game. Oh, yeah. I guess the team does have some other people on it. Montee Ball/Demaryius Thomas/Emmanuel Sanders/Julius Thomas/Insert any other player here will probably do okay.
The defense lost some players, including veteran Champ Bailey, but still looks like a strong unit. DeMarcus Ware paired with Von Miller is downright scary. Maybe Aqib Talib won’t get high and assault people. Or maybe he will. It’d be more exciting than watching Manning succeed again. Talib’s one of the best cornerbacks in the game, but I’m perfectly fine watching him punch people.
Notable Losses: RB Knowshon Moreno, WR Eric Decker, CB Champ Bailey
Notable Additions: WR Emannuel Sanders, CB Aqib Talib, DE DeMarcus Ware
Notable Draft Picks: G Jack Meowhart, WR Donte Moncrief, LB Andrew Jackson
2013 Record: 13-3, AFC Champion
AFC North Record: 5-1
Best Case Scenario: 14-2, AFC Champion
Super Bowl losers often don’t bounce back well. But most Super Bowl losers don’t have Peyton Manning and a somehow improved defense.
Worst Case Scenario: 10-6, Wild Card
The AFC West does have some talent to contend with Manning, but there’s no way this team loses less than six games. A rematch against the Seahawks in Week Three should also be fun.