<
>

AFC West Q&A: Who's the Denver Broncos' biggest threat?

2d
Play1:42
AFC West team that can catch Denver

ESPN NFL Insider Dan Graziano breaks down the race for the AFC West title.

Today's question: Which team among the Chiefs, Chargers and Raiders has the best chance of catching the Broncos and winning the AFC West and why?

Jeff Legwold, Denver Broncos: There are plenty of old salts in the league who simply rank divisions by quarterback play. Given that, the Raiders are a team with young talent that will rise if quarterback Derek Carr can push the ball downfield a little more -- his 5.5 yards per attempt was the lowest mark among any quarterback in the league with at least 100 attempts last season. The Chiefs may not have answered enough of their offseason questions and may face the same offensive struggles if running back Jamaal Charles doesn’t have a far healthier 2015. That leaves the Chargers, who have enough offense to catch the Broncos with quarterback Philip Rivers and rookie running back Melvin Gordon. The Broncos are 17-1 in division play over the last three seasons with the Chargers representing the only loss (in 2013). The Chargers still have the right formula: an offense good enough and disciplined enough to hold the ball and a defensive plan that has frustrated Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning at times.

Bill Williamson, Oakland Raiders: I’m going with San Diego. In fact, I think the Chargers will win the AFC West this season. I know it’s a bit of a surprise and I realize it would be the Chargers’ first AFC West crown since 2009, when they went 13-3. I just don’t expect this division to be terribly strong this season, and San Diego could win it at 10-6. This program has been coming together in recent years. Rivers is still in his prime. Gordon will make the offense more varied and dangerous and I like the Chargers’ top pieces on defense. I don’t know whether San Diego will be a Super Bowl contender, but I see it taking advantage of a Denver dip.

Eric D. Williams, San Diego Chargers: If they can stay healthy, the Chargers are situated the best to catch Denver. Led by Rivers, the Chargers can keep up with Denver’s potent offense with the addition of Gordon. Defensive coordinator John Pagano does a good job of making Manning work for points. With Brandon Flowers, Eric Weddle and Jason Verrett, San Diego can match up with Denver’s talented receiving group. And the addition of Jacoby Jones should improve a stagnant return game for the Chargers.