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NFL 2015: AFC West preview

Derek Carr of the Oakland Raiders celebrates a

Derek Carr of the Oakland Raiders celebrates a touchdown in the second quarterof an NFL game at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on Sunday, Dec. 7, 2014, in Oakland. Photo Credit: Getty Images / Brian Bahr

Denver Broncos (12-4)

There ought to be a little concern in Denver about Peyton Manning after his late-season slump in 2014. Eventually, he's going to look his age. That's why the Broncos would be wise to ease the burden with more run plays and allow Manning to thrive in play-action. Fear not; a potent offense and sturdy defense keeps this team humming.

Kansas City Chiefs (10-6)

Running back Jamaal Charles will continue to be the focal point of an offense that improved by adding Jeremy Maclin. The Chiefs won't pour it on very often, but they can put up at least 24 points most of the time. The defense, led by linebacker Justin Houston, will take care of the rest for a borderline playoff squad.

San Diego Chargers (8-8)

The Chargers turned heads in 2014 by winning nine games and they could do it again. Quarterback Philip Rivers is still around after receiving a massive contract extension, and he's got rookie running back Melvin Gordon to help on the ground this year. Their defense is an asset, too. If San Diego overcomes a challenging schedule, they could make waves.

Oakland Raiders (3-13)

If there's one team projected at four wins or less that could get to .500, it's the young Raiders. Quarterback Derek Carr had the look of an NFL starter as a rookie in 2014, and he just got the draft's best receiver in Amari Cooper. Talented second-year linebacker Khalil Mack is the face of the defense.


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