AFC West Q&A: Who will be the division MVP?

Today's question: Who will be the division MVP?

Jeff Legwold, Denver Broncos: At a time when quarterbacks and receivers continue to pile up the big numbers, the division has the prospect of three running backs -- Kansas City’s Jamaal Charles, Denver’s C.J. Anderson and San Diego’s Melvin Gordon -- powering their teams’ offenses. But Peyton Manning could have a big year in what could be his last ride with the Broncos. The key will be coach Gary Kubiak finding a balance between Manning’s desire to throw the ball early to get in a rhythm and Kubiak’s desire to protect his quarterback with a run game that isn’t simply an afterthought. It's a tall order, especially when Manning’s inconsistencies from 2014 are considered. Former coach John Fox wanted to run the ball more down the stretch and Manning never seemed to regain his form from earlier in the season, especially after a December thigh injury. But Kubiak is smart and played quarterback. It’s a good bet Manning will put together a big year.

Adam Teicher, Kansas City Chiefs: It’s time to look to someone other than Manning, who looked old and tired and every bit the broken-down quarterback at the end of last season. San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers is another obvious candidate, but I’m not sure the team around him is good enough to win the AFC West. I’ve boiled my options down to two pass-rushers: Denver’s Von Miller and Kansas City’s Justin Houston. I’ll give it to Miller just because the Broncos are the four-time defending division champions and I’m not certain the Chiefs are good enough to catch them. But they might be, and if they do, this honor goes to Houston. He’s the glue that holds the Chiefs’ defense together. Now the Chiefs need to find a way to sign Houston long-term. He is their franchise player and unsigned. An extended holdout threatens what otherwise could be a promising Chiefs season.

Bill Williamson, Oakland Raiders: Rivers is a free agent at the end of the season. He and the Chargers have said they want to continue their relationship, but until a deal is done, the chances of him leaving are real. Rivers, who turns 34 in December, will deliver in the clutch. He has had a revival under coach Mike McCoy in the past two years. He was given a running game when the Chargers took Wisconsin’s Melvin Gordon at No. 15 in the NFL draft. Gordon should take pressure off Rivers and will make him even more dangerous. I expect Rivers to have his third straight season with 4,000 passing yards and 30-plus passing TDs.

Eric D. Williams, San Diego Chargers: Even with a patchwork offensive line and a couple of different receiving targets, Manning will continue to put up video game numbers. And with Kubiak installing a zone-blocking scheme, Manning will get to show off his ability to make things happen in the play-action game. If the Broncos figure out how to keep Manning clean in the pocket, he will continue to produce at an elite level.