Today's question: Who will win the division and how many teams from the division will make the playoffs?
Jeff Legwold, Denver Broncos reporter: Until somebody shows they’re ready to push the Broncos aside, the division belongs to Denver. It’s won five consecutive division titles despite the best efforts of the others to stop the string. The Raiders, who finished 7-9 last season, including a win in Denver, have been the most aggressive in trying to unseat the Broncos. They have drafted impact players, led by Khalil Mack and Derek Carr, spent lavishly with piles of salary-cap room and have publicly professed their readiness to end their playoff drought. They also present, before any potential injuries on their roster or anybody else’s in the division, the best chance to break the Broncos’ streak. The Chiefs largely chose to stand pat while the Chargers, in the eyes of most personnel executives in the league, still have too many question marks on the depth chart. The Broncos have the core of their Super Bowl roster still in place but have dealt with a healthy dose of Super Bowl hangover. The Broncos won 11 games by a touchdown or less on the way to the title -- a sign of a staff doing the right things with the game on the line. The Broncos still look like they can grind to a division title, while Denver and Oakland figure to be the playoff representatives.
Adam Teicher, Kansas City Chiefs reporter: This year’s AFC West race looks as open as any since Peyton Manning took over as the Broncos quarterback in 2012. The Broncos, Chiefs and Raiders have legitimate reasons to believe they will win this year’s division title. While Kansas City or Oakland could certainly break Denver’s five-year hold on the AFC West championship, there’s no clear and compelling case to be made that either team has covered enough ground from last year to do so. So I’ll go with the Broncos to win a sixth straight division championship. Either the Chiefs or Raiders will join them in the postseason. I’ll go with the Chiefs in a tough call.
Paul Gutierrez, Oakland Raiders reporter: The Broncos are the defending champs and have a defense that many observers say reminded them of the 1985 Chicago Bears and the 2000 Baltimore Ravens. The Raiders are a sexy pick to break through and not only get their first winning record since 2002 but also claim their first playoff berth since going to the Super Bowl that same season. And the Chargers seem to have more important things on their mind -- like whether they are staying put in Mission Valley or moving to Los Angeles to join the Rams in Inglewood. Quietly, though, the Chiefs ran off an 11-game winning streak last year, including a 30-0 blowout of the Houston Texans in the playoffs, and they did it without running back Jamaal Charles, who tore an ACL in Week 5. He should be back to take some of the pressure off of quarterback Alex Smith, even if the defense is weakened by the departure of cornerback Sean Smith to Oakland. Which brings us back to the Raiders. Look, they are throwing more than flirtatious glances at Las Vegas as a potential future home, so let’s go with the gambling theme here by proclaiming that three teams from the AFC West will go to the NFL’s postseason tournament -- the Broncos, Chiefs and Raiders. And while defense won the Broncos a championship last year, it will also win them a division in 2016.
Eric Williams, San Diego Chargers reporter: I like the Chiefs to overtake the Broncos and win the AFC West for the first time since 2010. Kansas City has a consistent performer at quarterback in Alex Smith along with a good defense. With the Broncos going through a change at quarterback, 2016 should be the time for Andy Reid to take his team over the threshold and win an AFC West title. The Broncos and Raiders should compete for a wild-card spot, with the Broncos advancing to the postseason and Oakland finishing above .500 for the first time since advancing to the Super Bowl in 2002.