At the age of 39-years-old; many fans, handicappers and gamblers alike are asking if this season will be the last for Peyton Manning. Entering his eighteenth season, the Super Bowl champion and MVP (XLI) underwent neck surgery in 2011 and appears to be winding down his hall-of-fame career. Despite losing to the Colts (24-13) and missing the conference championship last season, 2015 AFC West odds still favor Manning and the Denver Broncos at -200 to win the division for the fifth straight year. NFL predictions have the Kansas City Chiefs at +400 to upset Denver followed by the San Diego Chargers (+500) and Oakland Raiders (+1200). That being said, if the Broncos are to have any chance of winning the AFC West, the offensive line will need to make sure that Manning keeps his jersey clean.
Outside tackle Ryan Clady has been the one tasked with protecting Manning's weak side but since suffering a torn ACL during OTA's in May, the responsibility will now be handed to rookie Ty Sambrailo (Colorado State). Louis Vasquez will once again be slotted at right tackle but it is anyone's guess who starts at center and left guard. Manning will still have wide receivers Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders patrolling the sideline along with the addition of tight end Owen Daniels (Texans) but rely heavily on running back C.J. Anderson to carry most of the offensive workload. As for the defense, defensive end DeMarcus Ware and outside linebacker Von Miller will continue to cause opposing QB's to see plenty of orange while first round draft pick Shane Ray (Mizzou) will be eager to prove he was worth the selection.
The Kansas City Chiefs enter the year as +400 favorites in 2015 AFC West odds to win after going 9-7 SU and 7-9 ATS last season. Head coach Andy Reid will enter his third year holding the clipboard and is counting on QB Alex Smith and RB Jamaal Charles to lead the offense. Smith will have a former Reid protégé at wide receiver this year with the addition of Jeremy Maclin (Eagles) while veteran TE Travis Kelce will look to better last year's mark of 862-yards for 5-touchdowns. NFL predictions for the Chiefs have the squad projected to be one of the best pass defenses in the league with Derrick Johnson and Mike DeVito returning not to mention the addition of safety Tyvon Branch (Raiders).
Although listed as longshots in 2015 AFC West odds to win, the San Diego Chargers could be a valuable play at +500 since bulky up the offensive line with guard Orlando Franklin (Broncos) and King Dunlap (Eagles) to help keep QB Philip Rivers off the ground. Rivers threw 4,286-yards for 31-touchdowns last season and will have the reliable wide receiver tandem of Malcolm Floyd and Keenan Allen back with rookie RB Melvin Gordon (Wisconin) carrying the ball. The Achilles heel for the Chargers could be their defense however with numerous inexperienced rookies filling important roles. And then there are "da Raidahs." New head coach Jack Del Rio inherits an Oakland Raiders team that went an embarrassing 3-13 SU and 8-8 ATS last season. QB Derek Carr will have a RB tandem of Latavius Murray and Roy Helu behind him with first round draft pick Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree (49ers) in the slots. Other than that, how the Raiders season plays out is as unpredictable as where they will play in 2016.