1. Denver Broncos (12-4): For the past three seasons, the Broncos offense was the talk of the league. I always said when their defense can get it going and play at a high level, watch out. For years, Peyton Manning was that guy that carried a team and this past season, he had a defense to finally carry him. When Peyton went down with the foot injury, Brock Osweiler came in and led the Broncos to a 5-2 record including a win over the undefeated Patriots. When the playoffs came around, Denver’s defense didn’t miss a beat and the Broncos won their first Super Bowl since 1999 and Peyton went out on top. With free agency beginning, it will be an interesting time in Denver for the defending Super Bowl champs.
2. Kansas City Chiefs (11-5): I remember throwing the towel in on these guys after they started 1-5 and Jamaal Charles went down with a torn ACL. After that, the Chiefs went on to win 11 straight games. Andy Reid had them playing with a lot of confidence, Alex Smith was playing well, Maclin was becoming comfortable in the system and Kelce was still the number one guy on the field as far as receiving targets were concerned. The defense was also playing well. The Chiefs also won their first playoff game in 22 seasons with a shutout win over the Houston Texans in the Wild Card before being eliminated the next week by New England.
3. Oakland Raiders (7-9): I’m definitely sold on the Oakland Raiders. They have the right head coach to lead the way and three homegrown players in Derek Carr, Amari Cooper and Khalil Mack. If they can get some more pieces and stay rebuilding in the draft, the Raiders will be relevant once again. They were one of the most improved teams in 2015. They were in games throughout the season but still would struggle to close out games. Derek Carr took that next step in becoming a franchise quarterback and he and Amari Cooper became known as “AC/DC”. The talent is there, the pieces are in place. The only way the Raiders can go is up.
4. San Diego Chargers (4-12): Last season was the worst I’ve seen the Chargers look in quite some time. It definitely won’t help when your team was plagued by injuries and your defense can’t stop anybody. The Chargers were without Keenan Allen for the remainder of the season after he lacerated his kidney. The offensive line struggled to protect Rivers and defensively, the Chargers couldn’t do anything right. No pressure on the quarterback, couldn’t stop anyone with the secondary and there were some games where they just showed no effort. They will be picking third in this years NFL draft.