The Denver Broncos are looking poised to once again run away with the AFC West this season. With a rejuvenated Peyton Manning, a brand new coach whose focus is running the ball and a new look defense, the Broncos are hoping to make waves this upcoming year. However, like with every season, there are teams in the AFC West who want to dethrone the Broncos. Here is a ranking of how the AFC West (from worst to first) could be a threat to the Broncos this season.

3. Oakland Raiders

Yes, the days of the Raiders being the premier rival to the Broncos are long gone. But the team has a very bright future. With one of the most talented rookies in the 2015 class, Amari Cooper, a great solid quarterback in Derek Carr and a solid defense, this team’s future is very bright. If Carr can push the ball down the field more (his 5.5 yards per attempt was the lowest mark among any quarterback in the league with at least 100 attempts last season) the Raiders could be a formidable foe. But for the upcoming season, the Broncos do not have to worry about the Raiders coming for their AFC West crown. The Raiders are still trying to overcome the dysfunction of a revolving door of head coaches, something that won’t happen until Peyton Manning has long-since hung them up.

2. Kansas City Chiefs

On Morning Mayhem with Dan Williams and Marcello Romano on Mile High Sports AM 1340, Romano said that the Chiefs could surprise Denver,  but not to the effect that they take the AFC West. “The Chiefs won’t be tough to beat (here) at home, but beating the Chiefs on the road at Arrowhead Stadium will be the true difficult task.  If Jamaal Charles, who claims to be the ‘LeBron James of the NFL,’  can stay healthy, Denver may have a problem on their hands.”

Last season the Broncos were No. 2 in the league when it came to rushing yards allowed per game with 80.9, according to TeamRankings. Meanwhile, Charles averaged 69.8 yards per game in rushing. With the Broncos brand new defense, who knows how their rushing yards allowed will change under new defensive coordinator Wade Phillips, but the Chiefs will surely not crack the code enough to win the AFC West division title from the Broncos. At best, they will steal a game from them at Arrowhead.

1. San Diego Chargers

The Chargers are the number one threat in taking the Broncos division title away from them. Quarterback Philip Rivers is as dangerous as ever and with a revamped offensive line, it could spell big trouble for the Broncos defense. Williams said about the Chargers, “They are a formidable foe in the division, their offensive line is massive.”

Both Eric D. Williams of the San Diego Chargers and Bill Williamson said that the Chargers are Denver’s biggest threat this year in an ESPN article. Williams said:

San Diego could win the division at 10-6. This program has been coming together in recent years. Rivers is still in his prime. Gordon will make the offense more varied and dangerous and I like the Chargers’ top pieces on defense.

Williamson commented:

If they can stay healthy, the Chargers are situated the best to catch Denver. Led by Rivers, the Chargers can keep up with Denver’s potent offense with the addition of Gordon. Defensive coordinator John Pagano does a good job of making Manning work for points.

While outside of Denver, the AFC West might not be the most exciting division to watch this season, it will be interesting to see the Chargers and Chiefs can capitalize on Denver’s difficult schedule and keep things competitive late into the season.

Check out the full conversation from Morning Mayhem in the podcast below.

Listen to Morning Mayhem every weekday from 7a-9a on Mile High Sports AM 1340 or Listen Live anytime for what’s new and what’s next in Colorado sports.

Marcus Flowers, a Mile High Sports intern and Claflin University student, contributed to this report