Rewind to January, and the Denver Broncos were stuck in the perpetual mud of last place in the AFC West.

The Kansas City Chiefs were not only unstoppable in the division — beating the Broncos 13 straight times and winning the West six straight — they continued to show their dominance on the national stage.

Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs went 45 yards in 13 seconds to tie up the Buffalo Bills, send the game into overtime and eventually win in the AFC’s Divisional Round.

It was an incredible display of fantastic football. When the Bills scored and left a mere 13 seconds on the clock, most watching the game believed it to be over. But not with Mahomes, Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill, all of whom were crucial on that last-second drive.

Now, a mere two months later, and the tables have turned.

The Broncos, led by George Paton’s month-long talks with the Seattle Seahawks, were able to make the biggest trade in NFL history and land Russell Wilson. Of course, quarterback has long been thought of as the most important position in all of American sport, and that’s a fact Broncos Country won’t argue against.

Since Peyton Manning rode off into the sunset with a second Super Bowl win, the Broncos have floundered, missing the playoffs six straight years.

Meanwhile, the meteoric rise of Mahomes has been not only noticed in the Mile High City, but across the NFL. They’ve played in four straight AFC Championships, and attended two Super Bowls, winning one.

But, while the Broncos added Wilson — the key piece — to their roster, the Chiefs just lost one of their biggest weapons in Tyreek Hill. Hill was traded to the Miami Dolphins for many draft picks, including a first-rounder this year.

In fact, outside of Mahomes, Hill was the most potent weapon on the Chiefs’ offense. His speed is undeniable, which allows him to separate from defenders to get open, and then he turns on the jets to leave them in his dust. All while celebrating in their faces.

Last year, Hill caught 111 passes for 1,239 yards and 9 touchdowns. He easily led the Chiefs in the first two categories (Kelce also had 9 TDs). And, he was a First-Team All-Pro in 2020, with 1,200-plus yards and 15 scores.

Simply, Hill is unstoppable, even by the best secondaries.

But now, all that production and showboating have left the building. The Chiefs’ offense just got a whole lot less scary for the Broncos, Chargers, Raiders and the entire NFL.

Mahomes is still arguably the best quarterback in the NFL, but he has a 33-year old Kelce, the recently-signed JuJu Smith-Schuster and Mercole Hardman. They’re also rumored to be interested in trading for former CU Buffs wideout Laviska Shenault, who’s spent his time in the NFL with the Jaguars.

Smith-Schuster is the best wideout of the three, and after a career year in 2020 (831 yards, 9 TDs) he was injured and played in only five games last year.

By trading Hill to the Dolphins, the Chiefs’ offense has quickly become a lot less scary.

In fact, they’ve become merely human instead of superhuman.

The Broncos, now led by Russell Wilson — and his wideouts that are unquestionably better than the Chiefs’ — can beat human.

Of course, to be the champs, you have to beat the champs. The Chiefs aren’t just going to roll over and let the Broncos take the AFC West. Neither are the up-and-coming Chargers, nor the Raiders, who traded for Davante Adams and signed Chandler Jones.

But, in a mere two months, this division has tightened up significantly. Especially with Wednesday’s trade of Hill.

Still, the Broncos have a ton of work to do, that’s certain.

Not only do they have a new signal-caller, they have an entirely new coaching staff. Luckily, Wilson got his offense together and started working with them early.

Even that early work doesn’t mean the offense will run perfectly. There will be mistakes, missteps and turnovers.

But, as the season goes on, the Broncos will find their footing. They’ll be more competitive in the division than they’ve been in six years.

And, wildly, there’s a possibility Denver goes from worst to first in the division in only one offseason.

Certainly, with the two blockbuster trades this month, the AFC West just became a lot closer. And that’s going to make 2022 a lot more fun to be a fan in Broncos Country.