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Football.com's Big, Bad NFL Preview Series: AFC West

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The Chiefs brought Alex Smith on board during the offseason, but even his addition probably won't be enough for Kansas City to compete with the Broncos for the AFC West crown. Photo by Peter G. Aiken/Getty Images.
The Chiefs brought Alex Smith on board during the offseason, but even his addition probably won't be enough for Kansas City to compete with the Broncos for the AFC West crown. Photo by Peter G. Aiken/Getty Images.

The AFC West division race proved to be the league's least interesting in 2012 as the Denver Broncos overcame a 2-3 start to win out and easily take the division. With Peyton Manning's addition, Denver stood head and shoulders above the rest of the competition and that will probably remain the case this season. The Broncos only got better by adding star receiver Wes Welker, while the rest of the division contains three rebuilding teams. The Kansas City Chiefs were seen as a playoff sleeper entering last season, but Romeo Crennel's squad finished with just two measly wins despite having a talented roster. Former 49ers quarterback Alex Smith came to Kansas City through an offseason trade and could make the Chiefs a potential wild card team, but Denver shouldn't have to worry about any of the other three teams threatening them for divisional superiority.

While Kansas City has potential to be a playoff team if everything goes perfectly as planned in Andy Reid's first season at the helm, the San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders appear ready for tough years as they rebuild. San Diego could find a way to hang around in the wild card race if Philip Rivers rediscovers his game, but the roster has a ton of holes and new coach Mike McCoy will need a miracle to lead the team to a winning record. Oakland has even bigger problems, as the team still hasn't named a starting quarterback and both sides of the ball are filled with unproven players who have little NFL experience. The Raiders could be in serious contention for the top pick in next year's draft.