When I was looking at the AFC West coming into this season, I felt it was a division that was up for grabs. A lot of people were quick to pick the Denver Broncos simply because they were able to add one of the biggest free agents ever known in quarterback Peyton Manning. I wasn’t one of those people to pick the Broncos because I had to see just which Peyton Manning we were going to get. I couldn’t forget the fact Manning missed all of last season with neck surgery and I had questions whether or not he could stay healthy for a whole season. I actually had the Kansas City Chiefs winning the division because I felt they had the best roster out of the four teams and they were getting a lot of players back from an injury-plagued last season (How bad does that pick look now?). Well not only has Manning come back to have a strong first season with the Broncos, he is having an MVP-like season. On top of that, the Broncos have clinched the AFC West with four games left to play in the regular season. A division I thought would be one of the most competitive in the NFL turned out to be an absolute rout. The Chiefs, Oakland Raiders and San Diego Chargers are absolute messes and the Broncos have more than taken advantage of that very fact. Not only have the Broncos already wrapped up the division, they are a serious contender to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl in February(I still have the Houston Texans going to the Super Bowl, but the Broncos are a big threat). Football is the ultimate team sport, but if there is one individual who can instantly turn a team into a potential Super Bowl contender, it’s Manning. We can never understate how valuable Manning was in his days with the Indianapolis Colts. We saw the Colts go 2-14 last season after Manning was injured, but with him, they were a legit Super Bowl contender every year(of course we all know last year’s awful season resulted in the Colts drafting QB Andrew Luck, so it did work out at the end). I just wasn’t sure if we were going to see that Manning we saw with the Colts. Even though I’m not a fan of the Broncos, I have always liked Manning, and I’m glad to say he has been that man for the Broncos and more. Concerns about him taking hits in the pocket have been silenced. The dedication and work ethic Manning brings have clearly rubbed off on his Bronco teammates, and the city of Denver are seeing visions of Super Bowl victory in New Orleans in a couple of months. These are things I did not see in Denver’s future, but I have to say I was wrong about Manning and the team. Congrats go out to the Denver Broncos for sewing up the AFC West, and don’t be surprised if this team comes out as the AFC representative in the Super Bowl.

By Charles Taylor

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