>Denver Broncos

Last playoff appearance: 2011 (lost in divisional round)

Longest playoff drought: 17 seasons (1960-76)

Other notable droughts: Weakside linebacker D.J. Williams will serve a six-game suspension for a drug violation.

The good: Why they'll win the division: Peyton Manning. One of the greatest quarterbacks in the history of the game has the power to transform a team.

The bad: How it could all fall apart: One hit to Manning, who still can't be 100 percent sure of how his surgically repaired neck will hold up to an NFL collision. He's that important.


>San Diego Chargers

Last playoff appearance: 2009 (lost in divisional round)

Longest playoff drought: 13 seasons (1966-78)

Other notable droughts: The Chargers haven't blocked a field goal since Nov. 3, 2002.

The good: Why they'll challenge the Broncos: Philip Rivers is better than the quarterback who turned the ball over 25 times last season. He'll show that.

The bad: Why the window has closed: Things have gotten too stale under coach Norv Turner and General Manager A.J. Smith, both of whom have overstayed their welcome.


>Oakland Raiders

Last playoff appearance: 2002 (lost in Super Bowl)

Longest playoff drought: Current

Other notable droughts: The Raiders haven't had a first round draft pick the last two years.

The good: Room for improvement: Quarterback Carson Palmer should be more comfortable in the offense after a full offseason.

The bad: Cause for concern: Starting cornerbacks Ron Bartell and Shawntae Spencer combined for one start last season, bad news in a division featuring Manning and Rivers.


>Kansas City Chiefs

Last playoff appearance: 2010 (lost in wild card round)

Longest playoff drought: 14 seasons (1972-85)

Other notable droughts: The Chiefs haven't won a playoff game since 1993.

The good: Welcome back: St. Francis product Brian Daboll, the new offensive coordinator, will have running back Jamaal Charles and tight end Tony Moeaki back from ACL injuries.

The bad: Missing in action: A suspension to stud pass rusher Tamba Hali is not the way for the defense to start the season.