It's near impossible to predict how the AFC West is going to shake out in 2012. The Broncos are led by a legend whose head is currently resting on a gigantic question mark, the Chargers seem philosophically opposed to fulfilling their potential, and almost nothing would be surprising from the Oakland Raiders or the Kansas City Chiefs.
It could work out, though, that the Chargers come up short in the division because of the improvement the Broncos are likely to make with Peyton Manning as their quarterback.
Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers isn't thinking like that, though. He says he's tickled pink that Manning is now in the division.
"I was probably one of the few people that was crazy enough to say it, but I was hoping he was going to Denver," Rivers said Wednesday on NFL Network. "And I say that with all respect. Certainly going to make it even tougher, you look at Indianapolis when he was there, they went like 10 straight years winning 10 games or more, so we certainly can't expect that 8-8 will get us in." [...]
"I always believe, why wouldn't you want to play the best?"
Because you're not the best, and the best guy will beat you? Oh, I'm sorry. That was probably rhetorical.
Rivers' attitude is what you'd expect from a competitor, though. He's a confident guy and a very good quarterback, and the best want to test themselves against the best. It's the nature of supremely competitive people. Sometimes it's a quality that makes them say things that seem outlandish (or maybe not), but it's also part of what makes them as great as they are.
Rivers will play Manning's Broncos for the first time in Week 6. He's probably very much looking forward to it. I don't know if the same could be said about the Chargers' cornerbacks and safeties, though.