Can the Broncos keep up in the AFC West this season?

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The Denver Broncos appear to be back on track with new quarterback Russell Wilson leading the charge, but the team still faces an up-hill battle in their own division.

The Patrick Mahomes-led Chiefs have won the AFC West in six-straight years and Denver hasn’t defeated KC since Peyton Manning retired. The Chargers and Justin Herbert also appear to be an AFC contender on paper and the Raiders just boosted their offense by reuniting Derek Carr with star WR Davante Adams via trade this offseason.

In such a tough division, a third-place finish might still put the Broncos in contention for a Wild Card spot in the playoffs, but coach Nathaniel Hackett and his squad have higher aspirations.

“We preach it every single day how important it is to win the West,” safety Justin Simmons said in April.

Fans in Denver would be content with a Wild Card playoff berth after a six-year postseason drought, but Wilson’s arrival has the team chasing a worst-to-first turnaround in the division.

This post originally appeared in a special edition of USA TODAY Sports: NFL Forecast 2022.

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