Denver Broncos, RISING: Addition by subtraction; that's how the Broncos continue to rise in my book. The Patriots were probably the Broncos' tallest hurdle in the chase for a Super Bowl championship, but with their recent troubles, it looks like the Patriots are weaker than ever. As long as the Broncos are able to stay healthy, they should be able to cruise into the playoffs, most likely with a first-round bye week.
Kansas City Chiefs, RISING: The Chiefs are one of the quickest rising teams in the league, at least that's what most analysts seem to believe. Really, the Chiefs still don't have the talent required to make a serious push to win the division, especially considering the Broncos' stranglehold on the crown, but Kansas City is making positive strides. This year is about stabilizing the ground, but next year, the Chiefs could be a very competitive team. For now, the Chiefs look like the division's second best.
San Diego Chargers, FLAT: The Chargers used to be chronically overrated, or perhaps they simply chronically underachieved. Regardless, there's still pieces in San Diego present, most notably a quarterback, but the Chargers won't be competing for the playoffs. Like the Raiders, they're missing too many key pieces to be a true contender.
Oakland Raiders, DOWN: The Raiders' biggest bit of news came this week when it was reported that they may be interested in building a new stadium. Unfortunately, new stadiums don't make the team any better, and the Raiders are suffering a very real identity crisis. The Raiders are betting that Matt Flynn is the answer. The problem is, there's no supporting cast.