It’s official – Peyton Manning will join the Denver Broncos in the AFC West. So what does this mean for the San Diego Chargers?
1) Chargers no longer the assumed favorite to win the AFC West. There will be increased competitiveness within the division with the addition of Manning. The team that will win the division is the team that can consistently win games from the beginning through the end of the season. The Chargers cannot afford to fall in to any slumps.
2) AFC West gains respect. Next to the NFC West, the AFC West has been the punch line of the NFL for at least the last decade. The Chargers have often been looked at as an average team, making it into the playoffs thanks only to being in a below-average division. Bringing in Peyton Manning should help to change that perception and ensure that future playoff teams from the AFC West are legitimate Superbowl contenders.
3) Division games will be more interesting. There are now two top-tier quarterbacks in the AFC West. The division rivalry between the Chargers and Broncos kind of sputtered out when Jay Cutler was traded to Chicago, but now that Manning is here the rivalry is back in full swing. Manning should make all AFC West games more interesting, but the matchup between Rivers and Manning has the potential to get a lot of primetime attention.
4) Pass rush just became Chargers’ top draft priority. Any speculation that the Chargers might draft an offensive lineman in the first round should be squashed at this point. The Chargers must draft a defensive player that can get to Manning. As badly as the offensive line needs to be addressed, the Chargers’ anemic pass rush simply cannot be ignored now that Manning is in the division.