The Road To MetLife Stadium: 5 AFC Teams Who Could Keep Broncos From Returning To Super Bowl XLIX

The Road to MetLife Stadium did not end quite how the Denver Broncos had hoped, but they know that they are still built to contend for the next couple of seasons. Despite a blowout loss in MetLife Stadium in Super Bowl XLVIII against the Seattle Seahawks, as long as Peyton Manning comes back in 2014, the Broncos will still be a contender to reach Super Bowl XLIX in Glendale. Of course, a lot has to go right for Denver, including continuing to sign the right players in free agency and select the best players in the 2014 NFL Draft, but the Broncos are definitely still going to be a top team in the AFC next season. Many things are still possible, as the NFL has proven to be nothing, if not unpredictable, and the competition will be stiff. With that being said, I can see at least these following five teams in the AFC proving as a tough test for the Broncos in 2014, as they will look to keep them from reaching consecutive Super Bowls.

In the spirit of full-disclosure, I’m working as part of the Road to MetLife Stadium Preferred Blogger Program. Throughout the year I’ll be receiving special access to MetLife events and be conducting reader giveaways, with prizes provided by MetLife and Sony Electronics. However, no payment was given or expected for posting about the program, and as always, all opinions given here are fully my own.

5. San Diego Chargers – We all found out that Philip Rivers’ career is not done quite yet. New head coach Mike McCoy seemed to bring something out of Rivers that we had not seen in some years. If the receivers can remain healthy, or if the team finally decides to spend a bit of money on a talented wide-out in 2014, this team will once again prove to be a thorn in Denver’s side, much as they were last season.

4. Pittsburgh Steelers – I know that they didn’t even make the playoffs last season but, boy, were they close. The Steelers improved throughout the season, and will now receive a full season from Le’Veon Bell. They may need some help on both sides of the ball, but Pittsburgh is always a threat.

3. Indianapolis Colts – This is a young and talented team, led by Andrew Luck. Reggie Wayne should be back. The defense played well late in the season, aside from the wild card game against the Kansas City Chiefs. If they can get more on the ground from Trent Richardson or somebody else, they will once again be a playoff team. After all, they did hand the Broncos one of their only losses in 2013.

2. Cincinnati Bengals – Good Andy, or Bad Andy? That is the question in Cincinnati. The defense is solid. The offense has the pieces in place. When Dalton is on, the Bengals are as good as they come. When he is off, they are barely a playoff team. Not to add pressure to his 2014 campaign, but the Bengals live and die on the arm of Dalton.

1. New England Patriots – Go ahead. Write off the Patriots. I dare you. Injuries, players leaving, lack of big names. It doesn’t matter. The Patriots appear to get worse on paper every season. They also continue to play in the AFC Championship Game. That may not change n 2014.

I hope that you have enjoyed the coverage of Super Bowl XLVIII as well as all of the story lines leading up to The Road To MetLife Stadium. Make sure to stay tuned to Boston Super Blog for more coverage and recaps as well as analysis of last night’s game in MetLife Stadium, as well as a look ahead to where the Broncos and Seahawks will go from here.

Finally, in case you have not yet seen the video of NFL players – both past and present – signing a collaborative version of the National Anthem, then what are you waiting for? I must admit that I went into it expecting to have some laughs, but these guys were pretty impressive. Current players such as Justin Tuck and Josh Brown of the New York Giants, Greg Jennings of the Minnesota Vikings and Nick Mangold of the New York Jets, as well as former stars including Emmitt Smith and Eddie George all got together to put out quite an impressive rendition of the National Anthem. If you have not yet seen it, make sure to check it out by clicking here.

Make sure to follow all of the latest on Twitter by using the #Road2MetLifeStadium and tag @MetLifeCentral, as well as checking back early and often to Boston Super Blog for all of the latest information regarding Super Bowl XLVIII in MetLife Stadium between the Broncos and Seahawks!


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About the author

Rob Kelley

Rob Kelley is a sports reporter for various newspapers in Florida, and is trying to break back into the sports writing game after a brief hiatus following the publishing of his first book, I'm Not a Quitter. He recently resigned as Editor-in-Chief and lead writer for The South Shore Magazine to pursue better opportunities. You can follow him on Twitter @RobKelley24.