NEW YORK (AP) _ No Manning. No Brady, for the first four games. No clear-cut favorite in the AFC. With the regular season about to kick off, it’s anybody’s guess who’ll be the conference’s representative at the Super Bowl in Houston in February. The defending champion Denver Broncos will try to become the first team to repeat since New England in 2004-05. But they won’t have the retired Peyton Manning leading the way. Or even Brock Osweiler, who bolted from the Broncos and headed to Houston.
Instead, Gary Kubiak and the Broncos have been trying to sort out a quarterback mix that includes veteran Mark Sanchez, 2015 seventh-rounder Trevor Siemian and rookie Paxton Lynch, the team’s first-rounder this year. While their quarterback situation might be a big question mark, the Broncos know they’ve got one of the league’s best defenses back, especially with the return of Super Bowl MVP Von Miller. “If we’re like last year, our team didn’t worry about the other side of the ball,” defensive coordinator Wade Phillips said. “They worried about how well they played. That’s what we want to do. We have to outplay the other team’s defense. If they hold our team to not much, then we hold them to less. That’s the way we play the game.”