2013 NFL schedule: A closer look at the AFC West

USA TODAY Sports

As heavy favorites to win the division, the Broncos will have to fend off the Chargers, Raiders and Chiefs.

WIth the NFL's current scheduling format, teams within a division play an almost identical list of teams. But the order can be crucial, as is where the respective games are played. This season, the AFC West will take on the teams of the NFC East and the AFC South. Denver is the favorite to run away with the division, but will the schedule give the other three teams an extra boost?

Seeking their third straight AFC West title, the Broncos open the season against the defending champion Baltimore Ravens. It doesn't get much easier in Week 2 as they travel to New York to play the Giants. After prime time games against the Colts, Patriots and Chargers, Denver closes the season on the road against the Raiders.

Like Denver, the Chargers start their season in prime time, hosting Houston on Monday Night Football. San Diego will face some challenges late in the season, having a three-game stretch against the Bengals, Giants and Broncos that concludes in Week 15. Home games against Oakland and Kansas City finish off the season for a team looking to return to the playoffs for the first time since 2009.

The Raiders open up the season at Indianapolis, but three of their next four games will be played at home. Oakland closes the season with three straight division games, playing Kansas City, San Diego and Denver.

With the No. 1 overall pick in this year's NFL Draft, the Chiefs will have something to hang their hat on entering the season. They also don't face any playoff teams from a year ago in the first six weeks. For a team that went 2-14 last season, they could easily top that mark in the early going.

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