Peyton ManningThe Denver Broncos have a lot going for them this season. Many experts have them as the team to beat in the AFC, as well as the the entire NFL.

These five situations could derail their playoff and championship hopes.

1. Peyton Manning is lost for the season

Yeah, I know, this one is the easiest. One of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history is lost for the season and his team misses the playoffs. The thing here is that it has happened to Manning before. The Broncos are dead in the water if Peyton goes down.

2. Lack of balance

Peyton Manning rights most wrongs, but the offense is depending on two young running backs to carry the rock and protect their franchise QB. Denver will need Ronnie Hillman and Montee Ball to step up to make this offense truly dangerous.

3. Distractions...

The front office is run by John Elway. Easily the most recognizable face in the history of the franchise. It seems like he has a bunch of monkeys running around that can't make sound personal choices. Most of the time this wouldn't be a big deal, but Tom Heckert and Matt Russell are the directors of their respective departments. If they can't get themselves right, how will they get the right players on the field?

4. Von Miller is suspended.

The loss of Elvis Dumervil puts a lot of pressure on the Broncos' star. Miller has a potential drug suspension pending and he just missed a court hearing. If Miller can't get his head right, this defense might have a real problem. 

5. Coaching

John Fox took a knee at the end of last year's game against the Ravens. While many will argue one way or another whether that is the play, Elway may not agree with his coach's decision-making if he becomes too conservative.