Tuesday, September 4, 2007

NFL Preview & Predictions: AFC

This is the opening week for the National Football League and I begin today with my AFC Preview and Predictions. The AFC is feeling pretty good about itself since it has won eight of the last ten Super Bowls, with the NFC's last winner coming in 2003 in the form of the Tampa Bay Buccanears. The NFC looks like the driveling shits right now, as no team has made a solid claim on the conference where as in the AFC you have three legit Super Bowl contenders.

1. New England Patriots. Predicted Record 14-2
I know there seems to be certain players missing at the beginning of the season, but I do think BB and Brady are doing on last stretch for the Super Bowl before BB retires. With their additions on offense, I don't think the lack of defense will hurt them, it didn't hurt the Colts last year. I expect them to try the St Louis Rams idea of just out scoring their opponents.

2. Buffalo Bills. Predicted Record 6-10
I do believe this team is on the rise. They have had solid drafts the last few years and you will begin to see that emerge this season. They won't be playoff contenders, but they will disrupt other folks' season, namely the New York Jets. Watch JP Losman to have a stellar year with Poz being a possibly Defensive Rookie of the Year candidate.

3. New York Jets. Predicted Record 6-10
Yes, a down year for Mangenius and the Jets. Actually, I think it will be a down year for all New York football teams. The team with the most hope this year will be Rutgers and that will be a sign of the end of times. If Mangenius doesn't put Clemens in before the half way mark, then the record may even be worse.

4. Miami Dolphins. Predicted Record 4-12
I have big expectations out of Cam Cameron, but this is not the year for that. They have an non existent running game, which means they will rely on Trent Green to win games. Yeah, Green's head is spinning so much he thinks he is a Disney tea cup. I don't know who their QB is, but they've had worse luck with QBs then the Browns have.

1. Indianapolis Colts. Predicted Record 13-3
Another solid year of Peyton and Dungy, but I think the Patriots and Chargers may just very well have their number this year. We don't have to worry about Peyton's desire, but the rest of the team you might. I think they may have lost too much on defense to where the score more then my opponent strategy.

2. Tennessee Titans. Predicted Record 6-10
They Titans get the dubious honor of coming in second to the Colts this year. Now they MIGHT be 6-10 and they MIGHT be 1-15, it all depends on the play of Vince Young. Being a Longhorn faithful, I have enough faith that he will play well enough (without injury) enough to crawl to a 6-10 record. They also have a solid defense, even without Pacman Jones to keep them close in most games.

3. Jacksonville Jaguars. Predicted Record 5-11
To say I don't like the release of Byron Leftwich would be an understatement. I don't think Jack Del Rio has ever been truly behind Leftwich as his quarterback. They only last year gave him a running back he could rely on, and still doesn't have an receiving threats. They've concentrated their talent on the defensive side and have the best defensive tackle tandem in football, but that doesn't help an anemic offense.

4. Houston Texans. Predicted Record 4-12
What did this team do to help itself get better in the off season? They got rid of Carr for Schaub? That's fine and dandy, but I don't think there is much difference if you still haven't given him people to protect him enough to throw the football. The offensive line is the most important part of the team, if you don't have one your offense can't function. Yes, their defense got better and I understand the Colts play you twice. If you can't score on the Colts though, what hope do you have?

1. San Diego Chargers
. Predicted Record 14-2
San Diego SUPER Chargers. Yes, I have them as the Super team of the AFC this year. Norv built that offense years ago and it hasn't changed since he left, so there is no worry about the most dynamic offense in football falling a step behind. The thing they needed to change was Marty and the playoffs, which he has never been good at. Norv was a part of Champion playoff teams with the Cowboys, he knows what to do and this time he has the talent to do it.

2. Denver Broncos. Predicted Record 9-7
One of my two bubble playoff teams. Everyone seems to be talking about Vince Young and a sophomore slump, but no one talks that way about Jay Cutler, why not? Because there are so many positives on this team? Perhaps, but it doesn't look any different then last year and they didn't impress me then. The player that keeps them in games is Champ Bailey, we'll see if the offense can put points on the board to help the defense.

3. Oakland Raiders. Predicted Record 7-9
My biggest shock of the season to everyone will probably be my Raiders predicted Record. Whether the QB is Daunte or JaMarcus, this team has a defense that is quickly getting close to Ravens quality. That defense will win games for this team that the offense cannot do. They also don't have to deal with Randy Moss on this team, which I believe hurt them. Plus I expect there is a deep desire amongst them to prove that they are able to play better then everyone expects them to.

4. Kansas City Chiefs
. Predicted Record 3-13
I'm sure many of you expected this to be flip with the Raiders, with this team with seven wins and the Raiders with three. I'm sorry folks, but for my money I think it is a toss up between the Chiefs and Dolphins over who has the worst team in the NFL this year. Ironically enough, they both involve Trent Green. Huard is a fine quarterback, but he's never been the man since the start of the season. I think Larry Johnson wants out of KC badly and no longer wants to be a part of this team. I don't see a team on the rise, I see a team on the fall. A long, fast fall to hell, express elevator style.

1. Baltimore Ravens. Predicted Record 10-6
Let me say this right off, this pains the living hell out of me to put the Ravens in first. I also believe that the AFC North will be the most competitive conference in the NFL this year. I have three out of the four teams in the playoffs, that's damn impressive. Also, there is no domination. I think that each team will beat the other at least once this year. That being said, it probably comes down to the Ravens' defense as to why they are in first place.

2. Pittsburgh Steelers. Predicted Record 10-6
First year coach Mike Tomlin should be ecstatic if he actually ends up 10-6. I don't know if this speaks of his coaching skill or the fact of the Steelers talented team. Big Ben seems to be happier under Tomlin, which could mean less mistakes then last year. The defense was getting long in the tooth, but they were injected with some youth and vitality this year and could be an underdog that no one expects. Though they could end up fourth is the pressure is too much for Tomlin his first year.

3. Cincinnati Bengals. Predicted Record 9-7
A part of me wishes I could place the Bengals higher, I really like Carson Palmer as a quarterback. I love the combo of TJ and Ocho Cinco at the wide receiver spot. They have all the tools there to be a Super Bowl contender, they are missing a few things that aren't talent. No it isn't a better owner then Mike Brown, it's not even pardons for their suspended players. It's players who aren't as comfortable in orange and can act like professionals and not hurt the team with their off the field antics.

4. Cleveland Browns
. Predicted Record 6-10
A 6-10 record this year almost puts them in the middle of the crowd of the AFC. You know what that means? That means there is progress for my franchise. It means that we are young and getting better every year, as long as folks stay healthy. Brady Quinn should start no later then the game after the bye week if they want to have a shot at winning. If Wimbley keeps up what he did last year, he will be a pro bowler. I think our secondary and linebackers will shock the world with their play this year. Expect next year to focus on drafting some defensive linemen to make this defense one of the best in the NFL...if it can stay healthy.

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