NFL Season Preview: AFC

In less than a week, the New England Patriots and Kansas City Chiefs will kick off the NFL season. It’s time to go over a quick preview of the upcoming season, starting with the AFC.

AFC-logo

AFC East:

Quite possibly the least competitive division in all of sports. The Patriots have dominated the AFC East, winning 8 straight division titles. Coming off a Super Bowl win, the Patriots are once again Super Bowl favorites. They didn’t lose many key pieces from last year’s squad (though losing Julian Edelman to an ACL injury hurts) and added talented receiver Brandin Cooks. The Miami Dolphins are coming off of a playoff appearance in 2016, but can Jay Cutler get them back there? The Buffalo Bills and New York Jets both appear to be punting on the season in hopes for a good draft pick. The Bills traded talented receiver Sammy Watkins and have been stockpiling draft picks the past few weeks. Meanwhile, the Jets are the Jets and are entering the season with a 38 year old Josh McCown as their QB. Yikes.

Predictions:

  • New England Patriots 14-2
  • Miami Dolphins 6-10
  • Buffalo Bills 3-13
  • New York Jets 1-15

AFC North:

This one should be more interesting than the AFC East. The Pittsburgh Steelers won the division last year with an 11-5 record, and this year they can expect a full season from Le’Veon Bell, and receiver Martavis Bryant is back from suspension. The Steelers should be an elite team this year. Last season, the Cincinnati Bengals finished a disappointing 6-9-1 after winning the division in 2015. Expect the Bengals to bounce back with a vengeance this year and compete for the division title. The Baltimore Ravens will be a tough team to play, but I don’t think they made enough big changes to get them to the playoffs. The Cleveland Browns are the division’s perennial loser, and this year will be no different. However, DeShone Kizer looks like he has potential to be a good QB someday, so there is some hope in Cleveland.

Predictions:

  • Cincinatti Bengals 12-4
  • Pittsburgh Steelers 12-4
  • Baltimore Ravens 8-8
  • Cleveland Browns 2-14

AFC South:

The AFC South was pretty mediocre last season. The Houston Texans won the division at 9-7, but the Tennessee Titans finished with the same record and just missed the playoffs. This year, expect the Texans and Titans to improve. For the Texans, Tom Savage is starting this season, and it would be difficult for him to be worse than Brock Osweiler was last year. The Indianapolis Colts are in a weird position. It is unclear when QB Andrew Luck will be able to play (experts seem to think week 3 or 4). Without Luck, that offense is very uninspiring, and the defense was one of the worst in the league last year. The Jacksonville Jaguars are starting Blake Bortles at QB again after a battle with Chad Henne. Think about it, the Jaguars have so little faith in Bortles that many believed it was possible Henne would win the starting job and Bortles would be cut. That doesn’t inspire much confidence.

Predictions:

  • Houston Texans 11-5
  • Tennessee Titans 10-6
  • Indianapolis Colts 7-9
  • Jacksonville Jaguars 1-15

AFC West:

This will be the most interesting division to watch in the AFC. The reigning division champion Chiefs, Oakland Raiders, and Denver Broncos should all be fighting for the playoffs. And while the San Diego Los Angeles Chargers won’t be terrible, it’s hard to see them on the same level as the other three teams. This was the hardest division to predict. How will David Carr preform after coming back from injury? Will he be able to lead the Raiders back to the playoffs and repeat his performance from last season? The Chiefs just lost starting RB Spencer Ware for the season, can rookie Kareem Hunt pick up the workload? With a season under him, can Trevor Siemian lead a team with one of the best defenses in the league to the playoffs? There are so many questions, this will be a fun divisional race to watch.

Predictions:

  • Denver Broncos 12-4
  • Oakland Raiders 10-6
  • Kansas City Chiefs 8-8
  • Los Angeles Chargers 6-10

 

Predicted Playoff Seeding:

  1. New England Patriots
  2. Cincinnati Bengals
  3. Denver Broncos
  4. Houston Texans
  5. Pittsburgh Steelers
  6. Tennessee Titans

I expect the Patriots to make it to the Super Bowl again, but I think the Bengals, Broncos, and Steelers could give them a run for their money

One thought on “NFL Season Preview: AFC

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