Thursday, September 9, 2010

NFL 2010 Preview: AFC

That's right, it's time for the NFL season to begin. The offseason was dominated by the Jets, who have claimed the throne from the Redskins as offseason champs (even though the Redskins gave their case as usual). They have told us all summer that they're the team to beat and now they must show us, as well as the rest of the league. So let's begin with the season preview, starting with a look at the AFC.

(*-denotes wild card)

AFC East: 1. Patriots 2. Dolphins 3. Jets 4. Bills

The Pats offense is the reason they'll win this division. Brady has too many weapons at his disposal and even with a mediocre defense, they should win 11 games. The Jets and Dolphins are very close and probably will finished tied. I just think that Chad Henne is a more dependable QB than Mark Sanchez, has the better WR in Brandon Marshall, get Ronnie Brown back for the Wildcat and won't have every team on the schedule gunning for them, like the Jets will. Ray Lewis' comments about the Jets today show what other teams will think throughout the year. The Bills will be the worst team in football, hopefully C.J. Spiller looks good and then they draft Jake Locker next season.

AFC North: 1. Steelers 2. Ravens* 3. Bengals 4. Browns

Dixon might be the key to this pick, but as long as Troy Polamalu can have a healthy season, the Steelers will be back in the playoffs. I also think Ben Roethlisberger will have a better year once he returns to football that most think. The Ravens should finish second as I think Joe Flacco will handle having a good offense positively. Baltimore's biggest issue is a defense without Ed Reed for the beginning of the year. Cincinnati gets buzz with Terrell Owens joining them, but ultimately, it's Carson Palmer that will keep them from winning. He hasn't been a top-QB since Kimo von Oelhoffen rolled over his leg in the 2005 playoffs. The Browns should be better than last year, but this division is too tough for them to be a legitimate sleeper.

AFC South: 1. Colts 2. Texans* 3. Titans 4. Jaguars

We all know the Colts will go as Peyton Manning goes. So mark them down for 13 wins and a bye. The Texans finally make the playoffs this year and finally give the Matt Schaub-to-Andre Johnson combo more pub. The key; Neil Rackers playing good at kicker and I'm not kidding (Kris Brown's been worse than awful). The Titans play tough and have Chris Johnson, but that defense is in a little retooling mode and probably finish 8-8 again. This is the year the Jags get rid of Jack Del Rio and David Garrard. Another mediocre season and non-sellouts mean regime change will occur in Jacksonville.

AFC West: 1. Chiefs 2. Chargers 3. Raiders 4. Broncos

No, this isn't a typo, I have the Chiefs winning the weak AFC West. This is mainly an anti-San Diego pick as the losses from last year and the Vincent Jackson issue will hurt the team, plus too many years with Norv Turner has to lead to a missed playoff season. As for the Chiefs, having Romeo Crennel and Charlie Weis in their natural environments as coordinators will help. Offensely, the Chiefs have talent in Jaamal Charles, Dexter McCluster and Dwayne Bowe around Matt Cassel and Eric Berry improves KC's defense on day one. I'd pick the Raiders except they're the Raiders and you can't trust them. Though, six or seven wins isn't out of the question. The Broncos will struggle early and Tim Tebow will get his chance to play.

1st Round: Ravens over Chiefs, Pats over Texans

Divisional Round: Ravens over Colts, Steelers over Pats

AFC Championship Game: Steelers over Ravens

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