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Predictions For The American Football Conference

On the same day that New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was involved in an accident, he was awarded the largest contract of any player in the NFL.  It was deserved, but now we’ll see whether he can lead the Pats back on top of the NFL.

AFC East

1.Patriots- The Patriots were sneaky good last season. While all the attention was on the Jets and Colts in the AFC, the Patriots quietly finished 6th in offensive ppg, and allowed only 17 ppg, good for 5th in the league.  Going into the playoffs they were winners of 3 of their last 4.  Tom Brady, in his first year after major knee surgery, still managed to throw 28 touchdowns and only 13 interceptions.  Players coming off of that kind of surgery generally take a big step forward in their second year- and that’s bad news for the rest of the league.

The Patriots will have Wes Welker back in time for the start of the regular season, and with the emergence of Julian Edelman last season in Welker’s absence,  will have a solid group of wide outs for Brady to throw to. The main question on this will be age- Brady, Welker, and Moss all have more then likely seen their best days. But the Patriots have won 10 games or more 8 of the last 9 years, and are one of the most consistent teams in the league.  No body is talking about them this year, but they will be when they win the division over the Jets.

2. Jets- The Jets are walking a thin line this season. It goes without saying they have talked the talked. A team that didn’t qualify for the playoffs until the last game of the season was saved by a run through the playoffs that surprised many. That run has expectations through the ceiling for this team. It’s how they made that run that has people excited – a defense that is tops in the league, and a running game that took the pressure off Mark Sanchez. Those things should stay the same this year, and the additions of Antonio Cromartie and Ladanian Tomlinson will only improve those. Say what you want about Tomlinson, but he is the best “backup” running back in the league, and is another weapon on this offense.

But will the Jets catch all the breaks again this season? Can they win with Sanchez throwing 20 interceptions and only 12 touchdowns? Is Shonn Greene ready to be the number one back on a team that relays on the run? The Jets like to talk, but numbers don’t lie- the Jets ranked 2nd to last in passing yards per game. This team has the talent and swagger to make it all the way to the Super Bowl.  But it will not be the cake walk that the experts, and the Jets, seem to think it will be, and it may take the regular season to figure it out.

3. Dolphins- When the Dolphins acquired Brandon Marshall this off-season, it was a signal that they were ready to move on from being a one trick pony with the Wild Car offense. With Marshall, they have one of the best wide receivers in the league, and one that will excel in catching the ball over the middle. They can also go to Marshall a lot- Marshall has caught over 100 balls a season since he became a starter. With Marshall being  a reliable option for Chad Henne, and a solid running game with Ronnie Brown & Ricky Williams behind him, Henne will not be forced to make  a lot of plays. That’s a good thing if you’re a Dolphins fan- Henne was 7-6 as a starter, throwing more interceptions then touchdowns.

4. Bills- The Trent Edwards era continues this season in Buffalo, much to the disappointment of their fans. It might not matter who is behind center for the Bills though, as their offensive line allowed their Qb to be sacked 44 times last season.  The line also struggled to get holes for their running backs, and the team finished 21rst in the league in rushing yards. The Bills have had a winning record only once since the year 2000, and that should not change this season.

AFC North

1. Ravens- The Baltimore Ravens are a lot like the Jets without all the talk. The Ravens defense continued to be one of the best in the NFL over the last decade, finishing 3rd in points allowed per game. But it is the offense that has people excited. With the additions of Anquan Boldin and Tj Housmanzadeh, the Ravens have the best set of wide outs they have ever had to team with the Defense.

The Ravens also have something the Jets do not- a reliable quarterback. Joe Flacco threw only 12 interceptions last season, while throwing for over 20 touchdowns. With Ray Rice at running back, the Ravens have everything you need to win in this league- tough D, solid RB, reliable QB, and weapons at the skill positions.

2. Bengals- The most impressive statistic last season might have been 6-0. That was the Bengals record against their division rivals last season. While they won’t be expected to duplicate that, the Bengals teams last season was not a fluke. The team was carried by its defense, which allowed only 18 points per game. With 17 interceptions and 15 fumble recoveries last season, the defense also managed to have a take away in 14 of the 17 games. They had more then one take away in 9 of those games. That’s how you win games in the NFL.

3. Steelers- The Steelers were a streaky team last season- they had 2 winning streaks of 3 or more, and a losing streak of 5 games.  The Steelers also had an uncharacteristically bad season running the ball, finishing in the bottom half of the league in yards per game.  The defense missed Saftey Troy Polamalu last season, giving up over 20 points per game.

The main problem facing the Steelers tho, is the skill positions. With Ben Roethlisberger out for the first 4 games, the Steelers will start the season with Dennis Dixon, Mike Wallace, Hines Ward, and Rashard Mendenhall as their main offensive threats. Even when Big Ben returns, that pedestrian group isn’t scaring any defense this season.

4. Browns- Poor Cleveland.  When Jake Delhomme is your savior at quarterback, your officially in trouble. There was not much to like from the Browns last season. 3rd worst offense in the league, and a defense that gave up almost 24 points per game.  Even there future looks bleek- Colt McCoy has been less then impressive in his  limited preseason action.

AFC South

1. Colts- For the Colts, the regular season has come to mean very little. They showed us how much it ment to them when they pulled their started against the Jets, deciding to not go for a perfect 16-0 record. They have won at least 12 games the last seven seasons. There offense has been in the top 10 in 6 of seasons. Peyton Manning is still Peyton Manning.

The Colts will be there during the regular season. The real season begins for them in the playoffs, where they will be there once again, the top overall seed. As usual.

2. Titans- The Titans are on top of everyone’s list of sleeper teams, so much so that they barely qualify as a sleeper anymore. The Titans got to the top of that list by going 8-2 in there last 10 game. But look at that number closer and it starts to fall apart. During that streak, the Titans beat 7 teams that did not make the playoffs. The only playoff team they did beat during that streak was the Cardinals, and they only won after a miracle play at the end

Chris Jonson is the best running back in the league- hands down. Will he get 2500 yards? No. Not when he is the only offensive weapon on the whole team. Vince Young is improving, and showed signs last season, but 10 touchdowns and 7 interceptions is not going to scare any teams from stacking the box. And the defense? Finished 28th in the league in points per game last season.

3. Texans- Is this the year the Texans can finally get over the hump? Last season, 6 of the 7 games they lost was by 8 points or less. It seems every year is going to be the year for them, but they have not made they playoffs since they arrived in Houston. They have the weapons, with Matt Schaub, Andre Johnson and Steve Slaton combining to make one of the best trios in the league. For this team, it isn’t about talent- that is there. They lack the ability to win games, plain and simple, especially the big ones. 7 of their 9 wins were against non-playoff teams. And that won’t change this year.

4. Jaguars- David Garrad, once thought to be the answer at quarterback, regressed last season. After throwing only 3 interceptions 3 years ago, while going 9-3 as a starter, he has thrown double digit interceptions the last two seasons- and his touchdown’s thrown has decreased as well.  Maurice Jones-Drew will try to make his fantasy football owners happy, but that will be the only reason anyone will watch the Jags this season

AFC West

1. Chargers- The Chargers picked wrong when they decided to make Darren Sproles there feature back last season. With only 343 yards rushing, and a little under 500 yards receiving, the Chargers decided to draft Ryan Matthews with their number one selection in this years draft. With Vincent Jackson in limbo, the team all of the sudden has a lack of weapons for Phillip Rivers to get the ball to. Antonio Gates continues to be a top tight end in the league, but how long will it be until he takes a step back?

They’ll win the division, but no one will be impressed with them doing it.

2. Raiders- The Raiders will surprise a lot of people this season. This team was better then its record indicated last season. They played the teams in their division close, being within 8 points of each game, and beating the Denver Broncos late in the season. The Raiders have a nice set of Rb’s- Michael Bush, Darren McFadden, Justin Fargas- and an emerging tight end in Zach Miller.

But the big reason the Raiders will be better this year? Jason Campbell. To say the Raiders got nothing out of the quarterback position last season would be an understatement. Campbell is better then people think,  and he’ll show people this year. Watch out for the Raiders.

3. Broncos- The Broncos were the opposite of the Titans last season- started off great, but lost it down the stretch, losing 8 of their final 10 games.  The loss of Elvis Dumervil is huge for this team- his 17 sacks last season will be hard to replace.

4. Chiefs- If you need any reason as to why the Chiefs will finish last, you havnt been watching the NFL the last few seasons. The Chiefs have not won more then 4 games in the last 3 seasons, or finished better then 25th in overall offense or defense. Matt Cassell also appears to be more a product of the Patriots system then a player- 16 touchdowns and 16 interceptions last season. Bright spot on Chiefs? Rookie RB Dexter McCluster.

Playoffs:

1.      Colts

2.      Patriots

3.      Ravens

4.      Chargers

5.      Jets

6.      Titans

Wildcard: Ravens over Titans; Jets over Chargers

Round 2: Ravens over Patriots; Jets over Colts

Conference Championship: Ravens over Jets

AFC Champion: Ravens

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Posted by on Sep 10 2010. Filed under AFC News, News, NFL. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

11 Comments for “Predictions For The American Football Conference”

  1. Some good analysis Eliot but I think you missed some importatnt details about the 2010 Team…
    AFC-East
    Patriots have now lost their 2 best Defenders from an average Defense to begin with (CB L Bodden
    and DT T Warren) they are a little thin across the D-Line and a lot of young players in the Secondary
    Also, they is the issue with All-Pro RG L Mankins who is still unsigned, the Patriots have an older RB corp and need a big year from L Maroney who has taken a step back each year it seems
    I really Think the Patriots are in for a .500 type of season with the Dolphins and Jets fighting it out for the Divisional Winner/WIld Card spot.
    AFC-North
    The Best,deepest and most physical division in the NFL hands down..
    Ravens are stacked offensivle with a great running game in Rice,Maghee and bruiser McClain
    and veteran WR corps with Mason,Bodin and recently signed TJ Houzmazada, put in 3 very good TE’s in T Heap, up and coming rookies in E Dixon and D Pitta, this Offense is going to be hard to stop and will put many points up on the board
    Defensively this team is not the same as past seasons, the CB position is very weak where they basically lost thier top #3 CB’s due to injuries this summer,the loss of All-World Safety E Reed for the first 6 weeks of the season is critical to the back end of that defense and who knows how effective he will be once he returns from that Hip Surgery/Injury (the Ravens will be involved in a lot od high-scoring shoot out type of games which will be strange)
    The Bengals are a very solid team and if QB Palmer stays healthy and confident, they will challenge
    the Ravens for the Divisional Winner/Wildcard spot. The Steelers are not the same team without Big-Ben, they also lack the dominant running game/offensive line that they used to have, H Ward is another year older, I see this team struggle to be a .500 team this season.
    AFC-South
    Colt’s Division to lose, and I see the Colts slipping a bit, but still strong enough to win this Division
    Colts are not as strong along the O/Line and they really struggle in running the ball anymore, the surprising thing is that this is probably the Best Colt Defense (in the Manning era) and keep opponents from scroing a lot of points, they are a lot more physical than they used to be and
    one of best Safety tandems in B Sanders/L Bethea, have 2 great DE in Mathis/Freeney) and are
    solid at LB Brackett/Sessions and rookie tackling machine in P Angerer
    AFC-West
    Totally up for grabs and think the Raiders will possible win it since they have the best overall defense in the Division and probably have the Defensive Rookie of the Year in MLB R McClain
    Chargers are struggling with Wr with V Jackson holding out and their defense is not the same as years past..They will be relying heavily on a rookie RB R Matthews who looks like a good one,but that’s a lot to put on a rookies shoulders..

  2. 2011 Superbowl will be…. drum roll please…

    The Patriots Vs. The Cowboys…

    An American Iconic match up with the cowboys having home field
    advantage in the superbowl. Patriots come out on top and Tom Brady
    will be the best QB ever (which he already is better than manning)

  3. Humans suck at predicting the NFL. It’s pointless, why can’t we just quit trying?

  4. Schiller believe it or not im pretty good at predicting. I use to live on a planet called kiplomentinion where we all had physic powers. Heres what lies ahead for us. The eagles will be 7-9. Kevin Kolb will suffer a injury by week 4 and Vick will start. We Will start the season off at 2-0 looking promising untill Kolb gets hurt. Adrian Peterson will lead the NFL in rushing and Andy will be fired come 2012 season replacing him is Leslie Frazier from the vikings. Paulman will land a job on comcast sportsnet.

    That is all for now untill next time

  5. It’s fun Schiller, that’s why…
    I have to agree with Verducci that Leslie Frazier will make a great NFL Head Coach and I would love to see him Coaching the Eagles…
    On a side and more important note.
    Do most of you think the Eagles can compete and possibly beat the VIkings and Saints
    Was anyone overly impressed with either club… the Saints starting out on fire then they seemed to self-destruct with the penalties, how about the Vikings running game.. Peterson looked pretty good
    and in mid-season form.. R Bush on the other hand seemed a half-step slow and made some nice plays that looked like they were going to be big gains…

  6. Birdgame….amp level is high…football all weekend. Birds 24 Pack 23.Enjoy the game Birdbrains!!!

  7. Paulman i was impressed with Drew more than anything. Some of those plays were iffy like the screens they were calling but I dont see any reason why the Saints dont repeat this year. That Saints defense is just too underrated. Im pretty sure Leslie Frazier will be a head coach next year if not sooner.

  8. kiplomentinion? You lie, I have been there many times and no one has ever heard of you, so come clean brother where did you get them there predictions uh?

    Birds beat the Pack sunday….and if they don’t well I am going to need a moment. Go Birds

  9. Monolith- AHHHH you have discovered my secret!
    I am an alien spy from the planet zephyormotstelphodeum
    I will destroy all you kiplomentinion vermon!

    Also Mcnabb will throw 1 INT and have 1 fumble and 89 yeards passing in a loss to the cowboys..

  10. That’s great Vricchini,
    After you accomplish all that, can you make my wife disappear next… thnx..

  11. Vriccini…. I knew it I knew it, had to be hmmmmmm nice prediction though, I love Mc5 but that uniform drives me crazy therefor sorry MAC here are my negative vibs ….wrinnnnnnnnnnnnnnn boink.

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