Let’s jump right into things on the AFC, shall we? I am following up from my previous article on NFC predictions. As with my previous article, I will give my predictions for each division, as well as a couple of sleeper teams to keep your eye on. With one game (and a shocking outcome) in the books already, we’ve got a little more information to work with. What makes this game so intriguing is how unpredictable it can be; any team can win on any given day, and you’ve got to love that. Join me as I attempt to predict the somewhat unpredictable…
The AFC South should be tight again this year, with two teams who can easily make some noise going forward. Let’s start at the bottom first. Jacksonville has a good young nucleus of players, Jalen Ramsey, Leonard Fournette, and Allen Robinson. Unfortunately, I think Blake Bortles’ inconsistent play will prove detrimental to this young Jags team, and he will be one of the main reasons they don’t make a jump this season. I predict Andrew Luck will be a blow to the Colts, though they are getting older as a whole. I’m not feeling it with them this year. I can see them hanging around in games, but losing the close ones. Now things get tricky here, the Titans and Texans are the two top dogs in this division, with one going to be the winner hard to choose just one but alas It has to be done. My prediction for the AFC South goes to the Houston Texans. They have a top notch defense, if you sleep on this team you will pay the price. When they figure out their offense look out a team on the rise.
The AFC North is one of the hardest divisions to predict across the board. Every year is a dog fight; with the Steelers, Ravens, Bengals, and Browns, three of them generally make noise, while the remaining team is still trying to make noise. This division can go any which way, as they play each other in tough match-ups. My prediction is Steelers, Bengals, Ravens, Browns, in that order. The Steelers are stacked on offense with the triple B’s, Ben, Brown, and Bell who is in the midst of a contract year, so you can expect even bigger things from him. The Bengals will be there with their defense, and well-balanced attack by Dalton, Green, and Hill. I can see them pushing the Steelers all the way to the end. The Ravens are a tricky bunch generally very tough across the board. They have given my Pats so many headaches over the years. Don’t totally disregard them; you’ll wish you hadn’t. The Browns will compete – no, that’s not a misprint – just not enough for the playoffs, but they’ll play hard.
This AFC West division is always entertaining and generally tight. With the KC beat down over the Pats last week, they made an early statement. But with the loss of Eric Berry, this team will take a dip going forward. The Broncos will be there with their nasty defense as usual, but with Brock running the show, do you really worry about them in the long term? I wrote my very first article for WTPsports on my feelings about the Bolts move. I would love for them to do well, but it’s business as usual for Spanos, and every time they give their fans some hope, it comes crashing down around them again. I still can’t believe they aren’t in San Diego, which brings me to my pick for the West: the Raiders. This team is loaded with so much young talent, I wouldn’t bet against them being in the AFC title game. This team is just going to keep getting better and better each year; they aren’t going away anytime soon, so get used to seeing them on top of this division, because they will dominate as their young players develop.
Finally, the easiest division to predict: the AFC East is easily the Patriots’ division. Despite Thursday loss, this division is brutally weak, and the Pats will steamroll the other teams. Who will compete with them? The Jets, Bills. Phins, negative…. Patriots can and will walk into the playoffs, despite injuries. I know some of you are probably thinking, ‘look at this cocky Pats fan talk,’ and I get it, but I’m also realistic. Do you honestly think any of the teams I listed can overthrow the Pats in the East? Not likely. Forget the division: a motivated Brady is a very dangerous proposition for the league as a whole. Count this team out and you will pay big time. Don’t forget that three of the Pats Lombardi trophies came from seasons in which they lost their opener.
Aside from the Patriots, I predict the Ravens and Titans will bring the noise this year. The Titans are on the rise with Mariota, and no question they make the playoffs this year. They have a legit team, and I think sleeping on them will result in a loss. The other team that isn’t a total surprise is the Ravens. They have shown what they’re capable of doing if you underestimate them. Look for each of these teams to push for the playoffs.
What do you think of my AFC East predictions? Is there a team you would choose differently than I did? Let the games begin, everyone.
I will catch up with you after the first week is over. In the meantime, feel free to reach out to me on twitter @christhehood420 with any suggestions on what you’d be interested in me covering in my next articles.