Early 2009 AFC Predictions
I know, I know. It's too early to make predictions for 2009 season but I decided to create a slide show about it just so I can see what you guys think about it.
If you ask anybody, they will tell you that the NFC is the tougher conference but the best teams are in the AFC. The AFC have four teams that can win a Super Bowl this season (Patriots, Colts, Steelers, Chargers).
The AFC is filled with great quarterbacks (Brady,Manning,Roethlisberger,Rivers, great defenses (Steelers, Ravens, Titans, Colts), great offenses (Patriots, Colts, Chargers, Texans), and game-changing playmakers (LaDainian Tomlinson,, Chris Johnson, Andre Johnson, Terrell Owens).
There will be many storylines in the AFC this season and all questions may be answered in this article. How will Brady bounce back? Could the Dolphins and Ravens repeat their last season success?
How will the Jets fare with Mark Sanchez? Will T.O lead the Bills to the postseason? Can the Colts win a Super Bowl without Dungy? Can the Steelers repeat?
Do the Chiefs actually have a chance to make the postseason with Matt Cassel leading the way? Who will be the surprise team this season?
(I will have another slide show about my NFC Predictions)
1) New England Patriots: 13-3* Win the division, Get the No. 1 seed in the AFC Postseason
Tom Brady is back, ‘Nough Said.
2) Miami Dolphins: 7-9
It could be me but I think the Dolphins weren’t as good as their record showed last season. Remember, they played the AFC West and the NFC West, which were the two of the weakest divisions in the NFL last season.
This season they will be playing two of the best divisions in the NFL in the AFC South and the NFC South. Everything went right for the Dolphins last year. Brady was injured, Jets and Bills started playing terrible down the stretch after a great start, and they hardly turnover the ball.
I like that they drafted Pat White and I believe they will be able to make the wildcat offense more efficient but I don’t believe they can repeat what they did last season.
3) New York Jets: 7-9
Whether it’s Mark Sanchez or Kellen Clemens, the play from the quarterback position will be average at best, defenses will look to stop the run so Thomas Jones and Leon Washington won’t be as effective as they were last season, and with Jerricho Cotchery as their best wide receiver, they can’t expect to be a threat in their passing game.
Offensively, they will among the worst teams in the NFL. Defensively, they will be slightly better than last year with the addition of Bart Scott and Rex Ryan but I believe they will still miss the postseason.
4) Buffalo Bills: 5-11
The Bills will play the Patriots, Buccaneers, Saints, and Dolphins in their first four games. I believe they will go 1-3 because of their tough schedule and Marshall Lynch not being able to play the first three games of the season because he’ll be serving his suspension.
When the team starts out struggling, Terrell Owens is going complain and become a distraction. Trent Edwards will start to force the ball to T.O and he will turn over the ball.
Plus, their offensive line won’t be able to protect Edwards as good as last season with the subtraction of Jason Peters which can also contribute to more turnovers when Edwards is faced with more pressure.
In addition, I believe they will struggle once again in a tough division.
1) Pittsburgh Steelers: 12-4* Win the Division, Get the No. 3 seed in the AFC Postseason
I don’t expect the Steelers to struggle to make the postseason like they did the season following their last Super Bowl win. Their defense will still be among the best, Big Ben will have a better season if his offensive line and running backs can manage to stay healthy.
And although they did lose some players due to free agency, I like the way they went to improve their number one defense in the draft by drafting Evander Hood.
2) Baltimore Ravens: 10-6*Wild Card, Get the No. 5 seed in the AFC Postseason
I’m not going to lie to you. I don’t like how they lost Rex Ryan, Bart Scott, and Samari Rolle. And yes, the Ravens aren’t going to have the second best defense in the NFL this season but they will still be a great defense team.
Offensively, Joe Flacco should emerged as one of the better quarterbacks in the AFC, the receiver corps should be slightly better with a healthy Derrick Mason leading the way, and by drafting Michael Oher, they will be able to do the thing they do best offensively, which is running the ball.
They should be a better offensive team this year so I believe they will make the postseason.
3) Cleveland Browns: 4-12
I know there’s a quarterback competition in Cleveland between Brady Quinn and Derek Anderson. I honestly believe that Quinn will be the Browns’ quarterback unless he’s traded before the season.
Brady Quinn is a better quarterback than given credit for.
He has played well last season for someone who started for the first time. I believe he could have a season like Joe Flacco had last year statically. Braylon Edwards will have a bounce back year.
But defensively, I still think they’re a below average and in this division that won’t win them games. I believe that they are a year or two away from being a playoff team.
4) Cincinnati Bengals: 4-12
I know you may be shocked that I have the Bengals below the Browns. I believe they have more talent than Cleveland and they are capable to win six or seven games this season.
I love their draft picks especially Andre Smith and Rey Maualuga. Andre Smith will help protect Carlson Palmer and Rey Maualuga should help a defense that was ranked 12th last season.
Laveranues Coles should have an immediate impact on his new team. But we don’t know if Palmer can stay healthy and if he can, will he be able to play at a Pro Bowl level we are accustom to.
We don’t know how Chad Ochocinco will play knowing that’s he’s unhappy in Cincinnati. Plus, how much will their offense lose with the subtraction of T.J. Houshmandzadeh. Regardless of happens, the Bengals and Browns should be at bottom of the division when it’s all said and done.
1) Indianapolis Colts: 12-4*Win the division, Get the No. 2 seed in the AFC Postseason
Not a surprise that I have the Colts with 12 wins. They have the reigning NFL MVP in Peyton Manning, a top-five wide receiver in Reggie Wayne, an emerging receiver in Anthony Gonzalez, and an improved running attack with addition of Donald Brown.
Joseph Addai will bounce back from an injury-plagued season. Bob Sanders will come back and the defense should be among the best in the league. The only big question with this team is could they win in the postseason.
2) Houston Texans: 9-7*Wild Card, Get the No. 6 seed in the AFC Postseason
This may shock many that I have the Texans in the postseason over the Titans. I feel it can go either way but I just chose the Texans because they should improve while the Titans will not be as good as last season.
I love their offense with one of the best wide receivers in the game in Andre Johnson leading the way. Steve Slaton should build on last year’s success. I believe he can be the second best running back in the division behind Maurice Jones-Drew (yes, I believe he can be better than Chris Johnson).
Matt Schaub can emerge into an elite quarterback this season if he can stay healthy. Defensively, they are young and have some big stars on defense that is led by Mario Williams.
Drafting Brian Cushing and Connor Barwin could really help the Texans’ defense immediately.
3) Tennessee Titans: 9-7
Like I said earlier, I think the Titans won’t be as good as last season. They lost Albert Haynesworth and you saw how missing Haynesworth really hurt the Titans at the end of the season.
Kerry Collins won’t be as good as he was last year but I do believe he will have a decent year. They have improved their receiver core with the additions of Nate Washington and rookie Kenny Britt.
But still that won’t be enough to make the postseason because they won games on defense and they won’t be as good as last year in that department.
4) Jacksonville Jaguars: 6-10
I believe that the Jaguars will be better than they were last season. David Garrard will have a bounce back year and now that Maurice Jones-Drew as the full-time starter; he should have a breakout season.
Rookies Eugene Monroe and Eden Britton will really help an offensive line that really struggled last season. Torry Holt is still a very good receiver and will help out Garrard.
If they were in a different division I might pick them as a wild card team but since they are in the AFC South, they will struggle against the good teams in this division.
San Diego Chargers: 10-6*Win the division, Get the No. 4 seed in the AFC Postseason
Please stop it. Stop thinking that there is any slight chance that the Chargers won’t win the division if they stay healthy. They have one of the most potent offenses in NFL with Phillip Rivers, LaDainian Tomlinson, Antonio Gates, Darren Sproles, etc.
Defensively, they will be better because they will get Shawne Merriman back, they drafted Larry English, and the Chargers played better when Ron Rivera started calling the plays on defense.
Question is, do the Chargers have enough in them to become a Super Bowl contender like they were just two years ago.
Denver Broncos: 7-9
If the Broncos still had Jay Cutler, I would have them making the postseason. They have improved their defense slightly with the addition of Brian Dawkins. They have a more balanced attack now with the addition of Correll Buckhalter, J.J Arrington, and Knowshon Moreno in the backfield.
The young receiving duo of Brandon Marshall and Eddie Royal has another of experience under their belt. Kyle Orton won’t turnover as much as Cutler but he has a weak arm which will cause a less effective passing game.
The Broncos’ offense won’t be as good as it was last season. If Denver can’t outscore teams, then they will have trouble winning.
Oakland Raiders: 6-10
It’s no joke that I have the Raiders over the Chiefs. Let’s stop hating on the Raiders. They have a pretty good running game with Justin Fargas leading the way. Darren McFadden and JaMarcus Russell should improve.
Darrius Heyward-Bey has great speed, and will be a deep ball threat. They will be better offensively but they will continue to struggle on defense.
Kansas City Chiefs: 3-13
Hey, you don’t need to fix your computer. I really have the Chiefs at the bottom of the worst division in the AFC. I know many of you have jumped on the Chiefs’ band wagon because they have Matt Cassel.
Cassel will not have the same year he had last season. He had more weapons and a better defense. On top of that, I believe Cassel was a product of the Patriots’ system. I believe he will be an average starting quarterback in the NFL.
We don’t know what we are going to get in Larry Johnson this season and Tony Gonzalez is no longer on the team. I like that they drafted Tyson Jackson. He will fit perfectly with the Chiefs’ 3-4 defense. I believe the Chiefs’ will make the postseason in about two years.
AFC Wild Card Round
5) Ravens at 4) Chargers
A great matchup and it's a shame that this is a Wild Card Weekend Game. I choose the Chargers because Ravens won't be as great as it was last season and I feel the Chargers' offense will prove to be too much for the Ravens too handle.
6) Texans at 3) Steelers
I love the Houston Texans but I think this game will be a blowout. The Steelers' defense will prove to be too much for Texans to handle. Big Ben may struggle because of Mario Williams but the inexperienced Texans won't be able to stop the Steelers' running game.
AFC Divisional Round
4) Chargers at 1) Patriots
A rematch of the 2008 AFC Championship Game. Hopefully, the Chargers will have a healthy L.T but I believe they will still lose to the Patriots. The Chargers can't Tom Brady and Fred Taylor will be prove to be too much for the Chargers. But don't count out Phillip Rivers.
3) Steelers at 2) Colts
This may be a surprise to some that I have the Colts winning against the Steelers in the playoffs. Colts have struggle in the postseason in the past but I think this season will be similar to 2007 Postseason.
The Steelers' great defense and Colts' great offense will not be the deciding factor in this game. This game may be close but I won't be won by the play of either QB. They are both great and among the best in the clutch in NFL.
The deciding factor in this game will be the Colts' defense and I believe they can stop the Steelers' offense.
2) Colts at 1) Patriots
This pick may be a bias since I'm a Colts Fan, but I believe Colts will go to the Super Bowl. The Colts' defense can contain Randy Moss with Bob Sanders but they will have trouble stopping Wes Welker.
Tom Brady will be face a lot of pressure from the Colts' D-Line. Peyton Manning should come up big once again and over the past few years, the Colts has the Patriots' number.
Awards and Pro Bowl
Defensive Player of the Year- Ed Reed
Comeback Player of the Year- Tom Brady
(Other Awards will be on the my NFC Prediction Slide show)
Starter: Peyton Manning
Reserves: Tom Brady, Phillip Rivers
AFC Running Backs
Starter: Maurice Jones-Drew
Reserves: LaDainian Tomlinson, Steve Slaton
AFC Wide Receivers
Starters: Andre Johnson, Reggie Wayne
Reserves: Randy Moss, Wes Welker
AFC Tight Ends
Starter: Antonio Gates
Reserve: Dallas Clark