NFL Predictions: AFC Division Winners for the 2010-11 Season

Chris MatcovichCorrespondent ISeptember 3, 2010

NFL Predictions: AFC Division Winners for the 2010-11 Season

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    INDIANAPOLIS - SEPTEMBER 02:  Carson Palmer #9  of the Cincinnati Bengals throws a pass during the NFL preseason game against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium on September 2, 2010 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    We are less then a week away from opening night for the 2010 NFL season.  The beginning of a new season brings hope for all teams that they possibly could become division champions and go to the playoffs. 

    Although all teams carry this hope into the season, as the year progresses, teams fall out of contention and in the end, only four teams can be division champions.

    Here are the four teams that will win their respective divisions in the AFC in 2010.

AFC East—New York Jets

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    PHILADELPHIA - SEPTEMBER 02:  Mark Brunell #8 of the New York Jets rolls out during a preseason game against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field on September 2, 2010 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
    Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

    With a great defense and added pieces to the offense, the Jets will be hard to stop this season.  The only stumbling block could be whether or not quarterback Mark Sanchez takes the next step this year.

    It's hard to count out Brady and the Patriots, but their defense is suspect.

    The Dolphins are still young, and they have some major problems in their secondary.

    The Bills, well they're the Bills.  Enough said.

AFC North—Cincinnati Bengals

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    INDIANAPOLIS - SEPTEMBER 02:  Terrell Owens #81  of the Cincinnati Bengals watches from the sidelines during the NFL preseason game against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium on September 2, 2010 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Ge
    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    The Bengals bring back pretty much the same defense that was able to stop almost everyone in the North division.  Plus they add Terrell Owens to play across from Chad Ochocinco.  They will win this division by one game.

    The Ravens will be their toughest competitor for the North title, but without Ed Reed to anchor their defense for the first several weeks, they will be vulnerable to the pass.

    Cleveland has no chance. Period.

    Pittsburgh will struggle without Big Ben for the first four games and dig themselves a hole out of which they won't be able to climb.

AFC South—Indianapolis Colts

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    INDIANAPOLIS - SEPTEMBER 02:  Peyton Manning #18 of the Indianapolis Colts watches from the sidelines during the NFL preseason game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Lucas Oil Stadium on September 2, 2010 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Ge
    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    Until Peyton Manning retires, this is the Colts' division to lose. The AFC South is going to be a battle for second place.

    The Texans and Titans will battle for second place.  The key for both teams is the play that they get from the quarterback position.  Who ever plays better, Young or Schwab, will be the decisive factor on who will be second fiddle to the Colts.

    The Jags have a solid defense every year it seems and, with one of the best running backs in the league in Maurice Jones-Drew, they should be competitive, right?  David Garrard is not an NFL quarterback and until the Jags figure that out, they will only be mediocre.

AFC West—Kansas City Chiefs

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    KANSAS CITY, MO - SEPTEMBER 02:  Travis Daniels #34 and Justin Cole #57 of the Kansas City Chiefs celebrates after stopping a final drive during the game against the Green Bay Packers on September 2, 2010 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri.  (P
    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    This is the most debatable of the division winners, but the Chiefs have the pieces to do it.  With a workhorse back in Thomas Jones, a great young middle linebacker in Derrick Johnson, and rookie ball hawk Eric Berry, this team could have all the playmakers it needs.

    A record of 9-7 or 10-6 should win this division and that is not an outrageous expectation for the Chiefs.

    The Chargers are a popular pick to win the division, but without top target Vincent Jackson and a veteran running back, the offense could struggle.

    The Broncos and Raiders will battle for the basement, with both lacking top-tier wide receivers.