Couch Potato Blitz
Sit back and relax as I predict where all of the teams in the AFC will wind up within their respective divisions. Last season I got four of the six teams that would make the playoffs in my preseason prediction. If you’re a fan of the NFC be sure to check out my predictions on that conference for the 2010 NFL season.
This division is tough to gauge because the Ravens have a quarterback on the cusp of greatness in Joe Flacco, the Bengals have a team filled with clowns and criminals, and the Steelers have a QB who doesn’t know how to conduct himself in the presence of women.
I really believe Flacco will emerge as a “top five” QB in the NFL, and I’m not just saying that because he is on one of my fantasy teams. They signed Anquan Boldin at wide receiver, Derrick Mason came back, and Ray Rice is healthy. The defense still has one solid run left in them making the Ravens the front runners for this division.
The Steelers are going to be without Ben “Ladies Man” Roethlisberger for the first four games. This will hurt them, but I think they can manage a 2-2 record with Dennis Dixon who will start in place of the recently injured Byron Leftwich. The reason I have them finishing as high as I do is because they are getting back the true MVP of their team in a healthy Troy Palamalu.
The Bengals have so much talent on offense that I feel like it is a mistake picking them to miss the playoffs. Then I remember that the talented players on offense will be pulled down by constant competition between Terrell Owens and Chad Ochocinco. I’m not the biggest believer in chemistry because I think winning cures all, but the Bengals organization may need to consult BP to help them clean up this mess.
The Browns are better than they were a year ago on defense and on offense with Jake Delhomme at QB. The problem I see with this team is that they might be the third best football team in the state behind the Bengals and the Ohio State Buckeyes.
New York Jets
New England Patriots – wild card
I’m not caught up in all of the Hard Knocks hype – I don’t even have HBO. I can’t get out of my head how well the Jets played last year in the playoffs. They were one half away from going to the Super Bowl. Yes, running back Thomas Jones was let go and QB Mark Sanchez has looked like Ryan Leaf in the preseason, but the defense is outstanding. I think they can ride to an 11-5 record.
Earlier in the preseason I made the mistake of thinking that this was going to be a rebuilding year for the Patriots. I have since come to my senses. Now I like them to get the first wild card spot in the AFC. Welker is not 100%, and there are a lot of question marks on the defense, but the last time I checked they still have head coach Bill Belichick and QB Tom Brady.
The Dolphins are headed in the right direction and could possibly be the best team in this division by next season. However, for this season, they have some things to prove and can’t make the playoffs by adding the unpredictable WR Brandon Marshall. Ronnie Brown has injury problems and you never know when Ricky Williams is going to go “Cypress Hill” and smoke away the rest of his career.
The Bills could be entering their last season in Buffalo and unfortunately for Bills fans this will be a season to forget. I like the rookie RB CJ Spiller and a couple of players from their defense, but the “Boy I Love Losing Super Bowls” will be the doormat of the AFC East.
Tennessee Titans – wild card
This division is owned by Peyton Manning and will be for another couple of years. The Colts don’t even need a head coach and can basically run any college WR in their offense and he will look like a Pro Bowl-caliber player. There will be a few more bumps in the road than last season, but when you float through the regular season on the back of Manning, they are hardly noticeable.
For whatever reason Vince Young defies the odds and wins games in the NFL. Young’s game looks similar to the drunken ex-athlete in the neighborhood’s Thanksgiving Day pick-up game. They are returning Chris Johnson who is the best running back in the league, but he won’t rush for a magical 2500 yards this year. Plus, the defense will play better than they did a year ago.
Every year I am tempted to predict the Texans will make the playoffs and every year my better judgment gets the best of me. Matt Schaub throws the ball all over the place and WR Andre Johnson looks like the human version of I-Robot. However, the defense is shaky and they always blow games they should win.
As if the Jaguars organization wasn’t a big enough joke, they now have injury questions surrounding Maurice Jones-Drew at RB. David Garrard seems like a swell guy, but if you listened to last weeks podcast you know I don’t care about players’ personal lives. The defense plays well one Sunday and then forgets to show up for a indefinite period of time. Jack Del Rio stinks of desperation to win down there, and that never leads to victories.
San Diego Chargers
Kansas City Chiefs
This is the worst division in football and I wish they made a rule saying, “for a team to make the playoffs from the AFC West they must win 12 games”.
The Chargers will win this division by default and I believe that is the reason why they let so much talent walk. The Chargers organization knows that they can field an okay team filled with second rate talent and still win this division. I get the fact that LT has very little left, and Michael Turner wanted big money, but Vincent Jackson has produced and they aren’t even negotiating with him. The Chargers will win, but not because they are good.
The Chiefs are headed in the right direction, but still a year or two away from being a serious contender for the playoffs. They added Thomas Jones and drafted well this off-season, but still have questions on defense and at the QB position. They are building something similar to the New England model and I like it.
The Broncos started off the season rolling last year. That will not happen again this year. Everyone in Denver has Tebow fever and I can’t blame them – I’m a fan. If we are being honest with ourselves he is not going to make an impact in year one or even year two. I also like the team McDaniels is putting together along with the rest of the organization. With the losses of Marshall to Miami and Elvis Dumervil to injury, the playoffs are not in sight.
I cannot pick the Raiders to win this division until Al Davis surrenders control of the team to smarter people. The best thing they did was get rid of the “lazy waste of money” JaMarcus Russell and add a guy like Jason Campbell. The problem is that they don’t have the line to protect Campbell and he is already suffering from injuries. The Raiders might not finish last, but they’ve got no shot of making the playoffs.
Be sure to break the huddle with me on the first week of the NFL regular season next week, in the Couch Potato Blitz.