afc_nsfl_playoff_preview

AFC East

Patriots (13-3) The reigning Super Bowl champs haven’t lost much in the offseason, with the exception of Revis. One can say that would reduce their chances of repeating. Belichick knows how to get the most out of his players. You have a pissed off Tom Brady, and a team proving that last year was no fluke. These guys are winners, which is why I have them winning the AFC East and finishing 13-3.

Dolphins (11-5) The dolphins finished well last season. Their offense was phenomenal once Tannehill found his rhythm. Look for him to do even better now that they drafted Parker and signed FA, Jordan Cameron. On defense they signed the biggest name in N. Suh. I still don’t think its enough to dethrone the Super Bowl champs, but they are definitely in the right direction.

Bills (8-8) Even though the Bills went out and hired defensive guru, Rex Ryan, to lead this team, I am still not a believer. They did trade for LeSean McCoy, but who is going to be the quarterback? I wholeheartedly believe that you must have an above average quarterback to win in this league. The Bills do not have that.

Jets (3-13) This is another case of, “Whose my Quarterback?” Geno is clearly not the answer. Even though they did go out and get Brandon Marshall, and drafted Devin Smith from Ohio State. I really loved their draft, but they are still some players away from making a serious run. This division is stacked, and I cant see any scenario that has them above .500.

AFC West

Broncos (11-5) Although the glad is starting to close in on the Broncos in the AFC West, one had to think that Manning isn’t planning on going out a loser. The Broncos defense is definitely intriguing. Especially after drafting Shane Ray (who most thought should have been a top 5 pick). Their offensive line is the big question. Can they protect Manning and help open up the run game for their playmakers downfield. I tend to never bet against “The Sheriff.”

Chiefs (9-7) This is one of the more intriguing teams this year. Can they up their success from last year and make the playoffs? If so they must go through a lot of tough teams this year. Andy Reid definitely made his mark in his first season as coach. But I still don’t think there is enough offensive firepower to keep up with the big boys. Although they probably have the scariest sack duo in, Houston/Hali. I think their secondary will let them down and they will finish exactly what they did in 2014, 9-7.

Raiders (8-8) I think a lot of people are going to be shocked on this one, but you shouldn’t. Derek Carr had a pleasant rookie year, despite having hardly any weapons. Well this year they went out and drafted the best wide receiver in Amari Cooper, and signed Michael Crabtree (who I still think has something left to prove). I think due to their tough schedule they will struggle at times, but I give them a few more years, before they will be taking over the AFC West.

Chargers (6-10) Here is yet another surprise in my bag of tricks. I think the Chargers really made a mistake by taking Gordon so high. Not that he won’t turn out to be a good running back. I felt like they should have helped out on that offensive/defensive line. You never want to see anyone hurt, but Rivers will be taking a lot of sacks this season.

AFC North

Steelers (10-6) Pittsburgh had one of the most impressive offenses last year, which was surprising to some. They have always relied on their stout defense and ability to move the chains. I think by addressing some of their defensive concerns they are going to win the North. I think it will be close though.

Bengals (10-6) The Bengals have a great one-two punch in Bernard and Hill. I think they will rely more on the run and less on Andy Dalton’s inaccurate arm. Their defense will be one of the best this season but it won’t be enough for them to slide past Pittsburgh. I do have them grabbing one of the wild cards, however.

Ravens (9-7) The Ravens didn’t really go out there and make a big splash in free agency. I think they made a mistake by not locking up Torrey Smith. They are going to rely on an inexperienced, butter-fingered rookie in Perriman. I also think that Forsett will regress this season now that Kubiak is gone. I think the offense as a whole will suffer as well.

Browns (5-11) Here is another team that did not address their biggest need since 1994, a quarterback. They went out and signed Josh McCown who is a proven journeyman quarterback. They did use both of their picks on beefing up their defensive and offensive line. But without a quarterback who can threaten you downfield, every team will stack up 9 in the box. It seems they haven’t wrote off Manziel yet, but they should. Another long season for the poor Browns fans.

AFC South

Colts (12-4) I think this was the easiest division to pick. It’s mainly because the Colts are just that good. They went out and signed two savvy vets in Andre Johnson, and Frank Gore. The Colts definitely went “all in” with these two moves. The time is now in Indy and they are actually better than last year’s team. Let’s be honest, they have Andrew Luck. That alone sets them apart from the rest.

Texans (8-8) The Texans definitely improved last year over their previous nightmare year. Bill O’Brien is an excellent coach that will get everything from these players. The problem is health. A lot of their guys have concerns about being able to stay on the field. Another problem is the quarterback position. You have Ryan Mallett and Brian Hoyer fighting to be the starter. I’m sorry, but I can’t trust either of them. I think they did well drafting the talented wide receiver, Strong, but its still not going to be enough, especially when you face Andrew Luck twice a year.

Jaguars (7-9) I think the Jags make a huge step up from last year. You might say, “7-9 isn’t that much of an improvement.” Well it is if your team is well known for picking in the top 3 every year at the draft. Bortles has another year under his belt, and even more weapons to make him lick his lips. They went out and spent big money on FA tight end, Julius Thomas. They also drafted the Bama running back, TJ Yeldon. I don’t think its enough to compete with the big boys, but they definitely are on their way to becoming a contender. But right now, they are still pretenders.

Titans (4-12) Titans fans everywhere are cursing my name. Let me start off by saying I loved what they did in the offseason. But they had a lot of holes to fill. Mariota isn’t NFL ready yet, and they are throwing him to the wolves to learn. I think by drafting Green-Beckham they are giving Mariota a big target. I also like Justin Hunter and Kendall Wright. I don’t like their running backs, and think they won’t be able to run the play action as successfully as they would like.

What do you think of my NSFL AFC predictions? Let me know!

 

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Brian Mumford
Brian Mumford is a father of two, and an avid gamer for over 25 years. He is a huge Ohio State and Denver Broncos fan. When he isn't gaming he likes to attend concerts and sporting events.