Why do I start out with the AFC East it seems every year? Probably because it’s the easiest to predict. Look the Patriots have holes. They lack depth on the OL, have very few WR options, a secondary that needs some playmakers, a marquee pass rusher and a guy in jail. It’s not like this team is without talent though. They have a great group of LBs with Mayo being a top LB in the league. Ridley is a talented back who will be used as a RB and not just a guy with a pair of hands for Brady to throw the ball to. Big question is can their main pairs of hands stay healthy with Gronk and Welker 2.0 Amendola. If they can, there are no worries this team wins 11-12 games. If they don’t, they might be limping into the playoffs.
Dolphins go all in because that’s what you do when you’re a GM on the rocks. A second year QB who is the 4th best in the 2012 class, maybe even 5th best if you think Cousins is better. They go out and get Wallace to distract everyone that they still can’t protect Tannehill long enough for him to get him the ball. This team is so average in so many areas that you almost feel bad for them. I’m willing to bet that every major category for the Dolphins will be right at average, which makes this an 8-8 team if I’ve ever seen one. The bright spot on this team is that they can get to the QB with Wake. He’s a one trick pony but those guys don’t just grow on trees, so if there is one thing that can turn this team into something of a playoff team it’s that they can get to the QB.
Honestly, I think what’s going on in Buffalo is great. The problem is that this team can’t stay healthy. Kolb is out for maybe ever with a concussion, and Manuel looks like he has he needs to be sitting and watching the first half the season on the sideline. He just isn’t sharp yet. Athletic, yes, but not on target. Spiller is an exciting player, but I hope they don’t give him the ball till he throws up like their coach said. The guy averaged 6 yards a carry. I’m not saying give it to him 25 times a game, I’m just saying, the guy can change a game pretty quick. This team will win some games just by putting some pieces together, but they will need a more consistent defense and WR play to start challenging the Patriots any time soon.
Hernandez might be the punch line of the league but the Jets are still the butt of all jokes. (Get it, butt! Because of the butt fumble!) The over under is Ryan makes it to Week 9, next week is the bye week. It’s just a circus over there. The QB situation is at an all time low with Geno making his grand debut to throw it to the other team 3 times and step out of the end zone for a safety. Pretty much sums it all up right there. Cromartie said last year he was the 2nd best WR on this team…he might also be the next best QB on this team. I’m not sure who comes in first though. They might just throw this year for Clowney. Is it the worst idea? Probably not, it would give them a playmaker like they had in Revis who is gone. Burn it to the ground and start again, not much on this team worth saving.
You know how many times I’ve changed these standings? I’ve had every team at first except for the Browns. Just for the heck of it they will probably win. Haha! That’s funny to just write, but for real. The Bengals have talent all over the field. The best WR in the AFC, an underrated defense and probably the best TE duo in the league with Gresham and rookie TE Eifert. Dalton has to step up and better QB. Not saying great, but like the QBs in the rest of that division that have won a Superbowl; come up with big plays when it counts. The biggest question mark is can they get a consistent running game going. If they have a balanced attack then they could take this division.
I don’t want to hear about how old this team is or that Big Ben can only win in the bathroom stall in a bar. This team has for the first time in maybe Ben’s career a decent OL. Not saying great, just better than average. They have major questions at RB and WR, so while Ben might not be as frustrated with ending up on his back every other play, he might not find open WRs all over the field. This defense though reminds me of the Bears last year. You count them out as too old and then they are flying all over the field. Add to the fact that Jarvis Jones will be the next great OLB for the Steelers there is still plenty to like about this team.
Just because I have them coming in third doesn’t mean that they won’t be in the playoffs, but they have an uphill climb. Flacco got elite money like he wanted but unless part of that money is going to clone another Ray Lewis, this team is going to lack the fire that got them through some of those long stretches. I think the defense lost a lot of attitude with Lewis, Pollard, and Reed now not on the team. Boldin is a loss that Flacco will miss right away. Just having a big WR who can go across the middle is huge on 1st down. All that said, they still have a Superbowl winning QB, a running back Rice who is top 5 in the league and Torrey Smith who has big game potential.
Bringing up the rear! This team is better than people think. The offensive line is good. Richardson is going to be a top 10 RB. Weeden actually had almost the same stats as Tannehill but since Weeden is much older, you don’t feel the same way. Those things being said about the offense, when will they get a freakin WR! Davone Bess is an actual upgrade over what they have. Greg Little is again this year number 1 WR. Mr. 53 catches last year. That’s the plan at WR. Now just like every other team in this division, they count on their defense first, run the ball effectively and get big plays from their QB. The Browns are building toward that, but do all of those things worse than everyone else here. I’m not sure they have an answer for awhile but they need to start getting playmakers.
Really you would be a fool to not put them at first, but they have more holes then we thought a couple of months ago. They had a decent offseason, but when your entire pass rush is bested by a fax machine and Von Miller being suspended 6 games, there is reason for concern. Wes Welker picked maybe the best place for him. I think he’s a product of a good QB instead of just being a star WR, but I guess we will never know. With a limited pass rush now and an aging secondary there is probably some question marks on defense. No that they need to play lights out, but this team its Superbowl or bust and there window is right now.
Andy Reid inherited a pretty decent team here. He has his signature good OL and already his best WR since TO in Bowe. Jamal Charles is a top 5 RB even with Reid. He will probably catch 60 balls this year just because that’s how Reid uses his RBs and new QB Smith loves the safe throws. Speaking of Smith, he isn’t going to wow you, but he’s a big upgrade from anything on the Chief’s roster. In fact all of the Chief’s QBs are off the roster from last year. The biggest factor here though is on defense. This team has a ton of talent on that side of the ball. They send 3 LBs to the Pro Bowl last year. Add to that a good secondary that improved from Sean Smith signing and this defense has potential to be Top 10. If that happens they have a chance to compete for a wild card. Only way this team competes for a division is if Manning gets hurt. Last note, this special teams could be crazy good. Just keep an eye out.
We can’t blame this all on Norv Turner anymore? Burn it to the ground and start again. Pretty much the entire thing. Rivers had his opportunity but it’s long gone. Ryan Matthews has to have a good QB and or OL to be effective and he has neither. Top that off with Gates just looks like an old man out there and there are very few WRs out there who are even worth covering. On defense it gets better, but only flashes here and there. The defensive line has some playmakers and Weddle makes the secondary probably better than it should be. For the most part though this team has about as much chance of making the playoffs as Teo’s girlfriend actually being real. (Getting too old? Had to do it).
You want to talk about a team that needs to blow it up and start again? Minus needing a QB, WRs, OL, DL, LB, and probably depth everywhere else, this team is golden. If it weren’t for the Jets, this team would be the worst in the league. When your RB McFadden gets called out saying he’s just there to get a paycheck, you have larger issues. I’m not saying that I agree with that, but who really wants to give 100% on a team that will be lucky to win 4 games this year. At least they have a LB for a kicker so at least they won’t get skunked every game. The good thing is that there is a good draft coming up so maybe they can just draft the fastest guy again. Why break tradition?
Does this team kind of remind you of the Falcons a little bit? They seem to be in a good position to succeed, have a great regular season and then just can't get hot during the playoffs. The Texans need to start developing another QB. I like Schaub but I don't think he's what it will take to get this team over the hump. Although I said the same thing about Flacco. Doesn't it always seem too that we are talking about a Foster injury at the beginning of the year and then at the end of the year we forget all about it? This defense is still really good. They have the number one player on defense according to ESPN with J.J. Watt and an improved secondary with bringing in attitude with Ed Reed at safety. They have the talent, and the not so taxing division to make another push. I'm just not sure since they haven't done it yet, that I would bet that they would do it now.
Really the Colts have to be the luckiest team in the league. Go from Peyton Manning to Andrew Luck and endure 1 bad season. The Browns would kill for one of those years. They won just 1 Superbowl with Manning, they need to learn from their mistakes. Not often do you get a second chance like this. Give Luck a great OL just a few weapons on offense and build a decent defense. I think the offense is already starting to come around with good WRs. The OL needs to improve and quickly to protect their QB since he was running for his life much of the time. The defense just has to be like top 15 in the league for this team to be great for another decade. If they don't, Luck will have to work his come from behind magic again this year. Reports from training camp and preseason says Luck even understands the system and game multiple times more than he did last year. That's a scary thought for everyone in that division.
I mean I guess you have to just hope for a Minnesota Vikings type of year. A superb running back, a defense that gets after the QB and then a QB on your side of the ball that just doesn’t get in his own way. The team spent its biggest money on the interior of the line with Adam Levitre and then using their first round pick on another guard. I think Chris Johnson is capable of having another good year with probably his best OL since he has been there, but how many players will the defense put in the box and let Locker beat them. My suggestion would to put all of them in the box, I just don’t think Locker can even throw it to open WRs, a group that is often injured. This defense has some problems, the biggest that it doesn’t have anyone that had more than 6.5 sacks from last year on it. Ayers at LB is the cornerstone of this defense and needs to continue to make strides if this team wants to make any sort of run.
The third team in the AFC playing for the Clowney sweepstakes. Although the common denominator is terrible QB play from the Jets, Raiders and Jaguars, so they might be looking elsewhere. Unless Gabbert has some Dan Marino / Happy Gilmore moment, this team will be looking for a new QB next year. They get MJD back just in time to run behind at least a decent OL. The team has some talent at WR when Blackman gets back from his suspension in Week 5. Their biggest problem isn’t on offense though believe it or not, it’s how bad this defense is. Last year, J. J. Watt had more sacks then the entire Jacksonville defense. No, it’s true, look it up. 20 sacks for the season for the Jags and they didn’t improve any this year. Add to that maybe the worst secondary in the league and this team will get killed against the pass once again.