Patriots favoured in AFC

Brady and Co. should go deep in Super Bowl race

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Jay Culter

MAKING THE CUT. Jay Cutler's Broncos likely won't beat out San Diego for the division, but could very well pick up a Wild Card berth.

AFC East
1. New England Patriots
2. New York Jets
3. Buffalo Bills
4. Miami Dolphins

The Patriots are unquestionably the class of the AFC East. Superhero pivot Tom Brady now has a legitimate deep threat in Randy Moss, and as long as the team avoids any “straight cash homey” situations, New England should go deep.

Look out for Eric Mangini’s sophomore slump, with the Jets struggling to improve on last season’s success. They’ll still be in mix, but if quarterback Chad Pennington starts off slowly, don’t be surprised to hear whispers for Kellen Clemens.

Buffalo’s playoff drought will continue this season, but if the backfield of J.P. Losman and Marshawn Lynch live up to their potential, the Bills could be next year’s sleeper.

The post-Marino woes continue in Miami. The Dolphins passed on golden-boy-in-training Brady Quinn for returner/receiver Ted Ginn Jr., and while Trent Green is still a serviceable quarterback, he is only a short-term solution.
"Kevin Melhuish

AFC North
1. Baltimore Ravens
2. Pittsburgh Steelers
3. Cincinnati Bengals
4. Cleveland Browns

In the toughest division in football, this race will be extremely tight.

The Ravens have added running back Willis McGahee and he will add a much-needed dimension to the offence. With perhaps the best defence in football, a better offence could mean a Super Bowl run.

The Steelers enter a new era under head coach Mike Tomlin. The team is extremely skilled and will have a better season than last year, but expect some bumps along the way.

The Bengals return a dynamic offence, but questions remain on defence. They made no significant additions to an already sub-par unit, but could catch Pittsburgh for second place.

Cleveland had a strong off-season, which was geared toward the future rather than the present. Rookie pivot Brady Quinn needs time to develop, and Charlie Frye isn’t winning too many ballgames, so don’t expect much from them this year.
"Jack Hansen

AFC South
1. Indianapolis Colts
2. Jacksonville Jaguars
3. Tennessee Titans
4. Houston Texans

The offence-heavy Colts would dominate in just about any division, but the shallow AFC South should be a walkthrough for the defending champs. Their defence is still suspect, especially with the loss of cornerbacks Nick Harper and Jason David, but their flimsy run defence didn’t stop them last year.

The Jaguars have a solid squad, led by tandem backs Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew, but may struggle early under unproven pivot David Garrard, likely costing them a wild card berth.

Field general Vince Young wins ballgames for the Titans, but a sophomore slump isn’t out of the question " Young doesn’t have the personnel around him to contend.

They’re calling quarterback Matt Schaub the Saviour in Houston. Fitting, since Texans fans will crucify him by season’s end.
"Malcolm Aboud

AFC West
1. San Diego Chargers
2. Denver Broncos
3. Kansas City Chiefs
4. Oakland Raiders

It’s tough not to pick the Chargers to win this division " they have more talent than just about any team in the league " but don’t expect a powerhouse in San Diego. Superstar LaDainian Tomlinson and Co. will need to adjust to a new head coach plus new offensive and defensive coordinators. They’ll still win the AFC West, but Chargers fans will miss Marty Schottenheimer.

Second-year pivot Jay Cutler has potential, and Denver is stacked on defence, especially with corner tandem Champ Bailey and Dre Bly. They’re dangerous if Travis Henry can hold onto the football, but likely two years from contending.

Larry Johnson better be ready for a whole lot of carries in Kansas City, because Brodie Croyle and Damon Huard aren’t quarterbacking them to victory.

This season won’t be as bad as 2006 for the Raiders. Then again, Wild Things 2 wasn’t as bad as Oakland’s 2006 campaign.
"Malcolm Aboud

AFC Championship " New England Patriots

AFC Breakout Players
Angelo Crowell, LB, Bills
Bart Scott, LB, Ravens
Jay Cutler, QB, Broncos
Nnamdi Asomugha, CB, Raiders

Super Bowl " New England Patriots

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