I’m going to take a break from the News Of the World and USA for a few days and get down to some NFL predictions! Today, the AFC. Here is the AFC East and North.
4.) Miami Dolphins -- 5-11 -- I don’t think they’re as bad as last year, but then again, they still don’t have a quarterback. I can’t see them being any better than 8-8, and their schedule is sort of tough and they play in a tough division... But Ricky Williams is back in four games which should be fun just for the sake of his quotes to the media. Ronnie Brown may be a stud when it’s all said and done, and their D isn’t that bad. But again, teams with average QBs usually finish around 8-8. Teams with bad QBs never win more than 6 games.
3.) New York Jets -- 9-7 -- I thought the Jets had a great, boarder line, miracle season last year... but this is the NFL and they could win the Super Bowl for all we know. Curtis Martin is about 90 years old, but he’s still running for 1,500 yards and scoring touch downs... I have no clue about this team. All I know is that Jet fans usually are tortured. Every Jet fan I knew in college wanted to run and hide every time I brought them up. So in a way, White Sox fans and Jets fans have that in common. That said, when your fan base is as schizophrenic as it is, that’s never a good thing. I missed it, but did Dan Marino thank the Jets and their fans when he was induced to the Hall of Fame?
2.) Buffalo Bills -- 10-6 -- Again, this is a “I have no clue” pick. They finished strong last year, which I liked. They’ve got a stud in McGhee who should have a near MVP season this year. But again, the QB position. I’m guessing that Losman doesn’t lose them games and they’re a force not to be messed with.
1.) New England Patriots -- 12-4 -- Come on, they’re the best team in the division and the AFC until someone beats them. I know they lost a lot of ‘parts’ last year, but this is a team that wins. And in a NFL when above average and stability equals Super Bowls, well things aren’t changing. No I don’t think they’re as good as most of the teams from the NFC in the 80s, those early 90s Cowboys and 49er teams, or even the Denver teams of the mid to late 90s. But the NFL is so ‘average’ right now the Pats formula of success will keep them winning.
4.) Cleveland Browns -- 5-11 -- I have no doubt that the Browns will be better this year. They might even win 7 games. They get the Bears, Dolphins, and Lions at home which means 5 wins isn’t out of the question. Sure they may or may not have any sort of a running game. But their D should be better and they’ve upgraded their QB position by default.
3.) Pittsburgh Steelers -- 8-8 -- Let’s just say, in Today’s NFL this shouldn’t come as a shock. The Ravens and Bengals are on the rise. Last year they caught every single break possible including a Bus that decided he was 25 again. Their D played out of their minds... it just caught up with them in the AFC Championship Game. This year, things even out a bit, they get stuck with a few more injuries, Hines Ward is doubled teamed all year, both running backs are banged up...
2.) Cincinnati Bengals -- 9-7 -- They’re D has to be better right? And doesn’t it feel like this is the year that they get better? After everyone ‘loving’ them the past few seasons and saying “this is a sleeper team” doesn’t this year actually feel like that year since they’ve got pretty much every offensive position in place? Palmer has to improve, but I think he will. They get to play the NFC North (and get the Vikings at home) which will only help them. This isn’t that bad of a team and should be fun to watch even though they have some of the worst uniforms of all time (in 20 years we’ll look back on the Bengals unis and say, wow, that’s the 21st century 1980s Houston Astros!).
1.) Baltimore Ravens -- 10-6 -- You know how Ray Lewis was a super human from 2000-2003? That it seemed like he could beat an entire team by himself? Things got so crazy that I’m sure some people were even wondering what would happen if Lewis played Ditka in a game, one on one. Well Lewis isn’t what he was... but Ed Reed? My Lord... this guy is a football player. Probably my favorite guy to watch play right now. And John Madden needs to start sucking up to him like he does to Farve pronto. Anyway, Boller isn’t as bad as everyone says he is (he was a second year QB for crying out loud) and should have Heap back this year. Add a little Mason and J. Lewis? Ten wins seems about right.