Friday, September 07, 2012

2012 NFL Preview: The American Football Conference

One of the reasons I'm really excited about this season is that it's the first real indication of team strength that we've seen in the NFL in three seasons. Last season was damaged due to the lockout, and the year before that, teams didn't make many moves due to uncertainty about the future collective bargaining agreement. So this year, we see which teams got better, which teams got old, and which teams are building for the future. This dynamic couldn't be any clearer than it is in the AFC.

I said, "I'm a giant douche bag!"
AFC East
1) New England Patriots (12-4)
2) Buffalo Bills (10-6)
3) New York Jets (7-9)
4) Miami Dolphins (2-14)

As long as Brady and Belichick are together, this is a playoff team, but everyone gets older. The Bills take another step forward, building on their potential from last year's surprising start. The Tebow circus in New York will more than likely usher loudmouth HC Rex Ryan out the door. Miami, like Tampa, features a professional [sic] football organization.

Are you sure? I thought the
Village People had a football player.

1) Baltimore Ravens (13-3)
2) Cincinnati Bengals (10-6)
3) Pittsburgh Steelers (9-7)
4) Cleveland Browns (5-11)

The Ravens need to take advantage of what is almost certainly the last hurrah of their Hall of Fame-bound veteran defenders. It's also time for Joe Flacco to take the same leap forward that Eli Manning did last year from game manager to clutch time leader. Also, his receivers need to HOLD ON TO THE DAMN BALL! Marvin Lewis will continue to overachieve with a Bengals team that will be better still than last year. My friends who are Steelers fans will hate me for saying this, but they are just getting too old, and Ben's health is a huge concern this season. Cleveland is, well, Cleveland, and that ain't good.

Nah, it doesn't make any more sense
when you turn it upside down.
1) Houston Texans (13-3)
2) Tennessee Titans (8-8)
3) Indianapolis Colts (4-12)
4) Jacksonville Jaguars (2-14)

If Matt Schaub can stay healthy, the Texans are my top pick to represent the AFC in the Superbowl this year. The Titans are still developing under Jake Locker; Andrew Luck will put up some great numbers, but the Colts are obviously still operating under the rebuilding paradigm. Jaguars players can look forward to shopping for real estate in southern California in a year or two. Blaine Gabbert would have done much better in Minnesota.

OW! MY NECK!! Sorry guys,
I was just messing with you!
1) Denver (10-6)
2) San Diego (9-7)
3) Oakland (8-8)
4) Kansas City (6-10)

Come on, would I ever pick against Peyton Manning? If they went 8-8 with Tebow, they should, at the very least, win the division. San Diego will keep spinning its wheels until they hire a new head coach. Oakland will continue to baffle us with potential that's never fulfilled (kind of like Carson Palmer's career), and sorry KC fans...I'm just not feeling any love for Romeo.

Tomorrow: Playoff picks destined to be laughably wrong.

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