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Who Will Come Out On Top In the AFC This Year? –2011 NFL Predictions, Part 2

Jim McIsaac, Getty Images

With the NFL season around the corner, I thought it would be a great time to unveil my predictions for the 2011 season.

Yesterday, I made my predictions for the NFC. And today, it’s the AFC’s turn.

AFC EAST W L NOTES
New England 12 4 This was a 14 win team that re-invented their offense last year with a double TE formation. They finally have a legit RB in Green-Ellis.  They’ve got a deep threat in Ochocinco. Their defensive line seems to be improved.  Oh yeah, they still have the best QB in the game in Tom Brady.
NY Jets 11 5 This is going to be a big year for Mark Sanchez.  Either he’ll step up and become a legit NFL starter or remain exactly what he is now – marginal at best.  Let’s see Shonn Greene step up and stop fumbling and take over the #1 role.  Great attacking style defense – but they don’t really have a great outside pass rusher.  I still think they’re very good though.
Miami 6 10 It’s a very conservative offense with Chad Henne at the controls.  He’s just not that good.  Downgrade the running game with the loss of Ricky Williams & Ronnie Brown.  Daniel Thomas is the new starting RB?
Buffalo 5 11 Ryan Fitzpatrick isn’t horrible but he isn’t good either.  I like Fred Jackson in that backfield.  He nearly rushed for 1,000 yards without a good offensive line.  No linebackers and defensive line that doesn’t force enough pressure.

AFC WEST W L NOTES
San Diego 10 6 Philip Rivers had an amazing season last year throwing to guys named Seyi Ajirotutu, Legedu Naanee and Cowboys reject Patrick Crayton. He’s got Vincent Jackson for a full season alongside Malcolm Floyd. Ryan Matthews and Mike Tolbert are a legit 1-2 running back combo.  For all the flack their defense got last year, they still gave up the fewest yards in the NFL.
Kansas City 9 7 A legit offense behind Jamaal Charles.  Matt Cassel proved to be legit.  Defense makes plays.  I like the Chiefs.
Oakland 6 10 The Raiders made great strides last year going 6-0 in the division but 2-8 against everyone else.  McFadden is a legit RB but I’m not a Jason Campbell fan.  New head coach – I just don’t know.
Denver 4 12 For some reason, the Broncos don’t like Kyle Orton. Expect Tim Tebow to be the starter at some point in 2011.  Great running game as this team will become more conservative with new coach John Fox. Horrible defense though.

 

AFC NORTH W L NOTES
Baltimore 11 5 The Ravens offense got a legit deep-threat upgrade with Lee Evans. Joe Flacco has proven he’s a winner.  Ray Rice.  A good defense.  There’s no reason this team can’t win 12 games.
Pittsburgh 11 5 The Steelers are the Steelers.  Great defense.  Efficient offense.  I just don’t much of a difference between them and the Ravens but Baltimore wins the tie-breaker.
Cleveland 9 7 Cleveland, like Detroit in the NFC, is a trendy sleeper pick.  For good reason.  They’ve got a young QB in Colt McCoy that showed he’s a legit NFL starter last year.  They’ve improved their defense.  They had a good draft and their RB situation is helped out by the return of Montario Hardesty.
Cincinnati 3 13 No Carson Palmer.  No Chad Ochocinco.  No chance for winning.  3 wins is all I see this team getting.

AFC SOUTH W L NOTES
Houston 10 6 We’ve been hearing this is the Texans’ year for the past 3 years.  Finally, this is the Texans year.  A good QB, a good RB and a great WR.   Houston will win the AFC South.
Indianapolis 9 7 Peyton Manning’s return is a question mark.  Without Peyton, this is a 5-6 win team.  With him, they’ll only win 9 games.  I see a big drop-off from the Colts this year.
Tennessee 6 10 Chris Johnson is still holding out.  He probably won’t get into prime game-shape until week 2 or 3.  Matt Hasselbeck is the starting QB.  I see this as a 6 win team.
Jacksonville 5 11 Let’s be honest, both Jack Del Rio and David Garrard are on their last legs.  Blane Gabbert is waiting to take over the QB spot.   Bad defense. No legit WR’s.

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