NFL Predictions: AFC

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

I’m following all the hipsters here and I’m going with the Oakland Raiders to win the west. I’ve been all-in on Derek Carr since he was a senior at Fresno State. If you don’t think he’s a superstar now, you will in a few weeks.

I wanted to have the Broncos missing the playoffs, but I just couldn’t do it with that defense. I especially couldn’t move them out of the playoffs with the way Trevor Siemian played. While, he wasn’t great, he seemed more than capable of playing, at worst, mediocre quarterback in the league. Which, crazy to think, is an upgrade over the way Peyton Manning played last season.

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

In what will likely be my favorite division to watch this season, this was the hardest to give predictions for. I truly believe any of these four teams can win the division. Yes, even the Titans. At the end of the day, I went with the Texans. Brock Osweiler, while not great, has the weapons around him to cover up his flaws.

The Jaguars are a sexy pick this year, but I think they’re still a year away. Specifically, the defense. They have so much talent on that side of the ball and they’re going to be a force this time next year.

It was quite difficult to have the Colts, with a healthy Andrew Luck, to not only not win the division, but miss the playoffs entirely. They’re really one of the five worst rosters in the NFL. But that just shows you how good Luck really is.

The Titans are a team that is just going to maul you offensively. I love this team and the direction they’re heading. If you don’t think DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry are going to punch every defense right in the mouth, you’re mistaken!

AFC North:
1. Pittsburgh Steelerspit
2. Cincinnati Bengals*
3. Baltimore Ravens
4. Cleveland Browns

I believe the Steelers are the best team in the AFC, as you’ll see here in a few minutes. Offensively, they’re just in a class of their own. Defensively, well, they’re not great. In fact, last year they were bad. However, they can’t get worse, right?

I like to Bengals to get the second wildcard in the AFC. The defense is very good and I fully expect to see a bounce back year from Jeremy Hill. They have a tough first three games (NYJ, PIT, DEN) so it’ll be a slow start, but their roster top to bottom is too good to miss the playoffs.

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

A suspended Tom Brady or not, the New England Patriots are still the team to beat in the AFC East. Everyone knows that.

I really like the Jets roster. I didn’t think there was really ever a doubt that Ryan Fitzpatrick wasn’t returning. Arguably, they have the best weapons in the division, offensively and defensively.

I could see the Bills making a push to surpass the Jets as the second best team in the division. Tyrod Taylor showed us last year that he’s a more than capable quarterback in the league. The have the weapons offensively to be much better than they were last season. We know Rex Ryan will have the defense to compete, let’s see if the offense can be more consistent.

Believe it or not, I actually do like the Dolphins. I’m a fan of what they have offensively but I just think it’s too clear that they’re behind these three other teams in this division.

PLAYOFFS:
1. Pittsburgh Steelers
2. New England Patriots
3. Oakland Raiders
4. Houston Texans
5. Denver Broncos
6. Cincinnati Bengals

AFC Championship: Pittsburgh Steelers over New England Patriots