2016 NFL Season Predictions: AFC

So we are two weeks away from the NFL season starting, and no one could be more excited than yours truly. It’s a great time of the year, especially with the college football season kicking everything off Labor Day weekend. But we aren’t here for that, we are here to talk about the NFL, more so the AFC. Who will win their divisions? What teams will go from early draft teams to playoff teams, and who will slide and fall in their division? These are my official predictions for each division, and what teams have a shot at making the wild card spot.

AFC East

FOXBORO, MA - SEPTEMBER 10: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots cheers as he runs on to the field before the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Gillette Stadium on September 10, 2015 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images) ORG XMIT: 566357679 ORIG FILE ID: 487641288

The AFC East is one of those divisions in which there is always the Patriots always are dominant, there is a team or two to challenge them, and then the Miami Dolphins. This year, it’s no different. This division is the same as the NFC South, which I mentioned on the NFC predictions. The only team that has a shot of beating them is the Jets and even thats not for certain because when Tom Brady gets off his four game suspension, expect a surgery of the defense he is going up against every weekend.

 

AFC NorthGettyImages-490330208.0

Now this division, like its NFC counterpart, is very interesting. The both Northern divisions have two to three teams that can make the playoffs, and in all actuality, if the Cleveland Browns were to get right, then it would have a division in the playoffs. But when it comes to this division, it is always seen as a division that has at least two teams that are in the Super Bowl conversation. But who wins the division this year? Does Cincy keep their stranglehold of this division or does Pittsburgh finally get the northern crown back? And what about Baltimore? Do they take back a division they seem to win every three to four years?

Prediction: Cincinnati wins the division again.

Now the reason I say this isn’t because Cincinnati is the strongest team in the division, they are the strongest team out the gate. Cincy is walking in to the season only losing one key player, Marvin Jones, who went to the Detroit Lions. Baltimore is full of veterans, but can we trust their offensive line after it allowed Joe Flacco to get knocked out for a season. And then there’s Pittsburgh, who has two of its main pieces in Martavis Bryant and LeVeon Bell serving suspensions for drug use. So with that being said, Cincy could gain a 3 game lead on them throughout the season, which could bury the rest of the division’s chances to win it.

AFC Southgettyimages-457497944-e1444938376543

Okay this is the division that I’m the most excited to watch other than the AFC West and NFC North. In this division, we are used to Indianapolis winning it all, with them being seen as Super Bowl favorites. But this year, every team is drawing closer to the level of greatness that the Colts have. But who wins it this year: Will it be the Tennessee Titans, that now have back-to-back Heisman winners in their backfield? Will it be Houston, with a brand new offense or will Jacksonville win it out of nowhere?

Prediction: Jacksonville or Houston wins the division

I’ve been burned by the Jags before when I selected them as divisional winners. But I think this year is a year where they step up and improve. Jacksonville not only has quite possibly one of the best wide receiver duos in the league in the Allen Brothers, but they also have 3 number one draft picks in their defensive backfield with Dante Fowler, Myles Jack and Jalen Ramsey. Now Houston is my other pick to win this division but ill go more in-depth in that pick later. But when it comes to Jacksonville, they are in the same position that Detroit was in 2011: an underdog team that has a great offense, a defense that should be feared, and a fan base that is salivating at winning a divisional title.

 

AFC Westi26

Oh, how a Super Bowl win can change a division. With the Broncos wining the Super Bowl last year, a lot of people thought they would be the favorite to win the division this year and make another run at a title. And sure they might do that, but the division has gotten even tighter and a lot more tougher. South of Denver, there is a team in Missouri that is bubbling up to take what they felt was theirs. Meanwhile, a team in Oakland wishes to send off visitors of the Black Hole with good memories as this might be the final time they are in the Bay Area.

Prediction: Oakland wins the division

I would love to say San Diego should win this division, but they can’t get Joey Bosa signed to a contract. Denver has the defense to do a lot, but their quarterback situation makes their divisional hopes seems small. Kansas City is the only other team in that division that can challenge the Raiders for the western crown. Oakland walks into the season with a great quarterback in Derek Carr, who has an amazing offense, and on the opposite side, a defense that is hungry and can get the Raiders atleast 5 wins alone. This team is dangerous and every team in the AFC should be looking out for them to make a big move in the season.

Teams that will Fight for a Wild Card Spot

Denver Broncosct-broncos-von-miller-super-bowl-mvp-20160207

Look we can’t act like the offensive issues I said before aren’t  going to be a problem this season for the reigning champs, but there is no way that they don’t get back to the postseason. They walk in with the best defense in the league and while a lot of people will point to their offense as a detriment to the season, they will figure it out.

Kansas City Chiefs05d95b48df13743c914a38da4e75f895.jpg.03a9b8230e626f6aeddaacc6a33b8715

I just feel like this team will make the playoffs, especially now that they know that don’t have to face a gunslinger like Peyton Manning in the division again. I still think this is the toughest place to play in the league, as that KC crowd gets loud and monstrous. Expect them to have a 10-win season, with them splitting a series with Oakland.

Pittsburgh Steelersusa-today-8856905.0

Best receiver in the league. Absolute, certified Hall of Famer at quarterback. While I sort of drowned out the idea of the Steelers winning the division this year, there is no way they don’t make the playoffs. Pittsburgh will make adjustments as they always do and hopefully it means they don’t have to run into the Bengals in the playoffs like they did last year.

Houston Texansgettyimages-592607070-e1471816992570

Okay this team either will win the division or they will not make the playoffs. This team has an absolutely insane lineup offensively and the defense is as good as it was last year. But the question for them is when will it come together? Will it take a week or five? And will Jadeveon Clowney finally step up and help J.J. Watt in becoming the best defensive tandem in the league? If they can do that, then expect them to either win the division or be the highest wild card team in the AFC.

 

Well those are my AFC picks, and you can check out my NFC picks here. What do you think will happen in the AFC and who do you think will win each division? Comment down below. And come back this week to see my official College Football picks for each conference and who wins the national championship!

 

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