Are you Ready for Football Season?
Last week’s blog just left you wanting more? I bet you could not wait to get my thoughts on the AFC and Superbowl predictions. After you read this are you are headed straight to your short term investment broker to cash in? We’ll your wait is over NFL fan because your smoking football prognosticator is back with more information to make you king of the water cooler chats. These two blogs are so full of knowledge that they will make you sound like you have a part time job for the NFL network.
Well on to the AFC predictions.
You know I have to start with the Jets. Please Jet Fans don’t take this the wrong way, but is there a more dysfunctional team in all of the NFL? It is kind of hard to imagine that this team was in the AFC Championship game for 2 years in a row, not too long ago? Now they are more famous for having a QB that is known for the “Butt Fumble” instead of winning. Did I not hear Rex Ryan say at the beginning of the year that he was winning the Superbowl 2 years ago? My how the mighty of fallen. I see the Jets owning the first pick the draft this year, and looking for a new head coach.
Living in the state of Florida I have seen EJ Manuel up close and personal throughout his FSU career. To be honest I did not see him as a first round draft pick, but I have to say talent is there. It will all depend on the coaching that he gets at the next level. I like Doug Marrone, who was starting to build Syracuse into a good program again before he got hired by the Bills. Buffalo still has a way to go and the Patriots in their division, so it will be a while before they are a playoff team.
Now here is an intriguing team to watch this year. Miami was a big spender in Free Agency getting Mike Wallace, Brent Grimes, Dustin Keller, Dannell Ellerbe and then made a bold move up the draft board to get the defensive end from Oregon Dion Jordan. Does that mean they are ready to challenge the Patriots? I don’t know, but as with most teams there young Quarterback Ryan Tannehill has to improve on a good rookie season for that to happen. Personally I am not ready to say they are a playoff team but they could surprise everyone.
So you have a team that lost one of the best wide receivers in the history of the game in Wes Welker to free agency. One of your Pro Bowl Tight Ends is trying to come back from Back surgery, and the other Pro Bowl tight end is sitting in prison for murder. There defense did not do much to improve this offseason as well. I am still willing to say this team will win this division and make a deep playoff run because they have some guy still there, you might have heard of him, Tom Brady? The best compliment I can give Brady is he is an absolute surgeon at carving up defenses no matter who you give him to throw the ball to. He has won Super Bowls with Jarbar Gaffney, Troy Brown, and Dieon Branch. I do not see any of them getting fitted for Jackets and being inducted into Canton. The Patriots will be just fine.
I tried to jump on the Browns last year, picking them to actually make the playoffs in the preseason. I have learned my lesson but I still think they will be an improved team this year. Brandon Weeden will be a good QB in this league and Trent Richardson is load at running back. They have a good foundation for the future but this is another franchise that just seems to always be snake bit. Just when you want to get on board, something happens and they are picking in the top 10 of the draft again.
I like Andy Dalton as a Quarterback, and I love AJ Green’s athleticism. They have made the playoffs the last two years, but I am just not sure if it means anything. They are building a nice defense anchored by Geno Atkins, and have the makings of a very good team, but again does anyone expect anything spectacular out of them? Is this a Super Bowl roster? I just don’t see it and I have a feeling they will take a step back this year and not make the playoffs. Marvin Lewis might be on a hotter seat then you think.
I see them making a big turnaround this year. Mike Tomlin is a no nonsense coach and will not stand for mediocre again. I foresee the Steelers getting back to playing Black and Gold smash mouth Football this season. Big Ben is going to protect the football more this year, and watch out for Le’veon Bell at running back. He is my sleeper rookie of the year candidate. You can always count on the Steelers playing outstanding defense. This is a team I could see playing in the AFC championship game this year.
Are we going to see another Super Bowl winning team that does not make the playoffs the following year? I think so. This team has lost too much leadership in that locker room to expect to contend for another championship. I know he got paid this offseason because he won the big one, but do you think Flacco is worth the same if not more money then, Brady, either one of the Mannings, or Rogers? Not me, heck I would not even trade my own Josh Freeman for that guy. Let’s see how he leads this team with a defense that is missing Ray Lewis and Ed Reed.
I just see them making a big turnaround this year and really getting back to playing Steelers football. They are going swarm on defense, have a power running game, and Big Ben is going to move around the pocket and make plays.
How does a team that has 6 pro bowl players on their roster win only 2 games and get the 1st pick in the draft? Ohh I get it, Matt Cassel was there Quarterback, and Brady Quinn was his back up. I really like what the Chiefs have done this offseason. They got a legitimate starting QB in Alex Smith and Andy Reid will turn that talent into a very good team. I see them being this year’s Colts and going from having the first pick in the draft to making the playoffs in one year.
They are bad…. Just bad. I am sorry Raiders fan but is there anything to get excited about with your team? Thank God there is a Jets team that might be worse record wise, but when you are in a division, that has Payton Manning, Philp Rivers, and a upstart KC team that I think will be much improved, your losses are going to just pile up. I have one questions for Raider Fan, can Darren Mcfadden actually play a full season without hurting something? Matt Flynn at QB? He could not beat out a 3rd round draft pick when he was in Seattle, and you think he is your savior? Your defense was so bad that your biggest free agent signing was Charles Woodson. How old is Charles Woodson? Again I am sorry Raiders fan but you team has a long way to go before they are even respectable.
Is Phillip Rivers as good as I think he is, or I guess a better question would be is Rivers as good as HE thinks he is? His play and decision making have really gone down the last two seasons and he is a shell of the all pro QB he once was. Now it is not age that is affecting him, at least you would not think so yet, so what can it be? We are going to find out if it was coaching because Norv Turner is out and Mike Macoy has come over from Denver. So at least they have guy who knows the NFC West. Chargers are in that category of you just don’t know. They could light it up and make the playoffs or win 5 games, but I would not bet on them until I see some improvement from Rivers.
Denver is clearly the class of this division, and should win it easily. Payton Manning was well Payton Manning last season and already had two very good wide outs in Thomas and Decker. Now you’re going to add Wes Welker in the slot? Are you kidding me, that is almost unfair. I almost feel sorry for any defensive back that has run with those three in that high altitude. Broncos are not only favored to win this division they should be a Super Bowl favorite as well.
I live in the state of Florida and I sometimes forget Jacksonville even has a team. MJD is franchise running back but that is all Jag fans can lay there hat on. Blain Gabbert has never impressed me much, even in College he was not much to write home about. I still do not understand why in that market they did not make a run for Tebow. I mean what, you actually think this team has a chance to go somewhere? At least with Tebow people would want to come out and see your team.
I hope Jake Locker surprises me for Titan fans sake. He reminds me a lot of Blain Gabbert, except that maybe he is a little better athlete. C2K will be the reason this team either wins 10 games, or will be picking at the top of the draft again. His offensive line must improve for them to have any chance this season.
I love Andrew Luck, I think that kid has Hall of Fame career written all over him. He has everything you would be looking for in your franchise player. I just hope they continue to build around him and give him the weapons he is going to need to succeed. That Defense is still shaky and must improve under Chuck Pagano. On a side note I am glad he is back and healthy. The NFL needs coaches like him and he is everything that is right about the NFL. I see the Colts as a playoff team again this year, maybe not going very far but they should make the tournament.
The Colts are good, but I am not ready to say they can take this division away from Houston. JJ Watt is the next Warren Sapp, and when I say next I don’t mean potential. He is Warren Sapp right now in his prime. No Defensive lineman can dominate a game the way he does. You throw on top of that an explosive offense that features Arian Foster and Andre Johnson, they are also a Super Bowl contender right from the start.
Ok that is my thoughts on each team from the AFC. So this is how I see the seeding playing out this year
My Championship weekend prediction is
Alright folks that lays it all out for you and if you read this whole thing you are ready for the season. Give me your feedback and if I ripped your team, tell me why I am wrong. If you mention that you read the entire blog and note your Super bowl picks on our Blog comments I will give you 5% off your next online order. Just mention AJ’s smoking sports blog in the “notes to us” section during check out and I will make sure it gets applied before we process your order.AJ’s Smokin’ Sports Corner: Welcome to Football Season – AFC Edition by Drew Brannen