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Mike’s AFC Preview

While Matthew is off trying to determine the outcome of the NFC this year, I’ve decided to try my hand at giving our readers a preview at what should happen in the AFC this year. Matthew decided he needed to enter his ReBUTTals because he falsely thinks he’s smarter than me. As this is a pretty straight forward premise, there’s no need for any further introduction. Let’s begin…


Division Winner- New England Patriots. It really causes a deep sense of self-hatred to do this, but unfortunately, there’s no other way around it. As we’ll discuss in the following paragraphs, nobody is going to be able to compete with Tom Brady’s high-powered offense, even if they have a historically awful defense (much like last year, when they reached the Super Bowl). Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez have revolutionized the tight end position and Tom Brady is the victor for their spoils. Record: 11-5

ReBUTTal:  Unfortunately I cannot disagree with you on the Patriots.  I wish I could.  Tom Brady just looks too good, and I am not just talking about his QB play.  Have you seen those eyes?  Not only can they look off the best defensive backs in the league, but they can also stare into my soul!  How can you hate something so beautiful?  Their defense will probably give up 30 points a game, but it doesn’t matter when they can score 50 without breaking a sweat.

1st Runner Up: Buffalo Bills. Usually, people would be inclined to put the New York Jets here, since they have reached two of the last three AFC Championship games, but as I’ll talk about shortly, they’re not at that level. Buffalo is coming off their biggest offseason since the draft of Jim Kelly. The addition of Mario Williams and Mark Anderson makes their defensive line scary good. The key comes down to Fred Jackson staying productive for 16 games and Ryan Fitzpatrick keeping the ball out of the defensive backs hands. If so, Buffalo will be in the hunt for the AFC East crown. Record: 9-7.

ReBUTTal:  The biggest offseason since Jim Kelly?  So Buffalo fans can look forward to almost winning it all again for the next 4 years?  I agree with you on the defense.  That defense will be good and it will get better.  Tom Brady may only put up 30 points on them.  Look at what you said though… the key comes down to “Fred Jackson staying productive.”  Last year he was hurt for 6 games.  He is also 31 this year.  That is starting to get old for a RB.  I call on the youth of the world to gather in Buffalo and try to win some games for the Bills!

Congratulatory Pat on the Back: New York Jets. The Jets have been one of the NFL’s best teams, playoff-wise, during the Rex Ryan era. However, they continue to have one glaring hole: quarterback. Words can’t even describe how much I loathe Sanchez and his (lack of) talent. The proof has come in the preseason as the Jets have yet to score an offensive touchdown in their first three seasons. Don’t be surprised if the J.E.T.S, Jets, Jets, Jets draft a QB this next year. Record: 6-10

ReBUTTal:  You are correct when you say that they are in need of QB help, but I do not hate Sanchez as much as you do.  We also agree on our loathing of Tim Tebow.  I think the Tebow experiment will only last this one year.  Next year at this time we will be talking about how he cannot complete passes for a new team.  I like Rex Ryan and I like the Jets, but I agree this will be a down year.

We’re Still an NFL Team, Damnit!: Miami Dolphins. This was a close toss up between the Dolphins and Jets. Although I believe Ryan Tannehill will become a better QB than Mark Sanchez, the time won’t be this year, especially given his receiving corp. All things point to a growing pains year for Miami. On the bright side, they should have a good pick in the draft to bolster their offense for 2013. Record: 5-11.

ReBUTTal:  I like the Dolphins.  At the end of the year I believe that we will look at them as we looked at Carolina last year.  Yeah, they lost a lot of games, but they were good games and they were competitive in all of them.  Reggie Bush is finally starting to play a big role on that team and if he can get good timing with Tannehill they could be a good team.


Division Winner: Baltimore Ravens. In what could be one of the toughest, if not the toughest, divisions in football, the Ravens have the makeup to come out on top (giggity). Joe Flacco will be running the no-huddle offense and has promised to be more aggressive with his throws, which combined with the hopeful emergence of second-year receiver Torrey Smith and the awesomeness that is Ray Rice, Baltimore’s offense should finally be on par with its vaunted, but aging defense. Record: 11-5

ReBUTTal:  Ray Rice is awesome!!  I agree that their offense is starting to play to the level of their defense.  As you say, the defense is starting to get old, so their window is closing.  However, we have been saying that about them for a while.  It seems every year we talk about how this year is the year.  Will this year be the year?  Are they getting too old on defense?  Tune in next time.  Same Bat-Time, Same Bat-Channel.

1st Runner Up: Pittsburgh Steelers. Over the past few years, I’ve learned the lesson, “Don’t bet against the Steelers” quite a few times. However, last year Baltimore had their number, beating them by a combined score of 58-27 in their two matchups. A big issue with Pittsburgh is it’s offensive line, which suffered a brutal setback with the loss of stud rookie guard, David DeCastro. That, in addition to the ineptitude of rookie tackle Mike Adams, leaves Big Ben very vulnerable to a lot of hits again this year. Record: 9-7

ReBUTTal:  When did you bet against the Steelers?  Why would you do that?  Hines Ward was in BATMAN!!!  How could you not love him!! (Mike’s Counter ReBUTTal: Because Hines Ward retired after he was the only surviving member of the Gotham Rogues.)

An Injury Away From the Playoffs: Cincinnati Bengals. Last year, the Bengals were the darlings of the AFC North with a surprise trip to the playoffs after a 9-7 season. Andy Dalton will look to continue his improvement after his first full offseason in the NFL and second-year receiver A.J. Green could be a top 5 receiver in this league if his rookie year was any indication of his learning curve. If either team above (or potential Wild Card) suffers a pivotal injury, look for the Bengals to be playing in game 17 this year. Record: 8-8.

ReBUTTal:  Cincinnati is looking good.  They had a strong end of the year last year and are getting better.  They are still a young team though, and I don’t think they have the talent to win the big games late.  You think 8-8.  I would go a game or two under .500

It’s Okay, We’re Rebuilding: Cleveland Browns. Unfortunately for the Browns, they find themselves in the cellar again. They’ll be starting a 28 year-old rookie quarterback, who many people feel is a “system QB,” their best receivers are all rookies, Josh Cribbs is one year older and their top rookie (and crucial offensive weapon), Trent Richardson, has been dealing with knee issues all year. Combine this with having to play a strong NFC East and the Browns will be lucky to get to six wins. Record: 4-12.

ReBUTTal:  Here is the thing with the Browns.  They are in a division with the Steelers and the Ravens!!  They have to go up against those teams twice!  When was the last time the Steelers and or the Ravens were a bad team?  They are always good.  The best chance for the Browns to get a winning record is to change divisions.  The AFC South is very weak this year!


Division Winner: Houston Texans. This should surprise no one. Houston is the only team in the division starting a quarterback that has started at least sixteen games. They’ve got the best playmakers in the division in Andre Johnson and Arian Foster (don’t count out Ben Tate, either) and are returning one of the strongest defenses in the league, even with the losses of Mario Williams and DeMeco Ryans. With this division playing the AFC East and NFC North, an 8-8 record would probably clinch the division, which the Texans should easily get to. Record: 10-6.

ReBUTTal:  Really?  They are going to lose two of the best defensive players in the league and their defense will not be affected?  They will be lucky to reach 8-8!  You are right that the rest of the division sucks as well!  The Texans cannot stay healthy!!  Let’s see if all those “Playmakers” make it to the end of the season and then we can talk.  Andre Johnson has a better chance of making it to Dr. James Andrews then he does to making it to the Pro-Bowl!

1st Runner Up: Tennessee Titans. The Titans could’ve potentially stole the division this year had they left Matt Hasslebeck in charge of the offense. They decided, however, the time is now to begin the Jake Locker era, for better or for worse. Locker struggled with accuracy in college and, given his preseason stats, seems to still struggle with completing a majority of his throws. Unless we see a rejuvenated CJ2K, expect the Titans to be on the outside looking in when it comes to the playoffs. Record: 7-9.

ReBUTTal:  You know what is really sad?  I could see them winning the division.  Chris Johnson could be healthy, Jake Locker and or Matt Hasslebeck could be good.  Their defense might be able to stop Andrew Luck and Blaine Gabbert.  They could have a good year!  Or they could suck really hard.  Either way, I would not bet on them this year.

Talk to Us in 2014: Indianapolis Colts. (Note: this is made with the assumption MJD misses extensive time). Consider me on the Andrew Luck bandwagon. After throwing for a TD on his first NFL pass (courtesy of Donald Brown’s running), Luck has lived up to the hype that has preceded him for two and a half years. With that said, the roster of the Colts is abysmal and features the most new players in the league. Much like Peyton Manning’s first year in the ‘shoe, the Colts won’t be pretty, but Luck will get them heading in the right direction. Record: 5-11.

ReBUTTal:  I hate to say it, but you are right.  I agree with everything you just said.  Instead of making fun of your pick, I will just make fun of you.  You have small feet and you have to stand on a stool when you pee or else you miss. (Mike’s counter ReBUTTAL: Matthew was an “altar boy”).

We’re in the Matt Barkley Lottery: Jacksonville Jaguars. There has been talk that Blaine Gabbert is looking markedly improved this year over his awful rookie season which saw him record the league’s lowest QBR, even behind Curtis TAINTer. Even with drastic improvement, I’m still expecting Andrew Luck to have a better season. And with MJD in the midst of a holdout, Jacksonville’s offense is looking pretty pitiful at the moment, even with rookie Justin Blackmon. Record: 3-13. (Editor’s Note: With MJD announcing his return over the weekend, I’ll adjust the record up one game to 4-12)

ReBUTTal.  MJD is everything to this team.  I could see him being back for the beginning of the year, but it is unlikely.  They have so few talented guys that I think you are generous with 3 wins.  Let’s say MJD is out for the first 6 weeks.  They may not win a game all year.  They could be epically bad this year.  They will go as far as MJD’s injured legs will take them.


Division Winner: San Diego Chargers. I realize picking the Chargers to win anything is like playing hot potato with a stick of dynamite and double-sided tape on your hands, but there’s something different this year: they’re finally the underdog. While all the pomp and praise has been directed at Denver for acquiring Peyton Four-Neck-Surgeries-In-A-Year Manning, the Chargers have floated under the radar for the first time in years. This is finally the year for them to put all the pieces together and win the division with authority, instead of by default (see 2010). Either that, or Norv Turner is heading for the unemployment line. Record: 10-6.

ReBUTTal:  Oh, so you think that the Chargers will win it all?  2004 – 20010 called and they want their picks back.  Really!!  We have heard this before!  Denver has been looking good and they have Payton Manning now.  Rivers is overrated and the only reason they have been doing good so long is because the Chiefs, Broncos and Raiders have all been terrible!!  Also, speaking from experience Norv Turner is terrible as a head coach.  Let him go back to being one of the best Coordinators in the league.

1st Runner Up: Denver Broncos. Unfortunately for Denver, this will finally be the year when it takes a winning record to actually take the division crown. Even with the Peyton Manning signing, the defense is still likely to give up too many points for them to come away with enough games to take the title. The lack of a running game doesn’t help, although that’s nothing new to Manning. Also, don’t forget Denver’s season can go south in a hurry, as they open up against the hard-hitting Pittsburgh Steelers. Record: 9-7.

ReBUTTal:  McGahee was not that bad last year.  I know it took the divine influence of Tim Tebow to make the running game work, but with Peyton as the QB they actually have the option to throw the ball.  Who were they going to throw the ball to last year??  Jesus was not going to be running the post route for Tebow!  I think they will win the division and then get spanked like a Catholic school boy by the Steelers in the playoffs. (Fun fact: Matthew was a Catholic school boy.)

Just Call Us Teddy Buckland: Kansas City Chiefs. Just like the hapless lawyer from Scrubs, the Chiefs can’t catch a break. Last year, the team was decimated with injuries to key players like Jamaal Charles, Matt Cassel, Tony Moeaki  and Eric Berry. This year, they get to face the AFC North, have Peyton Manning added to their division, and a new coach who failed to do anything in his last stop. But hey, on the bright side, they shouldn’t have to start Tyler Palko this season… Record: 6-10.

ReBUTTal:  Can I just say how awesome it is that we both did Scrubs references during our reviews.  I am just saying that we may talk to each other too much.  This year will be long and hard for the Chiefs.  Very long and very hard!  You are right, they have injury issues, but more importantly than that they have issues with Matt Cassel being a complete letdown.  He came to the Chiefs with great expectations and he was able to successfully underachieve in an impressive way!  Just like the book Great Expectations, I am not buying it! (He did buy Fifty Shades of Grey, however.)

We’ve Finally Got a GM, Give Us Two Years: Oakland Raiders. After decades of being run by an old man/skeleton/ghost in a track suit (too soon?), the Raiders are finally free of Al Davis’ control and in the hands of Reggie McKenzie. McKenzie has essentially started a process of gutting “Davis” guys (speed, speed and more speed) and started to build a football team that can compete…in 2014. This year’s record will hinge on Carson Palmer remembering what color his team is and a depleted defense attempting to stop a bevy of quality quarterbacks. On the bright side for Raiders fans, there is a new Madden out. Record: 4-12.

ReBUTTal:  The Raiders are so lucky that Reggie McKenzie agreed to come to California.  A few years ago a respectable executive would not have gone to Oakland.  It was Al Davis’ team and no one else had a say.  Now they are going to start building a respectable team and that is very exciting.  Yes, they will probably not be good this year.  However, now the Raiders fans have something besides their parole date to look forward to.

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