Thursday, August 11, 2011

NFL Preseason Predictions! Part 1: AFC North & South

It's that time of year for season predictions! The lockout is finished, the season is starting, and all sports writers now have something to do. With that, I give you part one of my four-part series of my predictions, the AFC North and South.


1. Baltimore Ravens 13-3

They're a solid team with an easy schedule. A playoff lock with Flacco behind center, Ray Rice at tailback, and the most intimidating defense in the league led by the great Ray Lewis. It didn't hurt to sign former Heisman trophy winnner Ricky Williams, and Anquan Boldin will carry the load at the receiver position. Derrick Mason will be missed, but the Ravens offense will work just fine with that talented o-line. As always, Baltimore's defense is stacked at nearly every position, so expect a deep run into the playoffs.

Final Estimate: Loss in Divisional Round

2. Pittsburgh Steelers 11-5

A couple of tough games including trips out to Indy, Kansas City and Baltimore, plus a home game against New England's finest. Big Ben will need to bring his A game this season and not any distractions. Pitt's defense looks as strong as ever after resigning Ike Taylor and drafting some solid prospects in Cam Heyward and Curtis Brown. Rashard Mendenhall is a rising star, the offensive line is strong, and defensivvely the Steelers have some of the best talent.

Final Estimate: Loss in Divisional Round

3. Cincinnati Bengals 5-11

Drafting AJ Green and Andy Dalton was just enough to keep this team from being the bottom of the barrel in the AFC. Dalton got the nod to start at QB in the preseason, and Green can make an impact immediately on any offense. Jordan Shipley will give Dalton another reliable target, but other than that, expect your typical below average football out in Cincy.

Final Estimate: Miss Playoffs

4. Cleveland Browns 4-12

Colt McCoy's intangibles are no joke, but his lack of elite arm strength has fans in Cleveland questioning his ability to throw the ball downfield. He's only got eight starts under his belt, but this should be a season for him to grow. The Browns didn't have an amazing draft, so expect a last place finish in the AFC north for Cleveland.

Final Estimate: Miss Playoffs

AFC South

1. Indianapolis Colts 11-5

The Colts are still looking for a reliable run game, and Peyton Manning isn't getting any younger. However, the Colts are still the Colts; Manning is a born winner, and the blue and white will clinch a playoff berth early with its below average competition.

Final Estimate: Loss in Wild Card Round

2. Texans 9-7

With Schaub, Foster, and Johnson leading the offensive attack, the Texans finally seem to have a system working that will generate points on the board. However, Houston's defense needs a lot of work and we all know offense doesn't win championships. They've got a good shot at the postseason this year, but they're not quite there yet.

Final Estimate: Loss in Wild Card Round

3. Jacksonville Jaguars 7-9

They had one of the worst pass offenses in the league last season, and it doesn't look any better with Mike Sims-Walker off of the roster. MJD can only do so much work when all opposing defenses know he's the only legitimate threat to score. Oh, and Blaine Gabbert does not want to play a Jim Sorgi role, so look for him to get some action at the first sight of a Garrard slip-up. The Jags have enough talent to compete for a wild card spot, but I don't think this will be a very successful year out in Jacksonville.

Final Estimate: Miss Playoffs

4. Tennessee Titans 5-11

Well, Vince Young is gone. Kerry Collins is gone. That leaves who, Matt Hasselbeck? Brett Ratliff? Rusty Smith? Jake Locker? The Titans pass game looks as appealing as a buffet the day after Thanksgiving. Yuck. Tennessee will pick up a few wins behind the legs of Chris Johnson, but other than that it'll be a sloppy year for the Titans. No playoff appearance and a last place finish in the division.

Final Estimate: Miss Playoffs

Thanks for reading. Part 2 tomorrow!

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