It seems like the National Football League is becoming more competitive by the year lately. Weak divisions are starting to produce multiple contenders and the top divisions are staying competitive. Here are the 2018 AFC Division Predictions:
AFC Division Predictions: AFC North
- Pittsburgh Steelers (10-6): The Steelers will continue to run the AFC North this season. Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell continue to be one of two of the most elite playmakers in the NFL. Ben Roethlisberger is not quite the player he was 5 years ago. However, he remains a top 10 quarterback and is still a guy that can definitely get the job done.
- Cincinnati Bengals (8-8): The Bengals ended the 2017 season on a positive note by winning their last two games. However, their final win was more than just a normal win. Their victory against the Baltimore Ravens kept their division rival from making the postseason. I truly believe this is the make or break season for head coach Marvin Lewis. If he fails to succeed, it could be the end of an era in Cincinnati.
- Baltimore Ravens (7-9): After failing to close the game out against the Bengals in the regular season finale last season, the Ravens failed to make the postseason. Joe Flacco isn’t getting any younger or any better. It could be time to give Lamar Jackson a chance at quarterback in Baltimore
- Cleveland Browns (5-11): After an offseason of bringing in new talent, the Browns have not had this much hype on them in years. However, Hue Jackson is still the coach who has gone 1-31 the last two seasons. I’m not buying into the hype.
- New England Patriots (13-3): The Patriots still have Tom Brady as their quarterback and Bill Belichick as their head coach. The Patriots will continue to run this division and will be a huge threat to make a Super Bowl run.
- New York Jets (10-6): The Jets have had a rough time lately in their division. However, the defense can very well be a threat to any opponent on any given Sunday. Plus, Sam Darnold could very well be the guy to get the Jets over the hump and make a deep playoff run.
- Miami Dolphins (6-10): Quarterback Ryan Tannehill has been snake bit with bad luck the last two years. I don’t think he quite returns to the form he was before his latest knee injury. Alabama alumni Kenyan Drake will have to carry a huge load for the offense during the season. Will he be able to handle it?
- Buffalo Bills (4-12): The Bills made the postseason last year for the first time since 1999. However, the Bills got rid of Tyrod Taylor and have an investigation looming over star running back LeSean McCoy. I believe it will be a long season for the Bills.
- Los Angeles Chargers (11-5): I truly believe no other team has had quite the bad luck that the Chargers have had lately. It always seems like this team has a star player gets injured at the beginning of the season. The offense is filled with stars such as Phillip Rivers, Keenan Allen, and Melvin Gordon. The defense is stacked with playmakers such as Joey Bosa, Melvin Ingram, Casey Hayward, and rookie Derwin James. The Chargers can make a run at the Super Bowl if they can stay healthy.
- Kansas City Chiefs (9-7): The Chiefs were looking at a hopeful season last year after a strong 5-0 start. However, they could not quite keep the momentum going for the rest of the season and eventually lost in their Wild Card matchup with Tennessee. I believe quarterback Pat Mahomes will eventually be a great quarterback in this league but will have to learn his way to the top.
- Oakland Raiders (7-9): Jon Gruden is back as head coach for the Raiders. I think it was the wrong move for Oakland to let Jack Del Rio go. I believe it was a downgrade at the coaching position and the Raiders will struggle due to it.
- Denver Broncos (7-9): It’s crazy to think Denver was in the Super Bowl just a couple of seasons ago. Even though they improved at the quarterback position, I don’t see Case Keenum being able to win this tough division like he was able to against the Bears, Lions, and Aaron Rodgers-less Packers when he was a Viking.
- Houston Texans (12-4): I’m officially on the Texans bandwagon if this team is able to stay healthy this season. I believe Deshaun Watson is already the guy that can get them to a Super Bowl. After scoring 21 touchdowns last season before tearing his ACL, he has proven he is ready to give the city of Houston something to cheer for besides the Astros and Rockets. If J.J. Watt is able to stay healthy as well, the Patriots are in for a huge test in the AFC.
- Jacksonville Jaguars (10-6): The Jaguars made a great run in the postseason last year and just about took down the Patriots. I believe the Jags stay hot with that incredible defense and are able to clinch a Wild Card spot.
- Indianapolis Colts (9-7): Andrew Luck is back! Or is he? None of us have seen Andrew Luck play a game of football in months. Before his injury, Luck was a top 5 quarterback in the NFL and arguably in the top tier with Brady, Brees, and Rodgers. Let’s hope Luck hasn’t lost a step and the Colts actually give him an offensive line that isn’t awful.
- Tennessee Titans (8-8): The Titans were able to make it to the divisional round of the playoffs last year. Quarterback Marcus Mariota will have to endure another season with just mediocre weapons (besides tight end Delanie Walker) after losing Demarco Murray and Eric Decker. I don’t think the Titans are a bad team, they will just have plenty of competition in this stacked division.
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