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2016 AFC Preview

Updated on September 6, 2016
Source

AFC East

1) New England Patriots A tough 4-game stretch for Jimmy Garoppolo who is filling in for quarterback Tom Brady while he serves his suspension. Once the future Hall of Famer returns to the field, with the Gronk and Martellus Bennett, all systems go. Projected 2016 record: 10-6

2) New York Jets Ryan Fitzpatrick had a great year quarterbacking for the Jets in 2015. It is hard to think that Fitzpatrick will duplicate those numbers (3905 passing yards and 31 TDs) this year but with Brandon Marshall, Eric Decker and new running back Matt Forte, the offense will have some success and clinch the last spot for the playoffs. Projected 2016 record: 9-7

3) Buffalo Bills It is unknown when WR Sammy Watkins will return to game action this season which will be a significant absence for the passing offense. With Mario Williams in Miami and 2016 first round pick Shaq Lawson expected to miss the first 6 weeks of the season, the Bills need some help in the pass rush (21 sacks-2nd fewest in league). Projected 2016 record: 8-8

4) Miami Dolphins Arian Foster could be a candidate for comeback player of the year. He won the starting job over sophomore running back Jay Ajayi. Hopefully he can play through the whole season without any mishap. I think he will stay healthy for the entire season and help out the offense. The defense will have to step it up this season. Projected 2016 record: 7-9

AFC North

1) Pittsburgh Steelers The Steelers still have a potent offense even with running back Le’Veon Bell and receiver Martavis Bryant serving suspensions (Bell-3 games, Bryant-season). On defense, Pittsburgh needs to work on defending the pass having given up the third most yards through the air in 2015. Projected 2016 record: 12-4

2) Cincinnati Bengals This season will be telling with how quarterback Andy Dalton will perform. Tyler Eifert has yet to play a full season; Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu are with different teams leaving the receiving corps thin. The defense will redeem themselves after a disappointing end to their season last January but with the offense struggling to score, the Bengals won’t see past New Years’ Day. Projected 2016 record: 9-7

3) Baltimore Ravens Expect wide receiver Kamar Aiken to have a big season for the Ravens offense. An injury riddled season for key players last year (Steve Smith, Terrell Suggs, Matt Elam and Joe Flacco to name a few), the hope for 2016 is that it won’t happen again. Already, tight end Benjamin Watson will already miss the season with a torn Achilles suffered in the preseason and it is unknown when Dennis Pitta and Steve Smith will return from their injuries. Adding another leader on the defense with Eric Weddle will help out the Ravens but they will fall short for a playoff spot. Baltimore picked off the ball only six times in 2015, the lowest in the league. Projected 2016 record: 9-7

4) Cleveland Browns Another AFC Player who could get consideration for Comeback Player of the Year in quarterback Robert Griffin III. Once Josh Gordon comes back from suspension, the offense will pick up steam. A good start for Hue Jackson’s first year as head coach. Projected 2016 record: 8-8

AFC South

1) Jacksonville Jaguars A dark horse candidate to win the AFC South, the Jaguars have an up can coming defense and a nice passing attack, led by Blake Bortles, Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns, to lead the Jaguars to a playoff spot since 2007. Projected 2016 record: 10-6

2) Houston Texans The Texans, a possible favorite to win their division, sure made a splash by adding quarterback Brock Osweiler and former Dolphin running back Lamar Miller to their offense. With stud receiver DeAndre Hopkins and rookies Will Fuller and Braxton Miller, Houston will certainly be a threat in the passing game if they can keep the sacks low (45 in 2015 5th most in league). This might be the year where Jadeveon Clowney will be a force for the defense. Projected 2016 record: 10-6

3) Tennessee Titans Fifth year running back DeMarco Murray and former Alabama product Derrick Henry gives quarterback Marcus Mariota some help in the run game. This will limit his attempts to drop back for a pass and keep him healthy as he was sacked 54 times last year, most in the league. Veteran receiver Andre Johnson looks to have found a new home in Tennessee with his play in preseason. Projected 2016 record: 5-11

4) Indianapolis Colts With games against the NFC North, AFC West, the Steelers and rising defenses within the division, it will be hard for the Colts and their offensive line troubles to pull out a win. Projected 2016 record: 3-13

AFC West

1) Denver Broncos No slowing down for the Denver defense in 2016. Not when you still have Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware coming off the edge. What is expected of the offense with Trevor Siemian at quarterback? Projected 2016 record: 9-7

2) Kansas City Chiefs Who will step in with linebacker Justin Houston expected to be out for the 2016 season? A lack of depth and age at the linebacker position and a young secondary will be problem for this team. Projected 2016 record: 9-7

3) Oakland Raiders Another candidate to make some noise this season and get a spot at the playoffs, the Raiders will look to build from a 7-9 season last year. To do that, Oakland will need to have the same offensive success as last year and get more contribution from other players getting after the quarterback. Projected 2016 record: 8-8

4) San Diego Chargers Philip Rivers will continue to put up yards through the air with Keenan Allen, Danny Woodhead, the ageless tight end Antonio Gates and new receiver Travis Benjamin arriving from Cleveland. The running game was missing last year, but heading into 2016 the offense should be more balanced as there will be improvement in that area. Projected 2016 record: 6-10

2016 Projected AFC Playoff Seeding:

1) Pittsburgh Steelers

2) New England Patriots

3) Jacksonville Jaguars

4) Denver Broncos

5) Houston Texans

6) New York Jets

Who will win the AFC South?

See results

What will the Patriots record be heading into week 5 (Tom Brady's return)?

See results

Who will represent the AFC in Super Bowl 51?

See results

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