Drew’s Review: AFC Rankings

A F C

1. BRONCOS Broncos Icon 96x96 png

Peyton, Welker, Demaryius Thomas, Moreno, Miller, Phillips and coaching. Denver is a Super Bowl built team inside and out and they can beat you focusing on just one of these offensive players each week. Then they have two pass rushers that can get by anyone and a legit secondary when healthy. They’ve been super hot after that loss to the Colts and showed great strength and superiority against the Chiefs. Another legendary matchup for Denver this week @ the Patriots, where Brady and Belichik have had Peyton’s number.

2. PATRIOTS Patriots Icon 96x96 png

That Monday Night game @ the Panthers was one of the best we’ve seen on Mon. so far. A great offense versus a great defense, and both showed up, taking it down to the last play. New England knows that ‘call’ at the end of the game didn’t win it or lose it for either team. They’re still trying to find an answer for losing Wilfork and Mayo, and if they do, keep your eyes peeled. Brady’s offense is at full force with everyone healthy and a talented Vereen to play a ‘Sproles’ role.

3. CHIEFS Chiefs Icon 96x96 png

Kansas City put up a good fight against the juggernaut Broncos but came up just a little short. Their defense will carry them most of the way, and Alex Smith is still playing at a high level for them. Jamaal Charles is having another great year and Bowe is doing his part. It still worries me that they lack downfield plays, and it shows concern like we saw in Denver. Until they show improvement in that aspect I don’t feel comfortable with their chances against the top two teams.

4. COLTS Colts Icon 96x96 png

With Trent Richardson clearly struggling this year, Donald Brown could be the savior for the Colts. They’re clearly invested in their style of offense, controlling the clock and staying true to power runs, and it CAN work if Brown can continue to strive. Luck doesn’t have the best offensive line, so these runs and play-action passes help tremendously. There’s no doubt Andrew Luck is amazing, and he can do it all, but every great player needs a supporting cast. T.Y. Hilton I think can be a solid ‘go-to’ #1, but they will definitely need to find a #2. DHB just isn’t cutting it.

5. BENGALS Bengels Icon 96x96 png

This Cincinnati defense has been great all year but took a huge loss when Geno Atkins and Leon Hall were done for the year. Andy Dalton has all the weapons he needs to put up points, but he has shown signs of inconsistency again this year. He needs to spread the ball around to take pressure off of A.J. Green and keep defenses guessing. The Browns were capitalizing on his inability to throw to WR’s not wearing #18. This could be a huge issue down the stretch and it’s up to Dalton to get better. Their defense isn’t going to blow teams out like the Browns every week.

6. STEELERS Steelers Icon 96x96 png

Big Ben is slowly starting to look like vintage Roethlisberger lately and it’s getting wins for Pittsburgh. Antonio Brown is having a tremendous year, and Cotchery is starting to be a threat as well. LeVeon Bell is the big back they’ve been looking for and could really help late in the season with his downhill running style. They need to be on point for the rest of the year for a legit push in the playoffs. With Sanders hurt, Heath Miller will be looked upon to make big plays, which we know he’s capable of doing, just a little unreliable this year so far.

7. BILLS Bills Icon 96x96 png

Yeah yeah, I know they’re last in their division, but my eyes tell me different. I believe as of right now they’re the most stable and consistent team behind the Patriots in that division. The Bills defense has been very good lately and E.J. Manuel looks like he didn’t skip a beat at all after missing games. He put on a beautiful performance without his top 2 WR active which told us a whole lot. Both RB are healthy and can produce against any defense, and Manuel is accurately taking care of the football. I can definitely see this team making a strong case for the playoffs. Only Miami and New England stand in the way down the stretch.

8. CHARGERS Chargers Icon 96x96 png

San Diego has taken a lot of tough losses this year. I think they’re a pretty good team when they hit their pace, but they drown themselves in fourth quarter with inconsistent play. Their offense is 4th in passing, and they’ve shown strength in the run game. Ryan Mathews is quietly having a strong year, with 3 games now over 100+ yards. Their biggest loss this year was 10 points! Every other game ends by a field goal or two. No excuses, they have to play better and finish games, but I’d like to see this team hit a streak and start winning. I think they could make some noise in the playoffs.

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9. RAVENS Ravens Icon 96x96 png

To be honest I was indifferent about Baltimore winning it all last year. In reality they had no business being there, they just happened to make ‘the’ play at ‘the’ time they needed it. Hats off to a good team, they still made it happen, but they’re back at it again this year. Their offense is even worse this time around, hoping and wishing Rice snaps out of his slump. He exploded last week but will that continue? The line still looks terrible, Joe Flacco is always bad and their WR’s work off of speed and forced throws. Surprisingly for me, their defense stayed really solid for all the new pieces they’ve shifted from last year. Still their only quality win was over the Bengals, and they’re struggling in every game. I can’t see this team in the playoff run but their experience might just be enough.

10. DOLPHINS Dolphins Icon 96x96 png

I was pretty impressed with their win over San Diego, but that’s probably because I secretly like the Chargers in the playoffs (I know it’s ridiculous). Miami is one of the most ebb and flow teams this year. They beat the Falcons and Colts early in the year then the Bengals recently, but then lose 5 out of 6 and hand the Bucs their first win. They’re middle of the league in practically everything offense and defense. Even their turnover ratio is zero! This team is really strange and I don’t see them finishing the year winning, especially with the left side of their offensive line gone and a team that’s drowning in scandal and media pressure.

11. BROWNS Browns Icon 96x96 png

It looks like the Browns are having a year-long tryout. I see a different player every week get an opportunity to make plays and expose their talent, in hopes of staying on the roster next year. I do believe they’re still fighting and trying to win every game, and I absolutely respect that, but this roster has a lot of questionmarks and coaches want answers before draft day in April. Their run game is almost invisible and they’re airing it out as much as any team. Cleveland still has issues getting touchdowns instead of field goals but their superb defense is keeping them in games if not winning them. This team would look a lot different with a solid running attack. Maybe give Ogbonnaya a feature role? His 6.3 YPC is pretty nice.

12. JETS Jets Icon 96x96 png

By the way things are going this year, the Jets are a guaranteed WIN this week @ Baltimore, so bet big! The Jets are another one of the most inconsistent teams in the NFL. They’ve beaten the Bills, Patriots and Saints, and have lost to the Titans, Steelers and Bills. What the..? They can stop anybody’s running attack and can run the ball on any team. They win the Rex Ryan way, and it’s obviously working to an extent. Geno Smith is also so unpredictable, sometimes you could almost see this team in the playoffs with a ‘game-managing- QB. If Simms gets a start things could get very interesting in the AFC race.

13. TITANS Titans Icon 96x96 png

Jake Locker is hurt, again. His running ability really added a nice threat to this offense. Chris Johnson is having a nice year so far but they’re still limited with options at WR and pure QB talent. Tennessee is a tough team but they just don’t have enough to compete with the big guns.

14. RAIDERS Raiders Icon 96x96 png

Darren McFadden is hurt, again. It might not have helped anyway. With Pryor behind center they’re near the top rushing the ball. With their new starter McGloin they could possibly find balance with his pocket presence. They’re really strong against the run, 6th in the NFL, but the lack the ability to finish games. They will have to wait and see what McGloin can do with the starters, then look to build their roster for next year.

15. TEXANS Texans Icon 96x96 png

This has been a year to forget for the Texans. So much has happened this year and it looks like the playoffs are out of reach now. With Foster and Cushing sidelined and clear QB controversy in the locker room, Houston might be stuck in the shadows all year.

16. JAGUARS Jaguar Icon 96x96 png

With so much poor play at QB this year, I’m actually a little surprised Jacksonville DIDN’T sign Tebow haha. MJD has been such a great RB for so long. He is still showing small flashes of greatness, but his ability to cut and break tackles has diminished noticeably. I hope I’m wrong and its just poor line blocking, or being unsatisfied with his role, but this is usually about how many miles are on a RB’s tires before showing clear wear and tear.