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2008 NFL Predictions: The AFC

Discussion in 'Chargers Fan Forum' started by Deb, Jun 28, 2008.

  1. Deb

    Deb BoltTalker

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    2008 NFL Predictions: The AFC


    by Paul Augustin (Analyst)
    Link
    bleacher report

    [​IMG]

    Training camp is just about a month away, and with that, it is time to predict how every team will finish, including playoffs and the Super Bowl.
    Several questions linger as we make the turn towards training camp.
    First of all, how will the champs respond to Michael Strahan's retirement and minicamp holdouts? Secondly, how will the Patriots rebound after the crushing defeat in Super Bowl XLII? What affect will the new regimes have in Miami and Atlanta?
    My predictions feature at least one team that will go from worst to first, and the fall of a long-running division champ. The Bengals' antics will propel them to the playoffs...or not.
    Super Bowl XLIII will feature a team making their first appearance and a first-time winner.
    Without further delay, here is how I see the AFC shaking out.

    AFC East
    Winner: New England Patriots (13-3)
    The Patriots are just too explosive on offense, and the rest of the division is terrible. The Patriots don't go undefeated, but they learned last year that that's not such a bad thing. They drafted LB Jerod Mayo to inject some youth at the position.

    Buffalo (8-8)
    The Bills improve by one win over last season, but it's not enough to make the playoffs. The defense will be improved, but the offense will continue to struggle.

    Miami (5-11)
    Bill Parcells begins to put his stamp on this franchise. A four-win improvement over 2007 is a start in the right direction. The sooner they start Chad Henne the better.

    New York (3-13)
    The Jets made a flurry of offseason moves, but I don't see them paying off. Teams without a quarterback go nowhere in this league. The Jets have two, which means they have zero.


    AFC North
    Winner: Pittsburgh (10-6)
    Pittsburgh has a tough schedule (@Phily, @Jacksonville, @Washington, @ New England, home games against Indy, San Diego, and Dallas), but I see them escaping to win the division. The only real threat is Cleveland. Baltimore is looking for a quarterback (what's new?), and Marvin Lewis has little control over his Bengals.

    Cleveland (7-9)
    I see a drop-off from last season's run that ended in losing a tiebreaker with Tennessee for the last playoff spot. Derek Anderson needs to make better decisions with the football in his second year as the starter (19 INTs last year), or opposing defenses will figure him out. Jamal Lewis turns 29 before the season starts, so I don't see him having another 1,300-yard season in 2008.

    Baltimore (4-12)
    A new coach, an aging defense, and either a rookie (Joe Flacco) or a second-year player (Troy Smith) leading the offense, and this team gets worse before it gets better.

    Cincinnati (4-12)
    I think this is Marvin Lewis's final season in the Queen City. His side of the ball has floundered during his tenure. Carson Palmer has had it with Chad's antics, and I'm going to guess that he's not the only Bengal that feels that way.


    AFC West
    Winner: San Diego (13-3)
    Okay, so there is absolutely no surprise here. If he hadn't already, Philip Rivers won the respect of all his teammates with his gutsy performance in the AFC championship game. Tomlinson is still the best back in the NFL. There won't be a slow start to the season this year, as the Chargers won't have to adjust to a new coaching staff.

    Denver (9-7)
    The Broncos will improve on last year's performance. Jay Cutler will have another season under his belt, and he is one of the better, young QBs in the NFL. Cutler will handle his diabetes well, and he may be better off knowing that he has it. He was fatigued during the season, and now he knows why and how to treat it. A defense that gave up over 400 points last season is still a big question mark.

    Kansas City (6-10)
    A modest, two-win improvement from last season for the Chiefs. They're bringing in over a dozen rookies, including first-round pick Glenn Dorsey. Like the Jets, the Chiefs have questions at quarterback, and Larry Johnson looks to rebound from a disappointing 2007. The offense has to step it up, or Herm Edwards will be out of a job.

    Oakland (5-11)
    Another cellar-dwelling season for the Raiders. The offense should improve slightly with JaMarcus Russell taking over full-time and the addition of Darren McFadden. The Raiders, though, overspent for new additions. First, Javon Walker had as many touchdowns last season as I did, and he is coming off an injury. Then there's Tommy Kelly. No one outside of Oakland had heard of him before he signed a $52 million contract as he recovers from an ACL injury.


    AFC South
    Winner: Jacksonville (12-4)
    This is the season the Jags topple the mighty Colts in the AFC South. This hard-nosed team is led by David Garrad. Coach Jack Del Rio made the ballsy decision last year to cut incumbent Byron Leftwich and go with Garrard.
    It certainly paid off as Jacksonville went on to beat Pittsburgh in the Wild Card round of the playoffs. With Garrard as their leader, and Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew at running back, the Jags proved they could score points. I see this team getting deep into the playoffs this year.

    Indianapolis (11-5)
    The Colts' reign over the AFC South comes to an end in 2008. The status of Marvin Harrison should have Colts fans worried. A knee injury limited him to just five games last season, and he isn't getting any younger. Marvin will turn 36 before the start of the season.
    The schedule is tough for the Colts. They are going to have tough out-of-division road games against Minnesota, Pittsburgh, San Diego, and Cleveland. There's also that annual game with New England. Oh, and we can't forget that they play in the toughest division in the AFC.

    Houston (10-6)
    I've got a feeling that this is the year for the Texans. They went a respectable 8-8 last season, despite only a 1-5 division mark. I see them winning half of their division games this year.
    The Texans return with QB Matt Schaub as the starter and Sage Rosenfels as a quality backup. It's good to have two quarterbacks in this league, unless you don't know who the starter is (see New York Jets and Kansas City Chiefs).
    Houston has a stud at WR in Andre Johnson. Let's just hope he can stay healthy enough to play every game this year. Houston's young defense is sure to improve this season after statistically finishing in the bottom half of the league last year.

    Tennessee (7-9)
    Someone's got to finish last in this division, and I think it's going to be the Titans. The strength of this Tennessee offense is the run. The Titans drafted speedster Chris Johnson to add to an already loaded backfield.
    Despite signing Alge Crumpler, who I believe is a top-10 tight end, the Titans lack weapons for QB Vince Young. The Titans need to give Young better and more explosive targets if they plan on improving their passing and scoring averages.
    In 2007, Young threw for under 200-yards per game, while the offense managed less than 20 points per contest. In a division with the Colts and Jags, that will not get it done.

    AFC Playoffs
    Wild Card Round
    #3 Jacksonville over #6 Houston
    #5 Indianapolis over #4 Pittsburgh
    Divisional Round
    #3 Jacksonville over #2 New England
    #1 San Diego over #5 Indianapolis
    AFC Championship Game
    #3 Jacksonville over #1 San Diego
    I got the feeling that Jacksonville is a mentally tougher team than San Diego. This will give Jacksonville the edge it needs to get past San Diego and advance to their first Super Bowl.
     
  2. Buck Melanoma

    Buck Melanoma Guest

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    As long as MJD doesn't block 56 all day, we'll beat J'ville. :icon_tease:
     
  3. vegasboy

    vegasboy BoltTalker

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    I was at that game with Jacksonville last year and no doubt about it they are a tough team. However, IMHO if we play them at home in the playoffs, SD prevails.

    The game in Jacksonville was close and at home we have the advantage.:bolt:
     
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  4. matilack

    matilack #therealagent47

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    I got the feeling Jacksonville is overrated myself, but still a good team.
     
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  5. AnteaterCharger

    AnteaterCharger Calibrating Bolttalk, Podcast by Podcast Staff Member Super Moderator Podcaster

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    It remains to be seen whether those two rookies (Groves and Harvey) will provide the pass rush they desperately need, there's questions about their new top 2 WRs (Williamson and Porter) when they let their best receiver go in the off-season, and a question about how hte interior will handle the trade of Marcus Stroud.

    They are good and they are tough but they're pretty much a one trick pony unless their WRs really step it up
     
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  6. maestro876

    maestro876 BoltTalker

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    I think Jacksonville is extremely overrated. Every year we hear "This is the year that the Jaguars will challenge the Colts for the division!" And every year they fail miserably and Indy makes another trip to the playoffs. Last year was arguably one of the best Jacksonville teams yet, and they couldn't beat one of the worse Indy teams in their own stadium.

    Until Peyton Manning stops playing football, Indy is probably going to own that division.

    Plus the idea that the Jaguars are somehow mentally "tougher" than the Chargers is kinda stupid considering what happened last year towards the end of the season.
     
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  7. floridaboltfan

    floridaboltfan BoltTalker

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    Im so tired of hearing this jags talk. Il ive in Jax and the team is highly overrated. Gerrard is an injury prone game managing QB at best. Fred Taylor is 103 and MJD is a complimentary back. We match up well against their recievers and against the run when Jamal is in their we are one of the best rush d's in the league. Their secondary has huge ? and no real answer for Gates. If we meet in the AFC championship game in SD final score Bolts 28 Jags 17.
     
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  8. P88F

    P88F BoltTalker

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    Ya they are over-rated they kicked our *** :lol:
     
  9. Lancer 1

    Lancer 1 BoltTalker

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    I was at that game as well, Alltel Stadium is beautiful and offers picturesque views of the surrounding area. I also remember that glory hound ref who got on Sportscenter & his picture in SI by dancing with the cheerleaders.

    I like our odds against any team we play at Qualcomm, where we have only lost twice in the past two years to include the postseason!

    Totally true! The Jags beat an underachieving Pittsburgh team that also lost to Denver & Arizona, then lost to New England.

    We overcame injuries to out 3 top offensive playmakers and still won 2 playoff games, to include taking out the defending Superbowl Champs at their house and with our backup QB scoring the deciding points, before giving New England all they could handle and being down by 2 points in the middle of the 4th Quarter, before giving up a few scores and letting the game get away….I’ll go to my grave believing that if we had either LT or Gates healthy, we win that game hands down.

    They are overrated, for the reasons that maestro876 & floridaboltfan bring up…every year they are hyped and expected to overtake Indy and rule the AFC, but they never do.

    As for our game at Jacksonville last season, they won the game but they hardly “kicked our asses” …we spotted them 10 points to start the game, and trailed by 2 touchdowns at the half and still only lost by 7 when Rivers threw a pick with less than 1:30 to go in the game while going for the tying TD….we were that close and like with Tennessee three weeks later, if we had come all the way back and tied that game up I’m sure we would’ve won it. Philip threw for more than 300 yards, while Garrard didn’t even hit the bicentennial mark and there was no 100 yard rusher in the game for either team. It was a tough, hard fought game that could’ve gone either way and the home team won, but it was not total domination by any means.
     
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  10. Shamrock

    Shamrock New Member

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    How does Jacksonville get "respect" from media (even though this is just a blog writer) ??? Maybe they should win their division before people start writing their names in Super Bowl lore.

    The Jags candy assed their way through the playoff game at NE. They didn't challenge the Pats at all, playing a soft defense. They still don't have a proven pass rush, and they still have to beat Indy in their own division.

    Furthermore, they are an up and down team, never consistently good for two years straight.

    They got multiple calls that benefitted them to win that game. A couple big hits gave them the "tough" label, but seeing a complete lack of physical play in their game vs. the Pats is more their style.

    The Jags have a reputation much bigger than any accomplishment.
     
  11. Carlsbad_Bolt_Fan

    Carlsbad_Bolt_Fan Well-Known Member

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    One other thing that works against them: they gave 12 MILLION to Drayton Florence. He will cost them games this season.
     
  12. matilack

    matilack #therealagent47

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    Chargers 15-1 (easy sched. combined with a stacked team, but we're destined to lose a cheap one)
    Raiders 8-8
    Broncos 7-9
    Chiefs 4-12
     
  13. skawash

    skawash BoltTalker

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    Same ole ****!
    Sd-11-5
    den-8-8
    kc-6-10
    oak-6-10! then.....
    an afc south opponent.....then...
    pats or colts....but this time we finally get it done!
     
  14. Retired Catholic

    Retired Catholic BoltTalker

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    Jacksonville is a tough but under achieving team and the Bleacher Report isn't worth the paper it's printed on. I figure that there isn't a single team on our schedule next year that we can't beat and only a few that we won't spank hard-if we stay healthy. The league should come up with some rules about teams being forthright over the physical condition of injured players after the draft. This secretiveness is nothing but arrogance.
     
  15. Buck Melanoma

    Buck Melanoma Guest

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    But that would mean that Goodell would have to stand up to someone other than players. We ALL know that he doesn't have the cojones to do that. :no:

    Jacksonville is just a popular choice for some this year, mainly because it reads differently than the same old Indy/Pats routine. We stay healthy, we're the big dog this year. :bolt:
     
  16. Rainman

    Rainman BoltTalker

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    That's about how I see it, too. (Except I estimate the Chargers will finish 12-4.)

    I think the Raiders will get 7 or 8 wins-- a big improvement, but playing .500 ball hardly qualifies as "Commitment to Excellence". :icon_rofl:

    Even will all the new talent, KC lacks leadership and it will take them a while to pull everything together. By the time they get close to doing so, Herm Edwards will be in the unemployment line, and the Chiefs will have to start almost from scratch again.

    I think Jay Cutler is better than we like to give him credit for, but he is so NOT as good as the slobbering national press would have us believe. And the Denver defense has NO answer for the multitude of ways the Bolts can attack them.
     
  17. Thumper

    Thumper WHS

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    Well, they have McCree. :lol:
     
  18. Rainman

    Rainman BoltTalker

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    Yes, and thank you for making my point for me! :lol:
     
  19. boltssbbound

    boltssbbound Well-Known Member

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    I will not call Jay Cutler good until the Broncos offense scores a touchdown against us. In three career starts against the Bolts, Cutlet has not come within 20 points of beating us.
     
  20. Rainman

    Rainman BoltTalker

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    :nana_dance: <--------- Look! Jay's Dancing!
     
  21. Charger Dave

    Charger Dave Back to the Alethiometer..

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    QFT... :yes:
     
  22. matilack

    matilack #therealagent47

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    He looks pretty Gay!
    Hey everyone its Gay Jay!
     
  23. BlazingBolt

    BlazingBolt BoltTalker

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    I do think people may be a little too high on the Jags, I think they fail to live up to those expectations this year. However I do think the Jags are one of the toughest match-ups for us, I think they can give us fits. However with a healthy Jamal and D-line I think we can handle them. Without that (I am talking to you Jamal and Castillo) it will be hard to stop the running game enough in order to beat them.

    I don't see them as Superbowl contenders so much, but I don't want to face them.
     
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  24. Retired Catholic

    Retired Catholic BoltTalker

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    Rules committee decision, but Goodell WOULD be the guy enforcing it.
     
  25. RM24

    RM24 BoltTalker

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    How did he come to that conclusion? Was there some sort of test they scored better on or something? :icon_huh: If we play J'ville in the playoffs we will win a close one, much like that Titan playoff game. Especially if it's here in San Diego.
     
  26. BleedBLUE&GOLD

    BleedBLUE&GOLD BoltTalker

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    Excellent point!:lol:

    I think the media is giving the Jags more credit than they've deserved and proved. We'll see how the season goes...
     
  27. Retired Catholic

    Retired Catholic BoltTalker

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    The reason is that their logo has a bigger mouth. When you go to the team website the first impression I get is Mouth.com. Jaguar is nowhere to be seen, except in the small print below.
     

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