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AFC: Old Guard vs. Contenders

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by Ice_Ice_Brady, Sep 9, 2010.

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  1. Ice_Ice_Brady

    Ice_Ice_Brady Rookie

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    Will this finally be the year when the perennial AFC elite is taken down? Every year we hear the same out stories about Team X (usually the Texans, Bengals, or Jaguars) tearing through the AFC and going to the Super Bowl. This year it seems that several teams are knocking on the door. Do you bet on the old guard, or is one of the new contenders for real?

    Old Guard

    Patriots
    Colts
    Steelers

    These three teams have won the AFC Championship in each of the last 7, and 8 of the last 9 seasons, with the only exception being '02 with the flash-in-the-pan Raiders. In those 9 seasons, these teams have combined for 12 AFCCG appearances.

    Contenders

    Chargers- Always contending, always disappointing
    Ravens- Looking very solid this year and picked by many to win it all
    Jets- Claim to be good
    Texans- Looking like a team ready to finally take the next step
    Bengals- Great young defense, went 4-0 vs. Ravens and Steelers last year

    What do you think? Does the trio hold up for one more year, or does one of the these teams finally break through into the Super Bowl?
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2010
  2. Sicilian

    Sicilian On the Roster

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    I just don't have a good feeling about the Steelers this year. Other than that, I expect the Colts and Pats to be good.

    Of the up and comers, I'd list the Ravens and Chargers as they only ones likely to supplant anyone.
  3. Metaphors

    Metaphors Rookie

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    Pats = Young and unproven defense, no OL depth
    Colts = A mess for OL and weak at DT, paper thin depth except RB and S
    Steelers = Weak secondary (except Troy), inconsistent OL and bonehead QB
    Bolts = Wizard of Oz team...no heart, courage or brains and ends up going home before the story is done

    Ravens = Awful secondary (just bad after week 6), unproven passing game
    Jets = Questionable QB, new RBs, no depth anywhere, handling adversity
    Fins = Young and unproven defense, unstable interior OL
    Texans = Poor secondary play, inconsistent, inferiority complex
    Bengals = Poor pass protection, slower WRs, LB/S poor in coverage

    They all have burdens they are carrying. If the Pats youngsters can be reasonably productive and the OL stays healthy, there is no reason why they shouldn't be contending for the Super Bowl. The Bolts seem to be well positioned for success considering their team talent and schedule.

    For the new guys, they all have one or two areas that can be picked on by a top QB or solid defensive scheme. The Ravens will be fine if the rest of defense can cover up the secondary. The Jets success is completely dependent on Sanchez. The Texans could be the closest to a breakout if their young CBs grow up quick. Most of their problems are mental and a little success could get them rolling in the right direction.

    The Bolts win the division by default but the others will be more difficult. The Ravens should be able to hold off the Steelers. I think the Texans fate is determined in week 1. Lose and the Colts own them again. Punch the Colts in the mouth and the season looks a lot different. Brady should have enough to hold off the Jets and Fins until the defense rounds into form.

    So I see the newbies making it interesting but the AFC playoffs will likely have a familiar feel to it once again.
  4. stinkypete

    stinkypete Rookie

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    #24 Jersey

    Actually, the Pats, Colts and Steelers are 3 of my top 4 teams in the AFC right now, with Baltimore the other.

    Baltimore is the only team that I think is complete enough to compete with the old guard, and that's assuming that Joe Flacco takes the next step as a QB, and who knows if that happens or not.
  5. Nikolai

    Nikolai Football Atheist PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #54 Jersey

    I like the Pats, Colts, and Steelers this year. I know Ben is out, but I think Dixon will create a minor QB controversy over there.

    The Ravens and Chargers will be in the mix. Toss in the Texans for good measure because I think they might finally have the pieces together.

    Jets, Phins, and Bengals are all bubble teams somewhere in the 7-9 to 9-7 range.
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2010
  6. Box_O_Rocks

    Box_O_Rocks PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    This is Oakland's year ... to go 8-8.
  7. Pat the Pats Fan

    Pat the Pats Fan Rookie

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    Ravens secondary is very questionable. Their LBs are getting long in the tooth with Johnson and Ray Ray riding on "E". I think we will see a new Ravens team this year, that will try to win on offense. They have tried to load up with passing weapons. Will Falco have big enough shoulders to carry the team?
  8. BradyMossWelker

    BradyMossWelker Rookie

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    Actually I'd put the Ravens in the old guard too. They've been very good for some years, just because of the defense, and now they have an offense, that's why everyone is going crazy about them. The problem is that their defense, now is weaker than before.
  9. BradyManny

    BradyManny Rookie

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    I may be underestimating the Steelers - heck, Peter King has them to win it all... - but I don't see them in the mix at the end of the year.

    Colts & Pats - I wouldn't count them out. Chargers, Ravens - they may be knocking on the door, but certainly they still have to go through Indy. And if our offense is as good as I believe it will be, we'll be a contender.
  10. sbpatfan

    sbpatfan Banned

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    Honestly, I'll be surprised if the Steelers make the playoffs.
  11. Rob0729

    Rob0729 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I don't think any team in the AFC are head and shoulders above anyone. I think every potential contender have some significant questions:

    - I know people think the Colts are as powerful as ever and could be more talented than last year, but I have questions about their o-line and whether they can run the ball or stop the run.
    - I don't get the the love for the Steelers. Their defense was nothing special last year without Polumalu and they are really, really old. Funny, how the Pats LBs got the old label from 2005 until they broke up three and four years later. Yet, most of the Steelers' defensive starters are on the wrong side of 30 with seven starters 30 or over (Aaron Smith is 34, James Farrior is 35, Casey Hampton is 33, Brad Kiesel will be 32 next week, Ryan Clark will be 32 next month, James Harrison is 32, and Ike Taylor is 30) and everyone assumes that age won't catch up to them. Roethlisburger will miss four week. The loss of Santonio Holmes could be a bigger loss for them than a gain for the Jets.
    - The Chargers had defensive problems last year. It looks more and more likely that neither Vincent Jackson nor Marcus McNeil will be playing for them. Considering they were winning last year because of their passing, the guy protecting Rivers' blindside and his favorite receiver gone could be huge.
    - Ravens have some big questions on the secondary, but the front seven could cover for that.
    - The Jets have a huge potential liability with Sanchez and their o-line (no one stepped up to take the LG spot and Woody has looked overweight and slow) in a QB driven league. May have tinkered too much with their running game.
    - We all know the Pats' questions. They have a young and untested defense.
    - The Dolphins have the same questions without the high powered offense the Pats have.
    - The Texans have questions in their secondary and running game with Matt Schaub not being the most durable QB in the league.
    - The Bengals have a porous o-line and Palmer has not be a great QB in a while. The TO factor is always a concern.

    I wouldn't be shocked if any of those teams fell way short of the team's expectations.
  12. AndyJohnson

    AndyJohnson PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Is it possible the power is shifting from the AFC to the NFC? It wasnt that long ago that you might find 1 NFC team as good as the top 4-5 in the AFC.
    That may be changing.
  13. reflexblue

    reflexblue PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #91 Jersey

    I don't see the Steelers keeping up in the old guard this year. While conversley i see Baltimore and Cinny stepping up.
  14. ALP

    ALP Rookie

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    i wouldnt say that...

    the only team in the NFC i like is the saints, the vikes passing this year will be worse (as the will the D), the boys are like the chargers of the NFC, so much potential and talent just not enough discipline, ARI now has no qb
  15. AndyJohnson

    AndyJohnson PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I see Cincy back to their normal 6-10 stomping grounds.
    Pittsburgh is perlexing. They usually tend to do well when expectations are down, but from here the talent and age of that team looks more like one whose melt down last year was a sign of things to come than a blip.
  16. reflexblue

    reflexblue PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #91 Jersey

    While i see Palmer and Marvin Lewis as weak links, Cinny does have a lot of talent on both sides of the ball. I think the Steelrs COULD make a run in the second half of the season.
    And i think think Indy losing both Mudd and t Moore are going to be big. If i remember correctly these guys tried to retire last year only to come back because the colts suffered with them gone.
  17. Rob0729

    Rob0729 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    It's too soon to tell, but I don't see anyone in the NFC without questions themselves. I think the time of completely dominant teams just may be gone for a while. Five years ago there were two or three teams that were clearly the class of the NFL with the other 29 or 30 teams clearly being significantly behind them. I don't see that in today's NFL.
  18. Nikolai

    Nikolai Football Atheist PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #54 Jersey

    The Saints, Packers, then everyone else in the NFC.

    The Cowboys, Vikings are second tier, and then who?

    It's possible that the Saints are better than anyone in the AFC, and the Packers might be better than most, but I don't see the seismic shift yet. Of course, I think the Giants may finally sneak up on people again. That D-line looks pretty amazing, and if they can cover for the weakness in the secondary enough, that offense will probably put up enough points to put them in the conversation. Then again, they always start strong.
  19. AndyJohnson

    AndyJohnson PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Yeah, I just dont see the talent. The receivers are average, the OL questionable. I'm not a big Benson fan. They have a couple of good young corners and LBs, but overall, I think last year was an aberation. They were 6-0 in the division and 4-6 outside it without a real tough schedule. I dont see them going 6-0 in the division again, or anything like it.
    6-10 teams have a lot of talent too, just not enough, not in the right places, or not meshing.
    But I agree that your opinion is more widely held than mine.
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2010
  20. Box_O_Rocks

    Box_O_Rocks PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    The Steelers are looking like a rebuilding team this season, much of it to do with Toothless' rape repercussions upsetting their plans. Kraft patterned his organization after theirs because of their consistent success in an otherwise small market. Tomlin fits the Cowher profile, where Pit was relying on Toothless is his ability to absorb punishment in the pocket and still make plays - it meant they could try and rebuild other areas and keep the O-line mostly intact. Dixon's mobility is going to have to stand him in good stead to start the season. I don't see Pit staying down long, if only because Cincinnati's idea of consistency is the polar opposite to Pittsburgh's, Baltimore is starting to transition their defense (it will be interesting to see how long they hold onto the old guard on D while trying to let the youth movement on O carry them), and Cleveland ... may be starting over with another new coach if Walrus and Mangini clash.

    Oakland is the one AFC team who is suddenly looking like breaking out of their rut again, though Al Davis apparently is still redirecting some of the corrective efforts into track stars. Denver is still learning how to crawl, KC is trying to get Cassell killed, and San Diego has Norv - thank you A.J.!

    Jacksonville and Houston are sticking to the same formulas which made them tease, Tennessee is rebounding, again, so it's still Indy's by default and despite the apparent troubles in Hoosierville, they still have Polian pulling strings to keep his also ran streak alive.
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