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Let's face it - The AFC is a 3-team race

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by PATRIOTSFANINPA, Aug 8, 2007.

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  1. PATRIOTSFANINPA

    PATRIOTSFANINPA Rookie

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    San Diego, Denver and New England are the 3 teams that I think are a virtual lock to be the AFC representative in the Super Bowl this year.

    I don't care about that crap statement that you must beat the man to be the man because in Indy's case they have simply lost way too many guys in critical areas of defense and their best offensive lineman to be a dangerous SB challenger this year - Indy is not New England and can't just replace anyone with success, the colts have lived off of getting top players in the draft and not losing much of their team. This year is different,thus comes the Super Bowl curse of having the nucleus of your team breaking up after a championship. They still have Manning, Harrison and Sanders but it won't be enough for me to put them in the top tier.

    Jacksonville has their big chance to overtake Indy in the south and their defense may be the best in the league when all is said and done so they will be a team to worry about although the QB issue may be their downfall and keep them out of my elite ranking

    Baltimore has a great defense but quarterback issues.

    Cincinnati has a great offense but their defensive secondary is questionable.

    Jets are a one year wonder.

    Pittsburgh needs to adjust to a new coach after all the years of Cowher and may take a year or two to be back to prominence,this is a team not as talented as SD and needs time,also adjustment to what I think will be less smash mouth and more of a passing team as Roethlisberger wants it to be.

    Everybody else is an also-ran unless we see a miracle cinderella season from one of these bottom tier teams, not likely

    I think San Diego is so damn talent laden that it will easily overcome the coaching changes and a below average coach in Turner - Guys like Tomlinson and Merriman can make an average coach look great so don't think they are done or are in transition, they are a VERY dangerous team.

    Denver has Shanahan and a potential Elway clone although an unproven Cutler and a heck of a secondary which will dominate most teams so they are a dangerous team too, Javon Walker will have a MONSTER season IMO.

    So overall here is how I see the AFC....

    ELITE TEAMS TO BE AFC RESPRESENTATIVE IN SUPER BOWL...
    New England,San Diego and Denver

    TEAMS ON THE BUBBLE JUST OUTSIDE OF ELITE
    Indianapolis,Jacksonville

    TEAMS IN CONTENTION BUT NOT QUITE A DANGEROUS TEAM
    Baltimore,Pittsburgh,Cincinnati,Jets

    TEAMS TO WAIT UNTIL NEXT YEAR OR LONGER
    Miami,Cleveland,Houston,Tennessee,Buffalo,Kansas City,Oakland
  2. PatsWickedPissah

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    Re: Let's face it - The AFC is a 3 team race

    Neglecting a diminished Indy is utter folly. The playoffs are only a few games. Anything can happen, players get hurt, sick with the flu, key bad calls, hot streak, matchups that subtly favor a team, whatever. If you'd modify LOCK to 'highest probability' I'd be more comfortable.
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2007
  3. patsox23

    patsox23 Rookie

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    Re: Let's face it - The AFC is a 3 team race

    Couldn't agree more. Indy is a great team.
  4. Pujo

    Pujo Rookie

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    Re: Let's face it - The AFC is a 3 team race

    How can 3 teams be a virtual lock?

    And I wouldn't count Indy out, as long as Peyton is their QB they're in the hunt.
  5. PatsFan37

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    Re: Let's face it - The AFC is a 3 team race

    As long as the Patriots have Brady and Belichick, they'll be contenders.

    As long as the Colts have Manning and Harrison and Wayne and Freeney, they'll be contenders.

    As long as Denver has Shanahan and Cutler, they'll be, oops, Cutler, did I say Cutler? For a moment, there, I thought I said Elway.

    Let's give the fellow a few snaps before we dole out the anointing oil.
  6. PATRIOTSFANINPA

    PATRIOTSFANINPA Rookie

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    Re: Let's face it - The AFC is a 3 team race

    I just can't remember when a team who just won the Super Bowl lost 2 key members of their secondary and a guy that held oncoming rushers of the QBs back for so many years, NE may have done it,other teams not so lucky.

    True Indy is still talented but I simply don't think that Defense will be any better than it was last year, probably worse and a miracle turnaround in the playoffs AGAIN does not seem realistic to me.

    The defense consists of Freeney, Sanders and then just a bunch of average guys IMO.

    The only way I see Indy going far into the playoffs is they are going to have to put up an average of 30 points per game ALL year because I don't see their defense stopping teams too much...and that is with an offense with a 35 year old Harrison and hoping Gonzalez replaces Stokely adequately - Won't be easy.
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2007
  7. TeamPats

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    Re: Let's face it - The AFC is a 3 team race

    I wouldn't rule out the Steelers either or Cinci completely, or hell anyone. The Patriots live and breath by an any given sunday approach...the fans should be no different.
  8. Oswlek

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    Re: Let's face it - The AFC is a 3 team race

    I have to agree that the Colts will be a factor. I am one of the most vocal members here that they benefitted from a substantial amount of luck last year and I don't think they will make it to the SB, but they are still a good team.
  9. PATRIOTSFANINPA

    PATRIOTSFANINPA Rookie

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    Re: Let's face it - The AFC is a 3 team race

    I never said ANYWHERE the Colts are a bad team,I said they are just below an Elite team this year,Thats how I see it.

    The Colts are a very good team and about the 4h or 5th best AFC team,Just not Elite IMO
  10. ClevTrev

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    Re: Let's face it - The AFC is a 3 team race

    Amen. The Colts haven't gone away. Yeah, they've had some roster changes, but now must show they belong, just as the Patriots have in the past, with their play this season. They are still dangerous and a contender at the highest level.

    Agree with the Denver assessment, and while San Diego is loaded with talent, the coaching changes will have some influence in the first half of the season. Let's see how well Turner can coach adversity. He's definitely a "player's coach," and that may be exactly what the team doesn't need in light of all the changes. We shall see...
  11. BelichickFan

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    Re: Let's face it - The AFC is a 3 team race

    Wow, with all due respect this is REALLY REALLY stupid. Teams come from out of nowhere all the time.
  12. ClevTrev

    ClevTrev Rookie

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    Re: Let's face it - The AFC is a 3 team race

    And that's what makes each NFL season so interesting. The real question coming out of your post is who will be the surprise contender this season.
  13. PATRIOTSFANINPA

    PATRIOTSFANINPA Rookie

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    Re: Let's face it - The AFC is a 3 team race

    There is always a cinderella team that everyone says WOW like the Jets last year,But looking BEFORE the season starts I see no true cinderella team at this point in August,thus I think its the same old teams contending,I may be wrong.

    The NFC is a different story,not only do they not have any teams a certainty of winning anything but they are full of Cinderella possibilities.
  14. BelichickFan

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    Re: Let's face it - The AFC is a 3 team race

    Pittsburgh, Cincy, Jacksonville all have plenty of talent to make a leap. I don't think The Jest is but maybe I'm too close to that situation - same with KC and Herm.

    Two extreme longshots are Houston and Tenessee. Although Tenessee had a real nice run at the end of last year I include them because we, as Patriots fans, would be well advised to remember what difference a new QB can make.
  15. godef

    godef Rookie

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    Re: Let's face it - The AFC is a 3 team race

    I don't know, Pittsburgh looked pretty good in the HOF game; granted, it's early, but Pitt is a top organization, it's just not been Cowher.

    On the other hand, SD *also* has to adjust to a new coach after several years of Martyball. So you may see Pittsburgh replace SD.
  16. PATRIOTSFANINPA

    PATRIOTSFANINPA Rookie

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    Re: Let's face it - The AFC is a 3 team race

    Vince young is only is his second year but we will see if he can put the team on his shoulder when it comes to must win situations..In his rookie season he could not get the job done when playing the Patriots in that must win game for them,Hopefully for his sake its a learning experience and not the norm to which many must win situations will happen for him in the next decade.
  17. ClevTrev

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    Re: Let's face it - The AFC is a 3 team race

    Agree that KC is toast. They'll be coached into NFL oblivion, just as the Jests were when Herm was there. Just watching the KC training camp last year on NFL network, I gotta think Herm has the type of personality where the players tune him out after a season. He's too much mouth and not enough substance.

    Tennessee has an opportunity to move up; yet, I'm not sure how they'll fill some holes left by that great humanitarian Pacman. However, the QB is the real deal. Houston would be a definite surprise contender, but we'll see how good Schaub really is as a starter this season. Their O-Line is still weak.
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2007
  18. patchick

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    Re: Let's face it - The AFC is a 3 team race

    While I don't agree with the overall premise, I do think you're right to spotlight Denver. That team looks to me like the sleeping giant this year.

    Mildly OT, but the other day I was thinking about the BB's struggles vs. Shanahan and this ridiculous analogy came to mind:

    My husband and I used to sometimes play odds & evens to decide who would do a chore -- until he noticed that I beat him way, way too often. I could predict his choices with uncanny accuracy. Then one day, suddenly, it shifted. It was back to pure chance, 50-50. Drat, how did he defeat my mindreading prowess? :) It turns out that he randomized. He thought of some long word and then went letter by letter, choosing based on whether the letters were odd or even in the alphabet. In other words, he stopped deciding so I was no longer able to anticipate his decisions.

    Anyway, that's now the way I picture BB feeling vs. a Shanahan. A fellow gameplanner can "randomize" enough to neutralize your strategic mindreading advantage.
  19. MrTibbs

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    Re: Let's face it - The AFC is a 3 team race

    I think the AFC has a lot of good playoff potential teams to offer other then the Patriots, Chargers, Broncos and Colts:

    You can't forget teams like the Ravens, Bengals, Jaguars, Steelers and Titans for that matter. The AFC will be tight all the way to week 17, NO TEAM is running away with anything. I think the Jets don't do any better then .500. No cupcake schedule this year and opposing teams know what to expect.
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2007
  20. Grizzafted

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    Re: Let's face it - The AFC is a 3 team race

    I look at it like this:

    In January 2005, there were four division-winning teams battling it out for the super bowl: The 15-1 Pittsburgh Steelers, the 14-2 New England Patriots, the 13-3 Indianapolis Colts, and the 12-4 San Diego Chargers.

    Way I see it nothing's changed. I don't believe in Denver. One of those four teams will hold the trophy at the end of the year. If I had to guess, in order of likelihood:

    1. NE
    2. SD
    3. Ind
    4. Pit
  21. BelichickFan

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    Re: Let's face it - The AFC is a 3 team race

    They would be a surprise. But the Patriots were 5-13 in the last 18 games started by Bledsoe . . . Tommy moves in and we start wining immediately. 14-3 (including playoffs) by just changing one player. I don't expect Houston to be .500 but . . .
  22. Gopats!!!

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    Re: Let's face it - The AFC is a 3 team race

    This is how I see it.


    Elite Teams
    Patriots, colts, chargers, denver

    Bubble
    ravens, steelers, jetssuck

    Further out
    Bengals, Jax

    Of course, we'll find out soon enough;)
  23. workhorse

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    Re: Let's face it - The AFC is a 3 team race

    From an outsider perspective it may look like the Colts lost a lot during the off season. While they have had a couple key players effected, they Colts lose several players every year, it's just this season they are in the spotlight as defending champs. Believe me they lose player every year, Polian drafts a year or two ahead because of this. The core of the Colts is still there minus Glenn. Glenn and Booger are the spots that will hurt.

    I'm not sure if you noticed that the change over in the DBs just helped the Colts secondary get taller. The corners went from 5'8" and 5'10" to two 6 footers, both of whom are high picks (1st and 2nd rounders from 2005) andhave may big plays in big games.

    They Colts have change in the LBers nearly every season. While June's stats last season look good on paper, he was not the player he was during his Pro Bowl season. Keiaho was drafted for the annual linebacker exodus and now it's up to him to step up. This is a key spot in Dungy's defensive scheme, but the guy haas shown flashes when given a chance. Not to mention that player Morris in the strongside backer spot turned out to be a nice switch.

    To say Colts WRs are an issue is almost laughable. Marvin is 35...and? Have you seen his numbers from last year? The loss of Stokley is not really a dip from last season's team since he only had 8 catches. Adding Gonzalez to the mix can only make that group better. Not to mention that Clark can go back to lining up at TE instead of the slot receiver.

    Running back is an area of change, but most are pretty confident with Addai being the man this year. Who will be the change of pace/breather back will be seen, but management likes the group of guys they have in camp even thought they don't share a lot of NFL carries.

    While there has been a change in the group from last season several of those players like Simon, Doss, Stokley ect either didn't contribute much or at all due to injuries. There are three key spots going into the preseason. The LT spot, DT, and if Keiaho can step up as a full time starter. The Colts have some pieces to address the LT, none of them are Glenn. The defensive tackle spot will be one to watch to see how it is addressed.

    So when you really look at it, the Colts have had 2 or 3 major changes, but the same can be said with most teams. So until it's shown on the field that the Colts are not the team that they have been for the past handful of years, then I think it's too early to count them out.
  24. workhorse

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    Re: Let's face it - The AFC is a 3 team race

    Houston has 3 problems the way I see it. First, they have serious O-line issues. Second, they can not figure out their RB situation. I doubt that Green will find his running game fro a couple years ago. Third, they are not in a division where they can beat up on a couple teams. I think it's fair to say that everyone in the division is better than them, but stranger thing have happened.
  25. rbkgoalr

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    Re: Let's face it - The AFC is a 3 team race

    As much as I hate the Colts, he is right. No matter what we think, the colts are going to be in the hunt.
  26. BelichickFan

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    Re: Let's face it - The AFC is a 3 team race

    I'm no fan of Houston but, again, I remember 2001. And let's face it, one bad injury to His Highness and that division is up for grabs.
  27. JDSal45

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    Re: Let's face it - The AFC is a 3 team race

    You really can't say anything like this for sure. Every year there are surprises. In 2005, San Diego didn't even make the playoffs. Now they're a "lock" as a contender due to one good year?

    It just doesn't work like that. A year ago this same post would have said....lets face it Pittsburgh, New England and Indy are the only three real contenders....or Pittsburgh, New England and Denver. Whatever. And what happeneed to some of those teams?

    This year will be the same. A surprise team will have a great year and then next year, someone will be saying they are a "lock" to be a contender again.

    I'm not saying San Diego isn't a good team or won't be a contender. I'm simply saying we don't know. And I'll say I'd be willing to bet one of those three teams you name won't live up to expectations. Lets hope it isn't the Pats.

    J D Sal
  28. Pats726

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    Re: Let's face it - The AFC is a 3 team race

    I would say Indy, SD, NE...Denver has to play in the West...my thinking is SD will rule and the Broncs will be behind. I agree that there are a number of teams close...but I just can not put Cutler's orange with the elite. But all that being said, there will be other teams closing in and possibly getting a wild card or better. For NE, they HAVE to get a bye, meaning having a better record than Indy or SD. Will NOT be easy. Even if the Colts fall some..they really need to have the best record so teams are coming here in Jan...I feel a lot better with that happening than traveling west like the team did.

    Just folly NOT to have INdy in the top mix...at least on paper at this point.

    The Jets had all the luck going last year, so they are due to fall back some. Jax might be tough and their winning the division is ot out of the question. Pitts, Cinci and Balt will eat up each other. Which is why a Denver/Jax wildcard is VERY possible.
  29. Rob0729

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    Re: Let's face it - The AFC is a 3 team race

    I'm sorry, but this is the NFL. To narrow the field to only three teams at this point is crazy. This is the league where a team like New Orleans can go from the second worst team in the league to the NFC Championships in one year. In 2001, few gave us a shot to compete for the second or third place in the AFC, nevermind the Super Bowl. In fact, there was an article on Profootball Weekly saying we had the worst shot at the Super Bowl than any other team in the league that year.

    Right now, in my mind there are four front runners - New England, San Deigo, Denver, and Indy. I would say Indy has the worst shot because all their losses and to expect their defense to come together at the right time as it did last year again is a little too much to ask.

    But that doesn't mean that there won't be a team on the next teir that doesn't make that next step this season or a team comes out of nowhere like the Pats did in 2001. That is what makes the NFL great. Any team has at least a glimmer of hope of being a Super Bowl team. Unlike MLB where there are teams that are out of playoff contention in spring training (Tampa Bay).
  30. AzPatsFan

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    Re: Let's face it - The AFC is a 3 team race

    I try to take off the rose colored glasses occasionally and view the contenders dispassionately.

    I see a Colts team that is in the middle of a train wreck. You don't lose Glenn, Stockley, Rhodes, and Simon. McFarland, Reagor, June, David, Doss, Nathan before the first kickoff and not be diminished. There is now no depth anywhere. And some holes that are being handed to rookies.

    Sorgi, DeDe Dorsey, rookie Ugoh, Johnson, rookie Gonzalez, Keiaho, Klecko, Pit****, Boiman, rookie Sessions, Jennings and Giordano, are the first call reserves.

    I'll grant that Giordano and even Jennings have some experience. And that Ugoh and Gonzalez might come through as rookies; but it is unusual at he positions they play LT and Safety, where a year or two of experience is
    required.

    What happens if any fail? What happens when the inevitable Injuries start to happen?

    San Diego is granted the title of "best talent".

    Pooh and Drivel !

    The lost talented team doesn't have four glaring hole in its starting 22. They have new starters at WR1, perhaps WR2, and ILB1 and ILB2. Vince Jackson a deep threat; might fill one of the two starting complete wide receiver roles, but he is a big deep fly receiver much more like diminutive Davis Patten in that deep pass catching talent than a starting guy like a Branch or even a Givens.

    OTOH, I truly fear what Shanahan is building in Colorado. It isn't deep anywhere, but talent even if immature abounds, except on the Defensive line, but high rookies were chosen there and DE is a position where a rookie can excel.
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