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2009 NFL Season Predictions – The AFC

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These are my predictions for the AFC standings this year.  I have less to say analysis wise about this conference so I will simply explain the reasoning for my division winners.

AFC East

1. New England Patriots
2. Miami Dolphins
3. New York Jets
4. Buffalo Bills

Last season the Patriots managed an 11-5 record and Tom Brady only played for part of one game. This year Brady is back and the offense instantly goes from great to one of the Top 3 in the league.  The Patriots picked up Shawn Springs and Leigh Bodden at cornerback and improved their passing defense.  The Patriots play a tough schedule but with Head Coach Bill Belichick, Brady at QB, and a solid defense the Pats will be competing for home field advantage in the playoffs.

 AFC South

1. Tennessee Titans
2. Indianapolis Colts
3. Houston Texans
4. Jacksonville Jaguars

The Tennessee Titans went 13-3 last year.  Most of their starters return this year and they are playing an average schedule.  Their big loss was on defense as star defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth left to go to the Redskins.  They still have Javon Kearse and Kyle Vanden Bosch to bring the pressure up front. The defense may not be quite as fearsome as it was but it will still be great. Kerry Collins is a veteran quarterback who can easily manage a team with a great defense and a strong running game to wins.

 AFC North

1. Pittsburgh Steelers
2. Baltimore Ravens

3. Cleveland Browns
4. Cincinnati Bengals

The Super Bowl champion Steelers return nearly all of their starters.  They have one of the best defenses in the NFL.  With Rashard Mendenhall returning from injury the running game gets better and more varied.  Ben Roethlisberger is no Peyton Manning, but he knows how to get the job done.  The Steelers could be even better than they were last year.

 AFC West

1. Denver Broncos
2.  San Diego Chargers
3. Kansas City Chiefs
4. Oakland Raiders

This  division is the toughest to predict because none of the teams are really that much better than the others.  I think the Broncos are going to be able to take it however.  New head coach Josh McDaniels and new quarterback Kyle Orton will exceed expectations.  Solid defenders Brian Dawkins, Andra Davis, Renaldo Hill, and Andre' Goodman were brought in to reinvigorate the defense.  

Playoff Seeds

1. Pittsburgh Steelers
2. New England Patriots
3.  Tennessee Titans
4. Denver Broncos
5. Indianapolis Colts
6.  Baltimore Ravens

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About Mark Kalriess