With the NFL season rapidly approaching, Grizzly Detail presents our predictions for what will happen when the Super Bowl champion is crowned in California this February.
To get things started, we’re taking a look at the AFC playoff picture, with our six picks to make the postseason out of the conference.
1. New England Patriots
We’re picking the Patriots to not only win the AFC East title, but also to grab home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. There are some questions about the team’s defense, but with Tom Brady at the helm for all 16 games and weapons like Julian Edelman and Rob Gronkowski at his disposal, the Patriots should be poised to make another deep playoff run.
2. Baltimore Ravens
We like the Ravens for plenty of reasons, and one of the main ones is their great balance between offense and defense. Joe Flacco is a solid quarterback with plenty of weapons to throw to, and Steve Smith will be looking to make his last NFL season a big one. Defensively this team is stout as well, and they’re one of the most complete teams in the entire league.
3. Indianapolis Colts
We have some big questions about this team’s offensive line and their entire defense, but their offense could be explosive. Adding Frank Gore should take at least a bit of pressure off of Andrew Luck, but he won’t need it with the insane array of receivers he has to throw to. T.Y. Hilton is going to be a serious contender to catch the most passes in the NFL this season, and adding Andre Johnson to the mix is only going to help the Colts score at will this season.
4. Denver Broncos
We had to pick an AFC West champion, and the Broncos are the team with the best shot. Questions about Peyton Manning’s health are serious concerns, and their receiving corps took some hits in losing Wes Welker and Julius Thomas. Their running game should be a strong asset under Gary Kubiak however, and they should have enough in the tank to overcome the Chiefs and Chargers.
5. Pittsburgh Steelers
The divisional rivalry we’re most looking forward to this year is the one between Pittsburgh and Baltimore, and although we gave the Ravens the upper hand overall, the Steelers are a force to be reckoned with. Their offense could rival the Colts’ as the NFL’s most explosive, and their defense should be solid enough to earn them the top wild card spot in the AFC.
6. Buffalo Bills
Their quarterback situation is hardly ideal, but this team has upgraded in just about every other area, and Rex Ryan could lead them back to the postseason this year. The LeSean McCoy acquisition was a smart one for the team as they look to add balance and speed to their offense, and with their ferocious front four on defense, they will be a huge pain in the rear end for opponents all season long.