BOSTON (CBS) — With the NFL regular season is just around the corner, Toucher & Rich took an in-depth look at the four divisions in the AFC on Friday.
With Albert Breer of NFL Network in studio, they break down if anyone can dethrone the Patriots as AFC Champs. Breer sees the Ravens and Patriots as the top two teams in the conference, but making it to the postseason won’t be easy in any division.
– The Patriots remain Breer’s pick to win the division, even with the unknown surrounding Tom Brady for the first four games and plenty of questions in the secondary. Even if New England gest off to another rough start, he still sees them winning 11-13 games.
– Miami’s Ryan Tannehill is making a ton of money now, but the converted wide receiver is still raw at quarterback. But the Dolphins are giving him time and building the offense around him, making it a good situation for him to grow. Breer says the franchise feels they have the best chemistry the organization has seen in the last five years.
While they don’t have the best defense in the division, the addition of Ndamukong Suh makes them a good solid team and they could sneak into the playoffs.
– The Bills look great on offense except where it counts most: Quarterback. Breer thinks Tyrod Taylor is Rex Ryan’s choice under center, and may have the line of thinking that they don’t need a great quarterback to win.
– The worse the quarterback situation, the better the defense in the division. That’s pretty much all you have to say about the New York Jets.
– This could be the toughest division in football, with the Ravens, Steelers, Bengals and Browns all looking like potential playoff teams.
– Breer thinks Baltimore is in a position to be the best team in the AFC and is the team best suited to dethrone the Patriots as AFC Champs. But they still may not get a bye in the playoffs due to the strength of the division.
– The Bengals will be competitive and likely win 9-11 games, but Breer still doesn’t trust them in the playoffs.
– Pittsburgh could have the best offense in the league, but the development of their young defense will be the difference between making the playoffs and earning a trip to the Super Bowl.
– With Bill O’Brien now in charge the Houston Texans could surpass the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC South, but there are a lot of “Ifs” around the team on both sides of the ball. Breers notes they’ve built their defense to attack Andrew Luck much like the Patriots’ blueprint of success against Indy.
– The Colts are stacked with great receiving weapons for Luck, but aren’t looking as strong on the defensive side of the ball. They still have a chance to claim the No. 1 seed in the AFC with four potential easy wins over the Titans and Jaguars.
– With Gary Kubiak now at the helm in Denver, Peyton Manning will be in an offense that isn’t entirely built around him for the first time since his early years in Indianapolis. It’s a new environment for him, and Breer doesn’t think Manning is 100 percent comfortable with the situation.
Though there are questions on the defense, they should be a solid unit and could win some games for Denver even if Manning isn’t on top of his game.
– The Chiefs should get better with a strong defense, but their success will depend on their offensive line.
– Breer said there is a chance all four teams in the division could end up 8-8 — even the Oakland Raiders.
Will anyone dethrone the Patriots in the AFC? Let us know what you think in the comments section!