The AFC should be a very entertaining conference this season. The Patriots will be in the discussion as always, but some newer faces will be around after that. The AFC North is hands down the best division in the NFL. The Steelers in that division are getting older, and the Bengals are emerging with some great young talent. The Ravens of course will be good as always, and I actually think they will win the division. The AFC West will also be a very interesting division as well with Peyton Manning making his return as a Denver Bronco. It should be a great season and I'm going to kick it of with the West.
1. Denver Broncos- Peyton Manning makes his debut in Denver, and expect it to be business as usual. Manning has a pair of very good receivers in Eric Decker and Demaryius Thomas. The question mark will be Willis McGahee who is not getting any younger according to RB years. I look for the Broncos to work Ronnie Hillman in as a nice spell for McGahee. I also love Hillman as a deep sleeper in Fantasy. The defense finished 2011 looking great as they helped the Broncos to the 2nd round of the playoffs. I expect more of the same in 2012 with a much better offense.
2012 Projection-( 10-6)
2. San Diego Chargers- The Chargers lost Mike Tolbert to Carolina this offeason, which makes it the Ryan Matthews show out west. The only question will be if the injury ridden RB can play even half of the season. I am not going to bank on it. The receiving core is also short Vincent Jackson who plays in Tampa. The Bolts did add Robert Meacham, but I still expect a drop in production. The defense is not as good as years past either, and I think they will have difficulty stopping anyone. The offenses in this division should all be pretty good.
2012 Projection- (9-7)
3. Oakland Raiders- Carson Palmer would have thrown for over 4400 yards in 2011, had he played the entire season. He seems to have found an emerging target in Darrius Heyward Bey. He will also have a healthy Darren McFadden playing in a contract year. If Run Dmc can stay healthy it should be a huge year. The Raiders are still exploitable on defense, just like the rest of the division. The best defenses in the West are actually Denver and Kansas City. The Chiefs just don't have enough offense to get out of the cellar.
2012 Projection- (8-8)
4. Kansas City Chiefs- The Chiefs will be competitive in the West , but I'm always sketchy on the teams offense. Jamal Charles returns from a brutal knee injury, and Peyton Hillis is a injury waiting to happen. Matt Cassel also returns after breaking his hand in weak 10 of 2011. I look for Cassel to keep it short most of the season, and rely on his running game to get him through. The defense is pretty solid especially in the secondary. They have a defense that will keep them close. They just really need the offense to step up.
2012 Projection- (6-10)
Back Tomorrow With My AFC North Preview
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