After going through all eight divisions and all 32 teams in the NFL, it’s time to release my picks for each division winner in the AFC. I faded several favorites in the NFC, but will the top heavy AFC force me to pick heavy favorites?
AFC East – New England Patriots (-275)
Even though their chalk is pretty big this summer, the Patriots are by far the best team in the AFC East this season. None of the other three teams have the same combination of offensive depth and defensive upside. The Pats spent the entire summer beefing up their secondary, and with beating the Broncos in mind, the Patriots might even have a shot at the number one seed this season in the AFC playoffs. They play in a much weaker division than the Broncos do, and even though both teams have tough intra-divisional games this season, it looks as if the Patriots might have a shot at making Peyton Manning travel for the AFC Title game.
AFC North – Pittsburgh Steelers (+200)
The Steelers are the only non-outright favorite I’m picking to win their division, and even though they are tied with the Bengals at +200 according to Bovada Sportsbook, the Steelers are going to be the better team this season. The Bengals won the very much down AFC North last season, but after losing several key coaches and players, the Steelers might be able to break things back open in the North. Their offense is a lot deeper than some think, and if their defense shows back up this season, the Steelers might win 10 or 11 games this year on their way to a divisional crown.
AFC South – Indianapolis Colts (-160)
The Colts play in the worst division in all of football, so it shouldn’t be too tough for them to win this division this season, I’m not buying into the bounce back hype surrounding the Texans this season at +300 fro Bovada, and even if it’s close, the Colts should take the division. Their offense is three times as powerful as any team in their division, and even though their defense may still be a cause for concern, I think their running game issues are going to be solved this season. Even after Vick Ballard went down with an injury, Trent Richardson and Ahmad Bradshaw should be able to hold things down n 2014.
AFC West – Denver Broncos (-300)
There should be no surprise here, as it would take several key injuries to keep the Broncos from winning this division. I doubt the Chiefs are going to give the Broncos as much trouble as they did a year ago, and even if they do, it looks as if Denver is even better than they were a season ago! As long as young, Montee Ball can become the workhorse tailback that everyone in Denver is projecting him to be, this team has almost unlimited upside. Manning will have to stay healthy and upright all season, but other than that concern in the back of everyone’s minds, this team should win at least 12 games this season.