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AFC eye test predictions: 4-1

It’s week 3 of the preseason. Will Mike Glennon continue his poor play and hand the job off to Mitchy Touchdowns? Is “The Scott Rocket” Tolzien ready to go incase Andrew Luck is unable to start the season? Is it time to sit Blake Bortles and pour the (Chad) Henne? Will Brock Osweiler make a statement and become the obvious choice for the Browns?

Does any of this even matter since all of these teams are trash? To be honest, not really. So wrapping up our AFC eye test predictions, we have the four best teams from the conference.

4. Tennessee Titans

The week 1 quarterbacks in the AFC South will most likely be Marcus Mariota, Scott Tolzien, Blake Bortles and Tom Savage. Do any of these guys seem like a threat to the Titans? Absolutely not.

The Jaguars can’t move the chains, the Texans are only good on one side of the ball, and the Colts are so terrible that even when Luck returns, they still won’t have enough pieces to consistently win games.

AFC eye test predictions: 4-1
Mariota continues to impress. (titans online.com)

Let’s start with the leader behind center, Marcus Mariota. An absolute workhorse, Mariota has gained all of his teammates’ respect, on and off the field. The humble 23-year-old is coming off a sophomore campaign that included 28 total touchdowns, and only nine interceptions. This kid is good, and all has the physical talent in the world.

The Titans love to run the ball, and who wouldn’t if you had DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry in your backfield? Last year, Murray ran for over 1,200 yards, and Henry averaged 4.5 yards per carry. A lethal backfield, expect more big numbers from these two, especially with Taylor Lewan and Jack Conklin headlining one of the best offensive lines.

Tennessee ran heavily last year, mostly because of the lack of targets in the passing game. This year will be much different. The Titans drafted Western Michigan’s Corey Davis with the fifth pick in this year’s draft. Davis has drawn a lot of comparisons to Terrell Owens. They also brought in Eric Decker, who arguably has the most beautiful wife in the game. Delanie Walker is sneakily of the best tight ends in the NFL, and Rishard Matthews had a really solid season during his first year with the Titans.

Is the defense a tad sketchy? Maybe, but bringing in Logan Ryan and Jonathan Cybrien are huge pickups. Jurrell Casey is really good, and Daquan Jones isn’t bad, but the defensive line isn’t too strong.

The linebacker duo of Derrick Morgan and Brian Orakpo should be solid, and Avery Williamson defends the run extremely well.

Based off offseason additions, a weak division and growth from Mariota, the Titans should get to 11 wins.

3. Oakland Raiders

It’s still Oakland right? Look, last year, before Derek Carr’s injury, this team was a legit threat to New England.

Derek Carr has turned into a franchise quarterback, and the addition of Marshawn Lynch will only help their strong run game. Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree are two of the better receivers this game has to offer. Oakland even added Cordarelle Patterson and Jared Cook, to help build a premier offense.

AFC eye test predictions: 4-1
Boys Club. Marshawn Lynch and Derek Carr (reviewjournal.com)

The Raiders offensive line allowed the fewest sacks in the NFL. Huge news: Donald Penn is ending his holdout. Along with Penn, Rodney Hudson, Gabe Jackson, and Kelechi Osemele, Oakland, much like Tennessee, has one of the best offensive lines in the NFL.

We all know about Khalil Mack being one of the best pure talents this game has, but besides Mack and Bruce Irvin, the rest of the defense is a bit unreliable.

They have constantly been trying to fix the secondary, with Karl Joseph, Sean Smith and Reggie Nelson, but they still have work to do. This year, in the first two rounds, they drafted cornerback Gareon Conley and defensive back Obi Melifonwu. Both could step in if needed.

Carr won 12 of his 15 games last year, and I expect similar results for Oakland. Although in a tough division, the Raiders should have no problem rattling off 11-12 wins.

2. Pittsburgh Steelers

Hate Mike Tomlin all you want, but the guy has won double digit games in seven of his ten seasons as head coach of the Steelers.

While Big Ben is getting up there in age, he is still a top five quarterback. They have the best running back in football, Le’Veon Bell, who will hopefully return soon from his holdout. Nonetheless, James Connor’s story is super inspirational, and the guy has shown that he can ball at this level.

AFC eye test predictions: 4-1
The return of Martinis Bryant only helps Antonio Brown and the rest of the Steelers offense (behindthesteelcurtain.com)

They also have one of the best wide receivers in football, Antonio Brown. The return of Martavis Bryant means business will be booming for this offense. The Steelers have scored 30 or more points in almost half of the games in which Bryant is a part of. Let’s hope he can pass all of his drug tests, or at least find ways to get around them.

The only thing stopping this team from beating New England is the defense. The secondary is abysmal. Cam Heyward’s return is nice, but besides him and Tuitt, the rest of the line is debatable. James Harrison continues to do insane workouts, which means he will be ready to go, even at 39. Ryan Shazier is coming off his first Pro Bowl, so the linebacker core should be solid.

Great coach, elite quarterback, elite weapons. This is another double digit win season for the Steelers. They are traveling the least amount of miles in the NFL. Expect 12 wins.

1. New England Patriots

Bill Belichick is the coach. Tom Brady is the quarterback. They added Brandin Cooks to ball with Rob Gronkowski, Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola.

AFC eye test predictions: 4-1
New England’s mood all year (washingtontimes.com)

Mike Gillislee and Rex Burkhead will beef up the running game, which includes Dion Lewis and Super Bowl hero James White.

Trey Flowers showed that he can perform on the highest stage, sacking Matt Ryan on multiple occasions during last year’s Super Bowl. Malcom Brown and Alan Branch are extremely dependable.

Dont’a Hightower and David Harris are monsters. Malcolm Butler is now paired up with Stephon Gilmore. Devin McCourty is lockdown, and Patrick Chung’s versatility is nice to have.

This team is favored in every game. They have the best coach, and best quarterback ever. Arguably the best roster Tom Brady has ever had, it seems like 19-0 is easily attainable. To be fair to some of the other teams, I have them at 14-2.

 

Featured image by YahooSports.com

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