Against the Grain: AFC Predictions

By Andrew Perloff

Every week I’ll provide contrarian observations on everything that’s happening around the NFL. To be very clear, any of the opinions in Against the Grain do not represent Dan Patrick’s views. Or anyone Dan knows. Keep in mind, the motto of Against the Grain is that what everyone is saying is, by definition, wrong.

With that caveat, here are my predicted division orders for the AFC. Each team has a Twitter length write-up. ATG doesn’t need any more words to make points.

1. New York Jets:
Best defense in NFL. Thin O-line. Wish I had more faith in Greene. Sanchez has strong targets — Holmes, Keller, Plax, Mason.

2. New England Patriots: How can u not love offense built around 2 great TEs? Many points will be scored. Can they get to QB or get stops when they need it?

3. Miami Dolphins: If Henne threw to his own guys more consistently, this’d be playoff team. Watch out for this defense.
4. Buffalo Bills: Ryan Fitzpatrick outscored me on Wonderlic. Not a bad QB either. But Bills still can’t stop the run.
 AFC North

1. Pittsburgh Steelers: Can’t find anything wrong with this team. Feel bad for opposing QBs.

2. Baltimore Ravens: Can’t get over losses like Mason, Heap, Gregg. Lot of veterans. Flacco seems like good guy, but is he right kind of leader?

3. Cincinnati Bengals: They’re going to be bad, but not as bad as everyone thinks. Dalton is a keeper. A.J. Green is star. Benson may be in trouble, but he’s not good anyway.

4. Cleveland Browns: Don’t buy preseason hype around McCoy. Look at depth chart. No one to throw to. Shurmur needed longer offseason.


1. Houston Texans: It’s like the Red Sea parted and the path to playoffs was made easier than ever. Now the question is,homefield advantage in first playoff game? Defense will improve from bad to middle of the pack.

2. Indianapolis: Bad feeling. Come back soon Peyton or gets ugly fast. Even with Peyton, might be little uglier than usual.

3. Tennessee Titans: Never know when the Titans are going to be good. If Britt on field majority of season, and Jared Cook blowing up, they could be a solid 8-8.

4. Jacksonville Jaguars: Nothing positive to say about this franchise except Del Rio can coach and MJD’s a great guest on the DP Show.

 AFC West

1. San Diego Chargers: Rivers, Rivers, Rivers. RBs are eh. No. 1 defense last season was not for real D wasn’t on field as much as it should have been. Still, it’s AFC West.

2. Kansas City Chiefs: Classic example of sked fueling turnaround. Beat no one last year and got blown out bad by mediocre teams. That being said, good running game, some good defenders.

3. Denver Broncos: Dumervil/Miller coming at you. That’s why teams are going to run right at them. Orton big numbers, but makes ill-timed mistakes.

4. Oakland Raiders: Nnamdi might be a bit overrated and Routt is good, but man, they’re going to miss Asomugha. They can run ball and get to QB, but don’t show up every week.