I’ll preface this by saying it’s somewhat harder to rank the AFC teams than it is the NFC. There’s no real favorites besides the Indianapolis Colts. The second best team throughout the regular season in the AFC last year appeared to be the Chargers who did all that work only to be beat by the Jets in their first game of the postseason. While only a few years ago the AFC seemed the most dominant conference in the NFL with teams like the Patriots, Steelers, Colts, and Chargers leading the way, perhaps tables have turned and the best teams in the NFL now belong in the National Football Conference.
1.)Indianapolis Colts– The clear leaders throughout the AFC last year were the Colts. Manning lead his team and took apart opposing teams’ defenses like a surgeon with a scalpel. Despite being named NFL mvp for the third time in his career, the honor probably should have gone to Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints. Nobody will be surprised to see Indianapolis make another run at the playoffs next year. The team almost made it through the regular season last year with a perfect record, only to lose a couple of games at the end when resting starters. The Colts could be helped by an improvement on defense. Getting a guy like Bob Sanders back in good condition would be great. Despite getting to the super bowl and only two losses in the regular season, the Colts would also be helped by a better run attack, which last year ranked last in the NFL. However, the game has become more pass happy in recent years and Manning and crew still have one of the most potent offenses around with players like Reggie Wayne and Pierre Garcon.
2.)San Diego Chargers– The second choice was a tough one and it was hard to watch the Chargers fall to the Jets in their first game of the post season last year. Phillip Rivers is still one of the best quarterbacks in the league. Sure, Tomlinson is gone but his productivity had been decreasing the last couple years anyways. The Chargers played amazingly throughout the regular season last year and i’d look for a repeat again in 2010, they just need to stay focused when it matters the most and that’s the postseason.
3.)New York Jets-The Jets went 9-7 in the regular season last year but really shined when it came to the playoffs. The highly ranked defense will return next years with Darrelle Revis leading the way. The one thing the Jets need to focus on in the preseason is getting more consistency out of second year quarterback Mark Sanchez. Losing Thomas Jones was a bad move but bringing in LT might have helped but Thomas Jones had a far more productive year last year than LT did. LT will have to prove he still has it in him and i’m sure he’s looking forward to answering any critics with a thunderous YES. It shouldn’t be surprising to see the Jets make another run at the Super Bowl next year.