SCU staff makes their 2018 AFC Predictions | Steel City Underground

Steel City Underground

SCU AFC Predictions

The SCU staff makes their 2018 NFL season predictions. Let’s have a look at who everyone thinks is championship material this upcoming season.

SCU AFC Predictions

Joe Kuzma

Playoffs: Patriots, Steelers, Texans, Jaguars, Chargers, Chiefs
AFC Champion: Steelers

The Patriots are the still the best in the East, with the Dolphins looking as bad as usual and the Bills regressing as they figure out their quarterback situation behind what could be a porous offensive line. They won’t have the luxury of having Shady McCoy bail them out and I believe any of their passers turns the ball over more than Tyrod Taylor did last season.

Sam Darnold might be this year’s Jimmy G. I think their defense is the second-best in this division and should count for something. They could still have a losing record and wind up right behind New England in the standings.

The Steelers are built to beat anyone. The rest of this division should stink. The Bengals have talent, but Marvin Lewis will once again hinder their opportunity to do anything with it. John Harbaugh will be in the hot seat after failing to post a better record than the Browns. Each of those teams will have plenty of controversy surrounding their quarterbacks, something that will cause them to lose more games than they win, despite having solid defenses.

The Houston Texans will return to the top of the South with Deshaun Watson and J.J. Watt back. The Jaguars will slightly regress but make the playoffs. The Titans could be in the postseason mix but will fail to post a better record than whomever comes out of the West. And sorry Colts, your team is still lacking enough talent to be relevant just yet.

The Chargers are going to surprise everyone by taking this division. I firmly believe Jon Gruden isn’t an evil genius: he’s just evil. This team will tank. Badly.

That leaves the Broncos and Chiefs. I believe they will battle for a playoff berth, and I believe it’s a coinflip. I’m not sure how Patrick Mahomes will play in KC. If he doesn’t make many mistakes, Andy Reid wills this team into the postseason. If not, the Broncos season rests on Case Keenum. If he’s marginally average, they won’t win and it will open the door for Chad Kelly to salvage the season. That job interview could see them rally but narrowly miss the playoffs.

Brian Roach

Playoffs: Steelers, Patriots, Jaguars, Chargers, Texans, Chiefs
AFC Champion: Steelers

As much as it makes me want to hurl, the Patriots still are the team to beat in the East.  I think the Bills will improve as the year goes one, and end up sliding into the number two spot, while the Jets will manage to stay out of the basement leaving the Dolphins to dive down into the cellar.

In the North, it's the Steelers division to lose.  In fact, I am projecting this to be a truly awful season for 2 of the four teams (it would be 3 of the four teams, but winning 5 games has to feel like a great season for the Browns at this point).  The Browns managed to come in second, followed by the Ravens and the Bengals collapse into the cellar as Marvin Lewis finally is asked to leave the building.

In the South, it may be a close race between the Jaguars and the Texans.  I'm putting my money on the Jags and their defense despite having Blake Bortles at quarterback.  The Texans may manage to grab the top spot, but I need to see Watt, Clowney, and Watson all stay healthy for a full year before I'll buy it.  The Titans won't make it back to the playoffs and the Colts, even with Andrew Luck just won't be good enough to stay out of the bottom of the division.

In the West, it's the Chargers year I think.  A potentially great pass rush and solid defense and Phillip Rivers trying to validate his entire career.  It could be that the soccer stadium they play in may be a tough ticket as the season rolls on.  The Chiefs may slide into second place, or it may be the Raiders.  I would love it if Chuckie managed to coach them into the basement, but I don't see it yet.  I think the Broncos will have a tough season as Case Keenum fails to build on last years season.

Tina Rivers

Playoffs: Steelers, Patriots, Jaguars, Chargers, Texans, Chiefs
AFC Champion: Steelers

Unlike some, I feel like the Browns had a shot at the second spot in AFC North until Hue & Company went crazy after their preseason games. Even though the Ravens don't offer much excitement, the AFC North will be Pittsburgh's to run.

No comment on the AFC East because that whole division makes me nauseous.

The Colts are still trying to dig out of the basement in their division, but Jacksonville and Houston should be toe-to-toe heading down the stretch.

In the West, I might have put the Chiefs first if I hadn't witnessed two early undefeated runs of five games go straight in the toilet after they faced, and lost to, Pittsburgh two seasons in a row. With a rookie QB running the show, I think Rivers and the Chargers grab the top of the division. Denver is struggling and I'm not sure what Gruden is doing with the Raiders unless he's thinking he'll pull a Tecmo Super Bowl playbook out (are you okay upstairs, Jon?)

This is going to be an interesting conference at the wire again in 2018.

Chase Hammes

Playoffs

  • Steelers vs Titans (Steelers)
  • Chargers vs Broncos (Chargers)
  • Chargers vs Patriots (Patriots)
  • Steelers vs Jaguars (Steelers)
  • Steelers vs Patriots (Steelers)
  • Super Bowl (Eagles over Steelers)

Ryan Lippert

Playoffs

  • Texans vs Chargers (Texans)
  • Broncos vs Jaguars (Jaguars)
  • Texans vs Patriots (Patriots)
  • Jaguars vs Steelers (Steelers)
  • Steelers vs Patriots (Steelers)
  • Super Bowl (Steelers over Vikings)




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