State Of The AFC: Will Anyone Challenge The Patriots?


The Patriots were on a bye yesterday, so it gave me a chance to take a look around the AFC to scout their competition, and I came away a bit depressed. Simply put: the rest of the AFC flat-out stinks. The top contenders behind New England right now are the Broncos and Bengals, and they are each led by a quarterback that can’t feel his hands, and a quarterback that completely crumbles when it matters most (actually, you can apply both of those things to Denver’s quarterback).

Denver’s defense is terrific, and they will give everyone fits all year long, but that isn’t going to matter when the offense can’t do anything when the weather turns cold, and when Tom Brady exposes them in January. The Broncos’ have a great pass rush, and two excellent outside corners, but their linebackers and safeties are mediocre in coverage, and that is where Brady will expose them. Brady gets rid of the ball extremely quickly anyway, so the pass rush won’t affect him as much, and from there, Julian Edelman and Rob Gronkowski will abuse their linebackers and safeties.

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Offensively, Peyton Manning is done. I’m not saying that as a hater, I’m saying that as a person that watches football. I actually don’t hate Peyton anymore. I respect the hell out of him, and I could make a very good case that he is a top 5 quarterback of all-time. But you’re being stupid if you don’t see that his arm is fried, and that inability to push the ball down the field come December and January is really going to hurt the Broncos.

As for the Bengals, it is the same old story. Loaded roster, but they are stuck with Andy Dalton at quarterback, and no matter how good he looks in September and October, he will eventually crumble. Combine that with their average secondary, and they would get stomped if they were forced to play up in Foxboro this January.

Don’t even start on the Colts, because they suck. They’re not overreated, they just suck.

So is anyone going to challenge the Patriots? Right now, it doesn’t look like it.