Mark Craig's AFC power rankings

  • Updated: September 8, 2012 - 8:59 PM

AFC POWER RANKINGS

1. Broncos

What the heck. If they can win a playoff game with Tim Tebow at quarterback, this defensively strong team can win the AFC with Peyton Manning set to prove why he's a four-time MVP.

2. Patriots

Bill Belichick won the AFC last year with the 31st-ranked defense and no deep receiving threat. Then he signed some receivers and spent his top five draft picks on defense. Look out.

3. Ravens

Losing league defensive MVP Terrell Suggs for the season is a blow. But the offense will get better and the defense will be good enough to win the best division in football.

4. Bengals

The evolution of quarterback Andy Dalton and a solid draft will help the Bengals avoid their typical slump following a playoff season.

5. Texans

Defensive end Mario Williams is gone, but quarterback Matt Schaub is back and looking as good as ever after missing the final six games and the playoffs last year.

6. Steelers

Pittsburgh finally could slide some as an aging defense and problems on the offensive line mount. Of course, no one drafts better than the Steelers, who used their top two picks on O-linemen.

7. Bills

The streak ends now. After 12 years out of the playoffs, the Bills will grab a wild-card spot after offseason spending spree on defense. (This one could be painful upon further review next summer.)

8. Jets

The chaos of Tebowmania should pretty much finish off Mark Sanchez's confidence and the Jets' chances of attaining substance over bluster.

9. Chargers

Preseason injuries to Ryan Mathews and Vincent Brown won't help Norv Turner's job security nor a team that often experiences a season-crushing slump at some point.

10. Chiefs

Matt Cassel is back from a broken hand that cost him the final seven games a year ago. That would be very good news if he hadn't stunk up the first nine games.

11. Titans

Tennessee came out of last year's lockout and went 9-7 with a new coach in Mike Munchak. If you believe in Jake Locker, feel free to move this team up this list. We'll wait awhile.

12. Raiders

Carson Palmer should be much better than last year when he arrived after the sixth game and was thrust into the starting lineup. But can Oakland stabilize itself in Year 1 under first-year NFL head coach Dennis Allen?

13. Dolphins

If the Dolphins had any chance of being good, Manning would have signed with them in about 30.3 seconds. Expect some lumps for the Philbin-Tannehill ticket.

14. Colts

A massive overhaul of the front office, coaching staff and roster could put Indy in position for consecutive No. 1 overall picks. But this year's No. 1 pick, Andrew Luck, will prevent that.

15. Browns

Brandon Weeden will be the Browns' 10th different opening-day starting quarterback in the past 14 years. Any other questions?

16. Jaguars

It's hard to imagine Blaine Gabbert being any worse than his rookie season (league-low 65.4 passer rating). But it gets easier considering the lengthy holdout of reigning NFL rushing champion Maurice Jones-Drew.

MARK CRAIG

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Miami - LP: M. Dunn 1 FINAL
Atlanta - WP: D. Carpenter 3
Arizona - WP: T. Cahill 7 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - LP: P. Strop 5
San Francisco - WP: J. Machi 12 FINAL
Colorado - LP: C. Bettis 10
Texas - WP: M. Perez 3 FINAL
Oakland - LP: S. Gray 0
Houston - LP: J. Fields 3 FINAL
Seattle - WP: F. Rodney 5
Cincinnati - WP: A. Simon 5 FINAL
Pittsburgh - LP: C. Morton 2
LA Angels - LP: E. Frieri 4 FINAL
Washington - WP: D. Storen 5
Kansas City - LP: K. Herrera 3 FINAL
Cleveland - WP: B. Shaw 5
Baltimore - WP: C. Tillman 10 FINAL
Toronto - LP: T. Redmond 8
Chicago WSox - WP: A. Rienzo 6 FINAL
Detroit - LP: E. Reed 4
St. Louis - LP: M. Wacha 2 FINAL
NY Mets - WP: J. Niese 3
Minnesota - WP: C. Fien 6 FINAL
Tampa Bay - LP: J. Lueke 4
NY Yankees - LP: M. Pineda 1 FINAL
Boston - WP: J. Lackey 5
San Diego - LP: T. Ross 2 FINAL
Milwaukee - WP: K. Lohse 5
Philadelphia - LP: C. Hamels 2 FINAL
Los Angeles - WP: Z. Greinke 5
Charlotte 97 FINAL
Miami 101
Dallas 113 FINAL
San Antonio 92
Portland 112 FINAL
Houston 105
Pittsburgh 3 FINAL(OT)
Columbus 4
Anaheim 2 FINAL
Dallas 4
St. Louis 3 FINAL(OT)
Chicago 4
Houston 0 FINAL
Red Bull New York 4
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Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2013 preseason     
Aug 9 - vs. Houston 7 pmX27-13
Aug 16 - at Buffalo 6 pmX20-16
Aug 25 - at San Francisco 7 pmX34-14
Aug 29 - vs. Tennessee 7 pmX24-23
2013 regular season     
Sep 8 - at Detroit NoonX34-24
Sep 15 - at Chicago NoonX31-30
Sep 22 - vs. Cleveland NoonX31-27
Sep 29 - vs. Pittsburgh (in London) NoonX34-27
Oct 6 - Bye
Oct 13 - vs. Carolina NoonX35-10
Oct 21 - at. NY Giants 7:40 pmX23-7
Oct 27 - vs. Green Bay 7:30 pmX44-31
Nov 3 - at Dallas NoonX27-23
Nov 7 - vs. Washington 7:25 pmX34-27
Nov 17 - at Seattle 3:25 pmX41-20
Nov. 24 - at Green Bay Noon26-26
Dec 1 - vs. Chicago NoonX23-20
Dec 8 - at Baltimore NoonX29-26
Dec 15 - vs. Philadelphia NoonX48-30
Dec 22 - at Cincinnati NoonX42-14
Dec 29 - vs. Detroit NoonX14-13

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