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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Philadelphia - LP: K. Kendrick 2 FINAL
NY Mets - WP: Z. Wheeler 11
Milwaukee - WP: Y. Gallardo 5 FINAL
Tampa Bay - LP: D. Price 0
Arizona - WP: W. Miley 5 FINAL
Cincinnati - LP: A. Simon 4
Washington - WP: T. Roark 4 FINAL
Miami - LP: B. Hand 3
Oakland 1 Bottom 8th Inning
Houston 8
Pittsburgh 1 Top 2nd Inning
San Francisco 3
LA Angels - G. Richards 6:05 PM
Baltimore - K. Gausman
Seattle - F. Hernandez 6:05 PM
Cleveland - C. Kluber
Chicago WSox - H. Noesi 6:08 PM
Detroit - M. Scherzer
Toronto - M. Buehrle 6:10 PM
Boston - B. Workman
Colorado - B. Anderson 7:05 PM
Chicago Cubs - T. Wood
NY Yankees - H. Kuroda 7:05 PM
Texas - C. Lewis
Minnesota - P. Hughes 7:10 PM
Kansas City - D. Duffy
Atlanta - A. Wood 9:10 PM
Los Angeles - Z. Greinke
St. Louis - J. Kelly 9:10 PM
San Diego - J. Hahn
NY Giants 8/3/14 7:00 PM
Buffalo
Toronto FC 6:00 PM
D.C.
Colorado 6:30 PM
New England
Vancouver FC 7:30 PM
Chicago
Red Bull New York 8:00 PM
Real Salt Lake
Winnipeg 7/31/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Toronto 8/1/14 6:00 PM
Montreal
Brt Columbia 8/1/14 9:00 PM
Calgary
Saskatchewan 8/2/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 8/7/14 7:30 PM
Winnipeg
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Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pm
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pm
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pm
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pm
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis Noon
Sep 14 - vs. New England Noon
Sep 21 - at New Orleans Noon
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pm
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pm
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit Noon
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo Noon
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay Noon
Nov 2 - vs. Washington Noon
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago Noon
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay Noon
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina Noon
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets Noon
Dec 14 - at Detroit Noon
Dec 21 - at Miami Noon
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago Noon

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