Training camp is now only one, yes one, day away for your 2014 Pittsburgh Steelers. Most other teams have already gotten their training camps underway, so this is a perfect time to unveil my projections for the final standings for the AFC in 2014. The star next to each team represents their seed in the playoffs.
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1st. Pittsburgh Steelers: 10-6****
2nd. Baltimore Ravens: 8-8
3rd. Cincinnati Bengals: 7-9
4th. Cleveland Browns: 5-11
The AFC is definitely a bit muddled this year. I would, as would most experts, say that the Steelers have the early edge to being the division, but it is still far from decided. The Steelers figure to finish somewhere between 8-8 and 11-5, the Ravens and Bengals will both probably be around .500, while the Browns once again figure to bring up the rear. There will likely only be one team from the North in the playoffs this year.
1st. Indianapolis Colts: 11-5***
2nd. Tennessee Titans: 8-8
3rd. Jacksonville Jaguars: 6-10
4th. Houston Texans: 5-11
At this point of the preseason the Colts figure to be the easy favorites to win the South. Led by Andrew Luck they will most likely end up with double digit wins, the Titans have the inside track to second if Locker can stay healthy, the Jags should be much improved because of Gus Bradley and Dave Caldwell, and the Texans should bring up the rear because they failed to find a solution at quarterback. The South is another division that figures to only send one team to the playoffs.
Dec 29, 2013; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill (17) reacts after throwing an incomplete pass against the New York Jets during the first half at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
1st. New England Patriots: 12-4**
2nd. Miami Dolphins: 10-6*****
3rd. New York Jets: 6-10
4th. Buffalo Bills: 3-13
The East should be much more competitive for sending multiple teams to the playoffs than the previous two divisions. The Patriots are almost guaranteed to once again journey to the postseason, the Dolphins and Jets should battle for second (even though I don’t think it will be that close), and the Bills figure to once again bring up the rear being led by EJ Manuel. The way I see it the Patriots and Dolphins make the playoffs this year. The Patriots getting a bye and the Dolphins getting a wild card bid.
1st. Denver Broncos: 13-3*
2nd. San Diego Chargers: 9-7******
3rd. Oakland Raiders: 5-11
4th. Kansas City Chiefs: 3-13
The West should be much less contested than any of the other divisions in the AFC. The Broncos figure to run away with the title, the Chargers should come in as an easy second, and all signs point to the Chiefs and the Raiders battling it out for last place in the West, and maybe even in the AFC. The West is probably going to send two teams to the playoffs, along with the East.
In my opinion the AFC will finish very close to the way that most people see it panning out. The Broncos, Patriots, Colts, and Steelers all figure to be division champions, with the Dolphins and Chargers earning wild card bids.