AFC Mid Season Review
As the midseason point of the 2013 NFL season arrives, we at fiftystatefootball.com felt it was time to take a look at all the runners and riders and assess how each team has performed so far. Check out Gaz Brown's NFC review to see how that Conference fares! As always, feel free to get involved in the debate – either post a comment here on via Twitter: @50Statefootball, @gazbrown79, @madonsport
New England Patriots 6-2; The Patriots have pulled out a 5-2 record despite loosing some key players. The absence of Vince Wilfork and Rob Gronkowski have been noticeable. With problems on the offense, Tom Brady is still making plays and leading by the front. A good win against the Saints proves that they should not be underestimated and still have what it takes to get wins against good teams.
The Patriots should go on and win the division. It remains to be seen how far they can go in the post season.
Miami Dolphins 3-4; The Dolphins started the season in great fashion with three wins, Ryan Tannehill and co. looked accomplished but four straight defeats have sent them into the mix with the remainder of the division. 500 football may not be enough in this division, on paper Miami have some tough games coming up less for Tampa Bay.
Miami need to turn their fortunes around quickly.
New York Jets 4-4; Rex Ryan has a rookie QB that is able to get the wins for Gang Green. Lacking a winning streak the Jets have proved some of the doubters wrong this season. Their strengths lie with the defensive line, which is 4th overall in the NFL. DE Muhammad Wilkinson has contributed to 6 of the 25 sacks made by the Jets this season.
The Jets need to find some consistency and fast. At the moment it’s good Jets, bad Jets. Rex Ryan has the experience to take the Jets into the playoffs.
Buffalo Bills 3-5; The Bills prop up the AFC East but one of the major plusses for them this season is Rookie linebacker Kiko Alonso. He has the second most tackles in the NFL this season. The loss of EJ Manuel has forced Doug Marrone to play Thad Lewis behind centre. The Bills have a tough November coming up before going into a week 12 bye. All but one of their games have been very close this season.
Buffalo has more combined tackles than any other defence (637) and the second most sacks (27). The Bills have just missed out on a few more wins by the narrowest of margins and that could be the story of their season.
Baltimore Ravens 3-4; John Harbaugh and his Ravens seem to have a big Super Bowl hangover. RB Ray Rice has struggled to find last year’s form. WR Torrey Smith has been a plus on the offense. Terrelle Suggs and Elvis Dumervil have been the stand out defensive players.
If the Ravens can put a run of back-to-back wins together, they can leave the Browns and Steelers behind.
Cleveland Browns 3-5; By week 5 the Browns had people wondering how long their winning streak would last. 3 straight defeats have sent Cleveland tumbling. Injury problems at QB have resulted in three different players coming in behind centre. Trent Ricahrdson has still to make an impact. Jordan Cameron and Josh Gordon have been productive out wide.
The Browns have to pick up some more takeaways and keep Trent Richardson involved on the other side of the football.
Cincinnati Bengals 6-2; Andy Dalton and AJ Green have linked up well coming into week 9. The Bengals are on a hot streak of four wins with the most recent being a demolition of the Jets 49-9. The Bengals may not be everyone’s pick of teams playing above .700 football but Marvin Lewis keeps reeling in the “W’s”.
The only ones that can stop the Bengals are themselves. Their remaining schedule should bring more wins for the AFN North leaders.
Pittsburgh Steelers 2-5; The Steelers has a terrible start to the season. Back to back wins gave the Pittsburgh faithful hope. A defeat at struggling Oakland has temporarily put the breaks on the turnaround. WR Antonio Brown has been the big plus of franchise. The defense need to make more plays in the latter half of the season, just 10 sacks and 4 takeaways this season.
The Pittsburgh faithful won’t like being at the foot of the division. It all boils down to the coaches and players being able to put another couple of wins together. 8-8 could be a successful season for the gold and black.
Indianapolis Colts 5-2; On their day the Colts have the ability to beat anyone. The loss in San Diego surprised many. They have proved they can win in big games as they did against the Broncos. Andrew Luck continues to impress. Robert Mathis has been a rock in the defensive line with 11.5 sacks.
The Colts have a fairly favourable remaining schedule, with a tough test coming in week 15 at Kansas. They sit at the top of the division and will remain there during the second half of the season.
Tennessee Titans 3-4; The Titans were brushed aside by three quality football teams in weeks 5,6 and 7. Up until that point they were 3-1. Jake Locker has 1047 yards for just one pick. Nate Washington and Kendall Wright have been productive out wide.
The Titans have what it takes to pick up a few more wins but some tough games lie ahead for them.
Houston Texans 2-5; It has been a tough season for Houston especially at QB. Matt Schaub threw consecutive pick sixes. TJ Yates also struggled at QB. Inspirational leader and LB Brian Cushing is out for the season. Andre Johnson has averaged just over 83 yards a game in receptions but he is still to find the end zone.
With not much going right for the Texans, they have to stick together on and off the field as they play for pride for the remainder of the season.
Jacksonville Jaguars 0-8; The jury is out on whether or not the Jaguars can win a game before the end of the season. It is very hard to find positives for this franchise. MJD showed some fight at Wembley. Cecil Shorts III and Justin Blackmon have linked up well with Chad Henne but for little reward in the end zone.
The Jagaurs are looking to be heading for the first pick in the 2014 draft. Gus Bradley is going to have to keep his players motivated for the remainder of their schedule.
Denver Broncos 7-1; Not unbeatable but very formidable in the first half of the season, John Fox has got an offense firing on all cylinders. It is no surprised that they are ranked 1st in the NFL. Peyton Manning is 81 yards short of 3,000 for the season. The defense have been able to make plays too with 13 picks. Danny Trevathan and Chris Harris each have 3.
The Broncos still have to play the Chiefs at home and on the road. This is a highly competitive division this season. No doubt people will be questioning Manning’s play off credentials come the post season. Over to your Peyton.
Kansas City Chiefs 8-0; Are there still any doubters out there? It is as if people are just waiting for them to fall as the Chiefs under Andy Reid remain the only undefeated franchise in the NFL. 36 sacks and 10 picks are just the tip of the ice- berg for a ruthless defensive line.
The Arrowhead dressing room is a cauldron of morale. Alex Smith is not a top echelon NFL QB but he is still producing the goods with his offense when required. It remains to be seen if the Chiefs can keep up their superb winning streak but for now they have been pretty faultless.
San Diego Chargers 4-3; Mike McCoy has had a pretty good impact in Southern California for different reasons. He has to take the credit for the re-emergence of Philip Rivers and Antonio Gates. The Chargers could easily be 6-1. A poor show at Oakland left many wondering how they would fair against the Colts. The Chargers are by no means World-beaters but are much improved under McCoy. Rookies DJ Fluker and Keenan Allen have both impressed.
The Chargers have some very tough divisional matches still to come and only time will tell as to whether or not they come through them or not.
Oakland Raiders 3-4; The Raiders have had a stop-start season. Terrelle Pryor has shown promise, he had a pretty rough time at the hands of the Chiefs. He has the most rushing yards in the team with 391. Denarius Moore has also been impressive finding the end zone 4 times.
Oakland are in a situation that is probably good enough for second spot in another division but in reality they are sat 4th in the AFC West. Dennis Allen will be looking for a double over San Diego in a bid to keep some momentum on their season.