A couple of days ago we took a look at the NFC, and gave you who we think are the early teams to watch out for in 2007. Now let’s shift to the Conference that has been more dominant over the past few seasons, the AFC, and the 5 top teams to watch for as we get set for training camp and the 07 season.
1. New England: 2006 record 12-4 – No disrepect to the Super Bowl Champion Colts, but the Pats have had one of the best offseasons in the history of free agency and trades. They grabbed Adalius Thomas, the best defensive player, they traded for wide out Randy Moss, who can spread the offense, and they will be none to happy they blew a big lead in the AFC Title game in Indy. The Pats look poised to be a 13-14 win team again.
2. Indianapolis: 2006 record 12-4 – The Colts relied on their running game and defense in the playoffs to help them exercise the deamons of 2005 and win their first Super Bowl in Indy. The offseason though has been tough, they have lost RB Dominick Rhodes, and a bunch of key defensive players – Mike Doss, Cato June, Nick Harper and WR Brandon Stokley. They will be good again, but now being the hunted instead of the hunter they will fall short of a Super Bowl repeat.
3. San Diego: 2006 record 14-2 – The number one seed in the AFC last year also went though a transition this offseason, firing their coach and bringing in Norv Turner. They didn’t do much in free agency, and seem to have the attitude they will be as good as a season ago when they fell to the Pats in the Divisional round. While the team should be good again, the Turner hire is what will make or break this team.
4. Baltimore: 2006 record 13-3 – While the defense is aging a bit, they did grab a running back that could be a stud in Willis McGahee, who is an upgrade over Jamal Lewis. QB is still a concern, as Steve McNair is fragile and Kyle Boller is awful. Don’t forget they were interested in trading up for Brady Quinn. Despite it all, the Ravens are still tops in the AFC North, and should win the division again.
5. Denver: 2006 record 9-7 – Jay Cutler was impressive enough late in the year to let Jake Plummer go and reitre, and the team has been slowly trying to rebuild the D-line with Sam Adams and Jamie Kennedy coming in this week, and drafting Florida DT Marcus Thomas. They also added back Travis Henry, but did let LB Al Wilson go, which could haunt them. Dre’ Bly will help the already good shutdown secondary.