Jay Arnold – EaglesGab.com: Colts – With Wayne, Harrison, and Gonzalez coming into own, it’s a great receiving corp. Manning is a little less mobile but that’s not his game anyway. I see them with a 12 win season.
David Wright – JetsGab.com: Jets – Brady is the key that runs the machine. Without the keys the machine will not work. With all the off season moves the Jets are built for N O W!!!! Jets win at home this week. Jets 17 Patriots 10
Tim Hiller – BillsGab.com: Steelers – They can run the ball, they have an insurance policy if Willie Parker goes down again this year and their defense is going strong.
Jeff Sack – PatriotsGab.com: Steelers – If Willie Parker is fully recovered, and after yesterday it appears he is, the Steelers have an incredibly diverse and dominant offense. And considering their division, in my mind right now they are the team to beat in the AFC.
Cole Pepper – JaguarsGab.com: Chargers – I think that right now the Steelers and the Titans are the best AFC teams right now, but by the end of the season, I expect San Diego to have home field advantage.
Matt Jergensen – RavensGab.com: Chargers – Indy is in the same situation as New England, an injury to the quarterback away from trouble. I would go with Jacksonville however they just lost three offensive lineman in a week. That leaves the Chargers, but don’t they have health issues as well? It goes to show you how an injury or two sends you from the penthouse to the outhouse very quickly. So, it’s the Chargers- for now.
Russ Loede – BearsGab.com: Colts – This is a resilient squad that has something to prove. Last year’s debacle at home in the AFC Divisional Playoffs still hurts, they still feel the nagging, grueling pain of defeat from eight months ago – it’s still fresh on their minds. Tony Dungy is an excellent coach and Indy is a battle-tested team which senses urgency. They have the most experience, ultimately they stick to their stengths, and it’s a “Win Now” type of attitude and mentality in the Hooiser State.
Landis Andrews – CowboysGab.com: Patriots – With the knee injury, the balance of power in the AFC shifts from Tom Brady to Bill Belichick. The Patriots have proven they are a system team already. Be ready to witness Belichick’s masterpiece.
Kevin Lissow – BillsGab.com: Chargers – I think the Chargers are the best team in the AFC. With an improving QB in Rivers, the always great LT, and Chambers and Vincent Jackson now supporting Gates the offense can now match the defense. Their only roadblock, The Patriots, are now out of their way.
Stephen Rhodes – ColtsGab.com: Chargers – With Brady out for the season, this elevates the San Diego Chargers to the top – even more so than my Indianapolis Colts. San Diego has the complete offense – QB, RB, TE not to mention their stout defense. The Patriots will go to the playoffs, but not necessarily as the AFC East winner – more as a wild card. Cassel cant fill Brady’s shoes unfortunately.
Tony Derbigny – SaintsGab.com: Colts – Peyton Manning is the smartest quarterback in the NFL and can carry his team year in and year out.
Tony Johnson – TitansGab.com: Steelers – After Brady went down for the Patriots, I think that the new favorite to win the AFC has to be the Steelers. Pittsburgh’s defense was ranked number one in the 2007 season. With all players returning healthy, the defense should expect to see the same results this season. In addition to the stellar defense, strong players were added on the opposite side of the ball. Expect to see the Pittsburgh Steelers leading the way in the AFC during the 2008 NFL season.
Mike Loede – RaidersGab.com: Colts – The number 2 QB for the number 2 team in the AFC now, with Brady out, becomes the number 1 team.. Manning and the Colts are now the number 1 team in the AFC..
Jeremy Fuchs – NFLGridironGab.com: Colts – I think, that with Tom Brady going down, someone in Indianapolis just got very happy. Sure a downer against the Bears, but Peyton Manning and Co. will take the crown from New England, while winning 12 games.
Jason Etgen – EaglesGab.com: Chargers – I think it’s going to be between Pittsburgh and San Diego. With Brady out and the Colts looking pathetic against the Bears, those are the two strongest teams in the conference. Yeah, the Chargers’ looked bad too, but they started bad last year and look where they ended up.
Scot Murdoch – LionsGab.com: Steelers – After Week 1, I would have to say the Steelers. Parker and Hines are full strengh and Mendenhall was a nice pick-up and will help shoulder the load. Big Ben is a beast and the defense should be stronger this year as well.
Jerie OConner – RavensGab.com: Chargers – The best team in the AFC before Tom Brady’s season-ending injury for 2008 was the San Diego Chargers who always start slow under HC Norv Turner but finish strong b/c they are loaded on offense, defense and special teams.
Shawn McAllister – ChiefsGab.com: Colts – The Colts are now leaders in the AFC they have a 39-9 record over the past three seasons one game better than the Patriots. San Diego cannot stop the Colts with a injured but still playing Shawn Merriman. The Colts actually won a Super Bowl two seasons ago and still have the core of that team together.
Mark Walsh – BrownsGab.com: Steelers – With Brady being hurt I’d have to say (even though it pains me being a die-hard Browns’ fan)… that the best team in the AFC is the Pittsburgh Steelers. If they have secured and fixed their offensive line woes and can keep fast Willie healthy with Rashard getting his share of the load, I’d say that the rest of the league better Watch Out! They have to be one of the most complete teams in all of football and it was evident on Sunday.
Alan Wilson – JaguarsGab.com: Chargers – Chalk up the Week 1 loss as an early-season mulligan. Even with Merriman’s knee injury and Tomlinson’s potential turf toe injury, this team is deep enough to weather the storm. The Chargers will still win 11 games.
Wendy Bubp – PanthersGab.com: Chargers – They have Philip Rivers back under center, who’s destined to become an elite quarterback, and he has a bevy of talented receivers to help him shine. They have a stingy, opportunistic defense that pays the rent with turnovers; and the Chargers boast the league’s best back, and all-around good guy, LaDainian Tomlinson.
Ben Bunce – BroncosGab.com: Broncos – I honestly think the Denver Broncos, after dismantling the Chargers next week, will prove to everyone that they are the team to beat in the AFC. The Steelers schedule will do them in. The Colts will have trouble stopping anyone defensively.
Jim Dubenetzky – ChargersGab.com: Chargers – I still think the Chargers are the best team in the AFC, out of default. Even though they just lost to the Panthers, they are still going to finish the season atop the AFC. I almost chose the Colts but we watched the Chargers start last season 5-5 and then go on to win their first playoff game in more than 10 years. The Bolts will figure it out.
Eric Cook – BearsGab.com: Steelers – They looked completely dominant in their win Sunday. They have a great Defense, an explosive running game, and an accurate, mobile quarterback. Right now they are the ones to beat in the AFC.
Jeff Roman – RamsGab.com: Patriots – As much as I hate to say it, the Pats are still the best team in the AFC until they get exposed. Indy, Jax, and SD all lost and the Infatigable Patriots War Machine keeps rolling on.
Chad Cribbins – SteelersGab.com: Steelers – Steelers are the most “balanced” team in the AFC…without Manning or Brady, Ben is the incumbent….. Jags are a close 2nd.
Robert Lewis – SaintsGab.com: Steelers – Its a long shot for some but I think Pittsburgh is the best in the AFC, they will post a 13-3 with a weak division with exception of Browns.
Jean-Paul Bergeaux – SaintsGab.com: Steelers – The Steelers look to be the best team in the AFC. They are not the same conservative defensive team as in the past, with Ben Roethlisberger opened up, it makes them a dynamic offensive team.
David Quinn – CowboysGab.com: Chargers – Even though they lost their first game on the last play to Carolina, they have the experience of last year and certainly the talent to go all the way to the AFC Championship game again. Pittsburgh might be the only other team who could topple them in the AFC.
So after getting 29 votes, here is how it breaks down:
San Diego Chargers 10 Votes
Pittsburgh Steelers 9 Votes
Indianapolis Colts 6 Votes
New England Patriots 2 Votes
New York Jets 1 Vote
Denver Broncos 1 Vote