1. MIAMI DOLPHINS- Last years division title wasn’t a fluke. Dolphins players and personnel are a year further in familiarity with their schemes and plays. With Jason Taylor’s return, the defense will now have the QB terrorizing tandem of him and Joey Porter. Miami is the best team in their division until another team dethrones them.
2. NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS- Brady’s return alone can’t return this team to dominance. The guys on defense aren’t pulling a Benjamin Button (getting any younger) but Bill Belichick still has that football machine well oiled.
3. NEW YORK JETS- New coach, new QB, new season. The Jets are a team that is just entering
the “work in progress” stage but that doesn’t mean they’ll be an easy ’W’ for opposing teams. As the season advances, so will the progression of the Jets.
4. BUFFALO BILLS- With a passive aggressive coaching staff, the addition of a reality TV actor to the team, and a formidable division, the Bills aren’t in shape for any type of run at the division crown. Why did Ralph Wilson get into the hall of fame again?
1. PITTSBURGH STEELERS- The Super Bowl champions didn’t encounter any major team make over or too many roster adjustments so they are still the BEST TEAM in the entire league. Big Ben’s off field issues don’t look to have any impact on his play either.
2. BALTIMORE RAVENS- The defense might hold water like a spaghetti noodle strainer after the departure of Bart Scott, Jim Leonard, Chris McAllister and most importantly Rex Ryan . Joe Flacco and his offensive brigade are going to have to have a big year if they want to climb to the top of their division.
3. CLEVELAND BROWNS- Without knowing who is playing QB and what the deal is with their #1 wide receiver, Braylon Edwards, the Browns are in a bit of puzzle…for right now. But Do not be surprised if new head coach Eric Mangini leads this squad to the winning side of a few upsets.
4. CINCINATTI BENGALS- It’s up to Carson and Chad to try and save Marvin Lewis’s job. Problem is, it doesn’t look they’ll be able to do it.
1. TENNESSEE TITANS- The Titans are number 1 in their division to start the season but for how long? Chris Johnson turned into a top 3 running back in the league but have defenses figured out how to
attack Kerry Collins? Haynesworth, oh Haynesworth.
2. INDIANAPOLIS COLTS- Who else is worried about the Colts this season? Adjustments in the coaching staff aren’t sitting well with the players and it just appears as if Peyton is slowing down. Has their run defense improved at all? They can drop down this list real fast this year.
3. HOUSTON TEXANS- The embarrassing days of David Carr are over. Steve Slaton and Andre Johnson might transform Matt Schaub into a Pro Bowl QB this season. Cornerback position is the only soft spot on the defense. This is the team to keep an eye on and not sleep on.
4. JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS- Remember, this is just a preseason ranking. Jacksonville ended last season on the bottom, so they have begin their. Jack Del Rio should have his team in position to battle for the title.
1. SAN DIEGO CHARGERS- Playing division games is usually a simple formality for the Chargers. Unless the other teams in their division with first year head coach’s spun their teams around 180 degrees, this season wont be any different.
2. OAKLAND RAIDERS- If Jeff Garcia can get the ball to Zach Miller and Johnny Lee Higgins, Oakland’s passing game will be a threat. Mix that with the triple threat in the backfield (Vargas, Bush, McFadden) and you’ve got the family fun zone, AKA the Black Hole, going nuts from points being scored early and often. Hopefully the Raiders will find a way not to give up points in the last 30 seconds of games so they can hold on to close games.
3. KANSAS CITY CHIEFS- Matt Cassel can’t miss Tony Gonzales because he never had him but the rest of the team will. Todd Haley will have the Chiefs in the right direction but it won’t be until week 10, at least.
4. DENVER BRONCOS- Was Jay Cutler the real reason for Brandon Marshall’s success? Nothing happened this off season that indicated that the running backs of the Raiders, Chiefs, and Chargers aren’t going to continue to play ’catch me if you can’, again, with Denver’s defense.