Last week, in my inaugural post for Ticket King, I examined the NFC contenders. This week, let’s look at the AFC contenders. The following is my short list of AFC contenders in the upcoming NFL season.
Why they will- Had to start here, didn’t I? Well, the perennial contenders did a lot little things this off season before the draft. Their most notable move though, was signing tight end Martellus Bennett. Expect the Patriots to use a lot of two tight end sets now with him and the Gronk. They also added some depth at various positions in the draft. They spent their second round draft choice on Cyrus Jones, a cornerback from Alabama who will help to shore up that secondary. They also added guard Joe Thuney in round three, and wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell in round four. The Patriots will ride this to yet another Super Bowl.
Why they won’t- I’m sorry Patriots fans, Tom Brady did it, not matter what you try to tell us. He had those balls deflated. Now it is time for him to take his punishment.
Why they will- The Steelers have a big time offense, even without wide receiver Martavis Bryant, who will miss the season because of a drug suspension. They needed to continue to rebuild their defense this off season, and they did just that. They spent their first round draft choice on Artie Burns, a cornerback from Miami who will help them in the secondary immediately. In round two they added a safety, Sean Davis, from Maryland. In round three they added Jason Hargrave, a defensive lineman from South Carolina State. All three could start week one. The Stellers will add another Super Bowl to their full trophy case.
Why they won’t- The Steelers will miss Martavis Bryant more than we think. There is also a reason they could be starting three rookies week one on defense. They will win a lot of games, but they will come up just short of the Super Bowl again.
Why they will- The Bengals were Andy Dalton‘s broken hand away from winning their first Super Bowl. They return a loaded roster in 2016 and added even more to it. William Jackson, a cornerback from Houston, and Tyler Boyd, the wide receiver from Pittsburgh will both make an immediate impact. This time Dalton doesn’t break his hand.
Why they won’t- They are the Bengals after all, and they will find a way to muck it up at the wrong time. The only question is how?
Why they will- The Ravens had a ton of injuries last season and there is no way they are as bad as their 5-11 record says they were. There is a reason their team motto is “commitment to arrogance”. There is a reason Joe Flacco is the Derek Jeter of the NFL, meaning, the bigger the game, the better he plays. The Ravens just needed depth this off season, and they accomplished that with 11 draft choices, which will bring that young depth the Ravens are always known for. The Ravens remember who they are in 2016, and ride that to the Super Bowl.
Why they won’t- Um, they might very well be as bad as their 2015 record says they are. They have all kinds of wide receiver issues, and are counting on 37-year-old Steve Smith to feel like playing again. Their vaunted defense isn’t what it used to be. They might do better in 2016, but they won’t win the Super Bowl.
Why they will- This is a really good team, minus one thing. A quarterback. They solved that issue this off season by signing Brock Osweileraway from the Broncos. Who cares if they overpaid. He will outplay his contract anyways. Osweiler will mold quickly with these young receivers, and the Texans will take the league by storm in 2016, winning the Super Bowl.
Why they won’t- Woah partner, let’s slow down. Yes they are a good team, but a quarterback away? I doubt that. And yes they solved their quarterback issues, but it’s not like they traded for Aaron Rodgers. Osweiler has a ton of talent, but he has yet to do anything spectacular. They won’t win the Super Bowl in 2016.
Why they will- This is the NFL’s young rising team. After years in the wandering around in the wilderness, the Raiders are finding a way out of the wilderness. They have a hot young quarterback who could very well be the NFL’s next big superstar at the position. They have a loaded young defense led by All-World linebacker Kahlil Mack. The Raiders stun the world before anyone is paying attention, and win the Super Bowl.
Why they won’t- Let’s slow down and win and make the playoffs first before we talk about winning the Super Bowl. Okay?