Early 2017 AFC Betting Predictions

Posted by Peter Boysen on May 19, 2017 in

With the Denver Broncos down, and with Ben Roethlisberger getting a year older in Pittsburgh, who will get in the way of the New England Patriots this year? The Patriots have dominated the conference for a decade now, but now how long can Tom Brady last? Will this be the year that Andrew Luck finally takes his Colts to the top? Will Derek Carr and the Oakland Raiders bring a title home before the team moves to Las Vegas? Let’s look at some early predictions for some of the more intriguing teams in the AFC.

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Early 2017 AFC Betting Predictions

Indianapolis Colts

Is Andrew Luck really 100% back from that kidney laceration that sidelined him for most of the 2015 season? If he is, are the Colts going to have a decent defense this season? Well, they do have a new general manager — and they picked up some key free agents on the defensive side: linebackers John Simon, Sean Spence and Barkevious Mingo, defensive linemen Jabaal Sheard and Johnathan Hankins, and defensive Darius Butler. The problem is that the Colts still have a Swiss-cheese offensive line. Houston has won the AFC South the past two seasons, but only because every other team in the division was in a shambles. This will be the year that either the Titans or the Colts win it — but I’m still worried about that Colt offensive line. I see Indy finishing 9-7.

New England Patriots

The Patriots have an incredibly tough schedule, including a road stretch that has them playing both Denver and Oakland at altitude, as that Raiders tilt takes place at Stadia Azteca in Mexico City. However, they have simply reloaded at the key positions. They’ve added Dwayne Allen at tight end (with Martellus Bennett departing), and they’ve picked up wideout Brandin Cooks and cornerback Stephon Gilmore. They even are rumored to be pursuing Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman. Will anyone stop the Patriots this year? I see them going 14-2 and taking one of those byes in the AFC playoffs yet again.

Oakland Raiders

Tailback Latavius Murray is out, but Marshawn Lynch is in, bringing Beast Mode to the Bay. Tight end Jared Cook, wideout Cordarrelle Patterson and offensive tackle Marshall Newhouse are in as well. Derek Carr’s leg is healed, and so the Raiders look like an early lock to win that AFC West. I have them going 12-4. But can they beat the Patriots?

Pittsburgh Steelers

If tailback Le’Veon Bell had made it more than a few plays in that playoff game against the New England Patriots, the Pittsburgh Steelers offense might have taken advantage of a Patriots defense that showed a lot of holes last year. Wideouts Antonio Brown and Eli Rogers are joined by Martavis Bryant. Their defense is also a little shaky, but given the way the rules are written, a strong offense is more important anyway. I have the Steelers going 12-4 and winning the AFC North.