Another Look: Dissecting the AFC, Rankings 3-8


January 25, 2013; Ko Olina, HI, USA; AFC center Chris Myers of the Houston Texans (55) prepares to snap the ball at the line of scrimmage during practice at AFC media day for the 2013 Pro Bowl at the JW Marriott Ihilani Resort. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

First off, my Power Rankings for the AFC, in case you missed them.

1. Denver Broncos
2. New England Patriots
3. Baltimore Ravens
4. Cincinnati Bengals
5. Houston Texans
6. Pittsburgh Steelers
7. Indianapolis Colts
8. Miami Dolphins
9. San Diego Chargers
11. Kansas City Chiefs
12. Tennessee Titans
11. Kansas City Chiefs
12. Cleveland Browns
13. New York Jets
14. Buffalo Bills
15. Jacksonville Jaguars
16. Oakland Raiders

In a survey of the rankings, I placed the Bengals at No. 4, as they have already-proven talent. The Dolphins find themselves at No. 8 on my list, but could just as easily work their way up to No. 6 with a strong finish. The Ravens stay high on the list following a productive draft – that and being the Super Bowl champions.

The first two spots could be interchanged, as they are across professional rankings from NFL analysts. The only reason I have Denver listed above is that the defense makes them a fuller team, and Wes Welker just can’t be replaced by Danny Amendola. Welker provides a different kind of underneath threat.

The Chiefs have some to prove yet, although they are certainly moving up.

Really, the interesting battles this season will be in spots No. 3 – No. 8: the Ravens, Bengals, Texans, Steelers, Colts, and Dolphins. The Ravens and Bengals will undoubtedly vie for the AFC North title, and I think that battle will be determined by who reaches eleven wins on the season.

Taking a step further out, the Wild Card battle will probably be decided by which team performs the best between the Bengals/Ravens, Steelers, and Dolphins, as each of those teams plays the others at least once during the season.

Other important games will be:

Colts @ Bengals

Dolphins @ Steelers

Ravens @ Bengals

Ravens @ Steelers

Dolphins @ Colts
It will certainly be interesting to see how the season plays out, and especially how those No. 3 – No. 8 spots shake out.

I guess we’ll know by playoff time