Start the new NFL season is slowly approaching, and these are the players that can make a breakout in the AFC. Now comes the second part of the presentation.
AFC North is the division in which play some of the best defenses in the league. However, this season the offenses of these teams could make big problems to their opponents.
Baltimore Ravens had big problems with injuries last season and that is why they missed the playoffs. For the first time in Harbaugh-Flacco era they had a losing season. This year the Ravens offense will depend on the veterans like Flacco, Smith, Wallace and Forset, but one young player could find his place and become a true star. There will be a lot of room behind these players and Maxx Williams can use that. He plays tight end and is entering his second NFL season. Williams can be very important in blocking an opponent, but also in the red zone, where Flacco will finally have big target.
Cincinnati Bengals have a very talented roster, but could not manage to make a step in the right direction and win a Super Bowl. This preseason team lost some talented players, but it’s just an opportunity for others to jump into the first plan. Cedric Ogbuehi is a player in whom the Bengals have a lot of confidence and that could make a big step forward this season. Very talented tackle played only five games last season, but this year should get assignment to keep Andy Dalton safe. If he manages to stay healthy, Ogbuehi could finish in the Pro Bowl.
Cleveland Browns are making roster from the zero in order to be a worthy opponent to everyone in the league. There’s a new coach, Robert Griffin III will be the starting quarterback, and Josh Gordon’s suspension was lifted. However, Duke Johnson could be the star of the season. Talented running back indicated last season that he has the potential to become a star. Very quick and light on his feet, Johnson easily avoid opponents. He should be of great help to RG III, as he is very good at catching the balls from the backfield.
Pittsburgh Steelers are faced with big problems this offseason. Martavis Bryant will miss the year due to the suspension, while Le’Veon Bell could be suspended for the first four weeks. This significantly weakens the offense, as there are no real star next to Antonio Brown no real star. Markus Wheaton could use that and become a very important player for Ben Roethlisberger. Wheaton has a solid season behind him, but what he lacks is consistency. He must show that is reliable and that he can win one on one battles.
AFC West gave us the champion last year, but will that happen this season?
Denver Broncos won the Super Bowl in February, but after that followed major changes. Several important players left Colorado, but it left room for players from other plan to get on the big stage. After Peyton Manning’s retirement, is expected that the Broncos will become defense first team. Shane Ray will be a very important player for the new Broncos. Ray enters his second NFL season and he is already well acquainted with the way of Wade Phillips. This year, talented linebacker should get more freedom in the game, and find a lot of room, as the opposing offensive line will to focus to stop Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware.
Oakland Raiders made a step in the right direction last season, and now are expected to continue that way. Combination of youth and experience should return the silver and black on the top of the AFC West, and then the NFL. Derek Carr is proven to be very good quarterback, and his most reliable targets are Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree. This season, he could pay a little more attention to his young tight end, Clive Watford. On a number of occasions last season, Clive showed that he has the safe hands and can be trusted target as a team approaching the end zone. Watford is expected to be the starter, ahead of veteran Michael Rivera.
Kansas City Chiefs depend on Jamal Charles, fantastic running back. Beside him, Alex Smith has only two reliable players, Jeremy Maclin and Travis Kelce. This makes things significantly easier for the Chiefs opponents, because they do not need to specifically prepare for the other players in the offense. However, this season is another wide receiver could make big problems opposing defenses. Chris Conley had only 17 catches last year, but that figure could be much higher this season. He is expected to use the space in the middle. As with all wide receivers, Conley has to show that he is reliable and has safe hands. Space for the young players will certainly be, and it is up to him to use it and explode this season.
San Diego Chargers missed the playoffs in the past two seasons. Last year they finished with just four wins, which is devastating because this team can do much better. In order to be competitive this year in the fight for high rankings Melvin Gordon will have to play the best he can. Running back arrived in the league last year and all expected him to be a new LaDainian Tomlinson. That put too much pressure on Gordon, who did not shine in his rookie season, but now there are no more excuses. Melvin will be the starting running back and he will get a lot of balls. He must use that to find holes in the opposing defensive line and get to end zone.