2013 NFL Preview

2013 NFL Preview: AFC

 

smagoloff@miamiherald.com

AFC EAST

BILLS

Coach: Doug Marrone (first season).

Key additions: QB Kevin Kolb (Cardinals), DE Alan Branch (Seahawks), LB Jerry Hughes (Colts), LB Manny Lawson (Bengals), QB EJ Manuel (draft), WR Robert Woods (draft), LB Kiko Alonso (draft), WR Marquise Goodwin (draft), S Duke Williams (draft), K Dustin Hopkins (draft).

Key losses: OG Andy Levitre (Titans), QB Ryan Fitzpatrick (Titans), S George Wilson (Titans), LB Nick Barnett (Redskins), DE Kyle Moore (Bears), K Rian Lindell (Bucs), LB Shawne Merriman (retired), DE Chris Kelsay (retired), CB Terrence McGee (free agent).

Outlook: New coach Marrone will rely on a fellow NFL newbie, rookie quarterback EJ Manuel. But Manuel injured his left knee in the second game of the preseason and required minor surgery that will keep him out until the start of the regular season. In his first two preseason games, he was 26-of-33 passing for 199 yards and two touchdowns.

DOLPHINS

Coach: Joe Philbin (7-9, second season).

Key additions: WR Mike Wallace (Steelers), WR Brandon Gibson (Rams), CB Brent Grimes (Falcons), TE Dustin Keller (Jets), T Tyson Clabo (Falcons), LB Dannell Ellerbe (Ravens), LB Philip Wheeler (Raiders), G Lance Louis (Bears), DE Dion Jordan (draft), CB Jamar Taylor (draft), T Dallas Thomas (draft), CB Will Davis (draft), LB Jelani Jenkins (draft).

Key losses: WR Davone Bess (Browns), LB Karlos Dansby (Cardinals), T Jake Long (Rams), LB Kevin Burnett (Raiders), RB Reggie Bush (Lions), CB Sean Smith (Chiefs), TE Anthony Fasano (Chiefs), WR Marlon Moore (49ers), S Tyrone Culver (free agent).

Outlook: A 2012 season of emergence for Ryan Tannehill, Brian Hartline and Cameron Wake has turned into a 2013 season of expectation. Wallace is the deep threat that was missing last season, but Bush’s exit left a void at running back, and offensive line is a concern. The retooled defense should make more plays.

PATRIOTS

Coach: Bill Belichick (151-57, 14th season with Patriots, 187-101 in 18 seasons overall).

Key additions: WR Danny Amendola (Rams), QB Tim Tebow (Jets), RB LeGarrette Blount (Buccaneers), DT Tommy Kelly (Raiders), RB Leon Washington (Seahawks), S Adrian Wilson (Cardinals), T Will Svitek (Falcons), LB Jamie Collins (draft), WR Aaron Dobson (draft), CB Logan Ryan (draft), S Duron Harmon (draft), WR Josh Boyce (draft).

Key losses: WR Wes Welker (Broncos), WR Brandon Lloyd (free agent), TE Aaron Hernandez (released), WR Deion Branch (free agent), S Patrick Chung (Eagles), DE Trevor Scott (Buccaneers), G Donald Thomas (Colts), RB Danny Woodhead (Chargers), CB Will Allen (Cowboys), DT Kyle Love (Jaguars).

Outlook: Perhaps no team wants the season to start more than the Patriots in the wake of the Hernandez mess. There was a lot of talent turnover, but as always, it’s difficult to count out Tom Brady and Belichick.

JETS

Coach: Rex Ryan (34-30, fifth season).

Key additions: CB Dee Milliner (draft), DT Sheldon Richardson (draft), QB Geno Smith (draft), TE Kellen Winslow (Patriots), K Billy Cundiff (Redskins), LB Antwan Barnes (Chargers), RB Chris Ivory (Saints), S Dawan Landry (Jaguars), RB Mike Goodson (Raiders), G Willie Colon (Steelers), DT Antonio Garay (Chargers), G Stephen Peterman (Lions), G Brian Winters (draft).

Key losses: CB Darrelle Revis (Bucs), S Yeremiah Bell (Cardinals), RB Shonn Greene (Titans), S LaRon Landry (Colts), DT Sione Po’uha (free agent), LB Bart Scott (free agent), LB Bryan Thomas (free agent), QB Tim Tebow (Patriots), G Matt Slauson (Bears), T Jason Smith (Saints), S Eric Smith (free agent), G Brandon Moore (retired), TE Dustin Keller (Dolphins), DE Mike DeVito (Chiefs), WR Chaz Schilens (Lions).

Outlook: Tebow is gone from Ryan’s circus, but quarterback remains an issue as Mark Sanchez and rookie Smith were in a close battle for the woeful Jets.

AFC NORTH

RAVENS

Coach: John Harbaugh (54-26, sixth season).

Key additions: QB Caleb Hanie (Broncos), WR Brandon Stokley (Broncos), TE Dallas Clark (Buccaneers), TE Visanthe Shiancoe (Patriots), C A.Q. Shipley (Colts), DT Brandon Williams (draft), DE Chris Canty (Giants), DE Marcus Spears (Cowboys), LB Elvis Dumervil (Broncos), LB Daryl Smith (Jaguars), LB Arthur Brown (draft), S Michael Huff (Raiders), S Matt Elam (draft).

Key losses: WR Anquan Boldin (49ers), C Matt Birk (retired), G Bobbie Williams (free agent), NT Ma’ake Keomeatu (free agent), DE Ryan McBean (free agent), LB Ray Lewis (retired), LB Dannell Ellerbe (Dolphins), LB Paul Kruger (Browns), LB Brendon Ayanbadejo (free agent), LB Ricky Brown (free agent), CB Cary Williams (Eagles), S Ed Reed (Texans), S Bernard Pollard (Titans), S Sean Considine (free agent).

Outlook: The Super Bowl XLVII champs are without fixtures Lewis, Reed, Birk and others, but still have Joe Flacco, Ray Rice and a typically strong Ravens defense.

BENGALS

Coach: Marvin Lewis (79-80-1, 11th season).

Key additions: TE Tyler Eifert (draft), RB Giovani Bernard (draft), DE Margus Hunt (draft), LB James Harrison (Steelers), S Shawn Williams (draft), QB Josh Johnson (Browns), QB John Skelton (Cardinals), G Mike Pollack (Panthers), TE Alex Smith (Browns).

Key losses: K Josh Brown (Giants), CB Nate Clements (free agent), S Chris Crocker (free agent), QB Bruce Gradkowski (Steelers), LB Thomas Howard (free agent), LB Manny Lawson (Bills), RB Brian Leonard (Bucs), DT Pat Sims (Raiders), CB Jason Allen (free agent).

Outlook: Quarterback Andy Dalton and receiver A.J. Green, both continued to grow in their second seasons — scary — and Dalton is getting more help. The Bengals addressed their needs for offensive playmakers by drafting mobile tight end Eifert and Bernard, the first running back to go off the board. And Harrison adds another dimension to a fantastic defensive front seven.

BROWNS

Coach: Rob Chudzinski (first season).

Key additions: WR Devone Bess (Dolphins), WR David Nelson (Bills), LB Barkevious Mingo (draft), CB Leon McFadden (draft), DE Quentin Groves (Cardinals), LB Paul Kruger (Ravens), DE Desmond Bryant (Raiders), TE Kellen Davis (Bears), QB Jason Campbell (Bears), K Shayne Graham (Texans).

Key losses: DT Frostee Rucker (Cardinals), CB Sheldon Brown (free agent), WR Josh Cribbs (Raiders), LB Scott Fujita (retired), P Reggie Hodges (free agent), QB Josh Johnson (Bengals), WR Mohamed Massaquoi (Jets), T Tony Pashos (Redskins), DE Juqua Parker (free agent), TE Ben Watson (Saints), TE Alex Smith (Bengals), LB Chris Gocong (free agent), S Usama Young (Raiders), LB Emmanuel Acho (Eagles), K Phil Dawson (49ers), QB Colt McCoy (49ers).

Outlook: Running back Trent Richardson showed he is a franchise player as a rookie, but young quarterback Brandon Weeden needed more than Bess and Nelson.

STEELERS

Coach: Mike Tomlin (63-33, seventh season).

Key additions: QB Bruce Gradkowski (Bengals), TE Matt Spaeth (Bears), OT Guy Whimper (Jaguars), CB William Gay (Cardinals), DE/OLB Jarvis Jones (draft), RB Le’Veon Bell (draft), WR Markus Wheaton (draft), S Shamarko Thomas (draft), QB Landry Jones (draft), CB Terry Hawthorne (draft).

Key losses: RB Rashard Mendenhall (Cardinals), WR Mike Wallace (Dolphins), OT Max Starks (Chargers), G Willie Colon (Jets), NT Casey Hampton (free agent), LB James Harrison (Bengals), CB Keenan Lewis (Saints), S Will Allen (Cowboys), S Ryan Mundy  (Giants).

Outlook: The Steelers were battling preseason injuries in their fight to move on from last season’s 8-8 mark — their first nonwinning campaign under Tomlin. Rookie Bell, who was running as the starter, had a midfoot sprain, and Spaeth had surgery for a lisfranc injury. They were expected to help replace the offense lost in Mendenhall and Wallace. Also, their schedule is tough.

AFC SOUTH

TEXANS

Coach: Gary Kubiak (59-53, eighth season).

Key additions: S Ed Reed (Ravens), FB Greg Jones (Jaguars), P Shane Lechler (Raiders), S D.J. Swearinger (draft), LB Sam Montgomery (draft), WR DeAndre Hopkins (draft), RT Brennan Williams (draft), RB Dennis Johnson (undrafted free agent), TE Ryan Griffin (draft).

Key losses: TE/FB James Casey (Eagles), S Glover Quin (Lions), DE/OLB Connor Barwin (Eagles), RB Justin Forsett (Jaguars), CB Alan Ball (Jaguars), P Donnie Jones (Eagles), WR Kevin Walter (Titans).

Outlook: With back-to-back playoff appearances and a talented roster whose stars are still in their prime, expectations are high. Houston went 12-4 last season, and quarterback Matt Schaub played in all 16 games after missing six in 2011. He passed for 4,008 yards, and still has Andre Johnson, who is coming off of a 112-catch campaign with a career-high 1,598 yards. J.J. Watt has shown he can dominate on defense, and now he wants to join the offense as a part-time tight end.

COLTS

Coach: Chuck Pagano (2-2, second season).

Key additions: RB Ahmad Bradshaw (Giants), WR Darrius Heyward-Bey (Raiders), S LaRon Landry (Jets), DE Bjoern Werner (draft), G Hugh Thornton (draft), C Khaled Holmes (draft), LB Erik Walden (Packers), T Gosder Cherilus (Lions), G Donald Thomas (Patriots), CB Greg Toler (Cardinals), DT Aubrayo Franklin (Chargers), QB Matt Hasselbeck (Titans), DT Ricky Jean Francois (49ers).

Key losses: WR Donnie Avery (Chiefs), WR Austin Collie (49ers), LB Moise Fokou (Titans), DE Dwight Freeney (Chargers), DT Antonio Johnson (Titans), T Winston Justice (free agent), RB Mewelde Moore (free agent), CB Jerraud Powers (Cardinals), S Tom Zbikowski (Bears), LB Jerry Hughes (Bills).

Outlook: It’s all about Andrew Luck for the Colts, who bolstered the offensive line, added Heyward-Bey as another deep target for the impressive second-year quarterback and brought in Bradshaw to lift the running game. Werner was drafted to rush the passer.

JAGUARS

Coach: Gus Bradley (first season).

Key additions: LB Geno Hayes (Bears), CB Marcus Trufant (Seahawks), T Luke Joeckel (draft), S Jonathan Cyprien (draft), CB Dwayne Gratz (draft), WR Ace Sanders (draft), QB Denard Robinson (draft), DT Roy Miller (Bucs), RB Justin Forsett (Texans), CB Alan Ball (Texans), DT Sen’Derrick Marks (Titans), QB Mike Kafka (Eagles).

Key losses: WR Laurent Robinson (free agent), T Eben Britton (Bears), CB Derek Cox (Chargers), RB Rashad Jennings (Raiders), FB Greg Jones (Texans), DT Terrance Knighton (Broncos), CB Rashean Mathis (Lions), LB Kyle Bosworth (Giants), LB Daryl Smith (Ravens), S Dawan Landry (Jets), CB Aaron Ross (Giants), DT C.J. Mosley (Lions).

Outlook: Blaine Gabbert beat out Chad Henne for the quarterback job, and he should have better protection than last season because of No. 2 overall pick Joeckel. Running back Maurice Jones-Drew will have to play more than the six games he managed in 2012.

TITANS

Coach: Mike Munchak (15-17, third season).

Key additions: S Bernard Pollard (Ravens), S George Wilson (Bills), G Andy Levitre (Bills), RB Shonn Greene (Jets), TE Delanie Walker (49ers), G Chance Warmack (draft), WR Justin Hunter (draft), LB Zaviar Gooden (draft), CB Blidi Wreh-Wilson (draft), C Brian Schwenke (draft), QB Ryan Fitzpatrick (Bills), G Rob Turner (Rams), DT Sammie Hill (Lions), G Chris Spencer (Bears), WR Kevin Walter (Texans), DT Antonio Johnson (Colts), T Barry Richardson (Rams).

Key losses: G Steve Hutchinson (retired), S Jordan Babineaux (free agent), TE Jared Cook (Rams), C Leroy Harris (Lions), G Deuce Lutui (free agent), RB Javon Ringer (free agent), LB Will Witherspoon (Rams), QB Matt Hasselbeck (Colts), WR Lavelle Hawkins (49ers), G Eugene Amano (free agent).

Outlook: The offensive line improved in 2012, as evidenced by Chris Johnson’s 1,243-yard rushing season, and should be better in 2013 with Levitre and Warmack. Pollard adds physicality on defense.

AFC WEST

BRONCOS

Coach: John Fox (21-11, third season with Broncos, 94-82 overall in 11 seasons).

Key additions: WR Wes Welker (Patriots), LB Shaun Phillips (Chargers), CB Quentin Jammer (Chargers), LB Stewart Bradley (Cardinals), CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (Eagles), DT Sylvester Williams (draft), RB Montee Ball (draft), CB Kayvon Webster (draft), G Louis Vazquez (Chargers), DT Terrance Knighton (Jaguars), C Ryan Lilja (Chiefs).

Key losses: DE Elvis Dumervil (Ravens), CB Travis Porter (Raiders), DT Justin Bannan (Lions), LB Keith Brooking (free agent), QB Calib Hanie (Ravens), LB D.J. Williams (Bears), DT Ty Warren (free agent), S Jim Leonhard (Saints), WR Brandon Stokely (Ravens), RB Willis McGahee (free agent), LB Joe Mays (Texans).

Outlook: Quarterback Peyton Manning led a Broncos revival with the second-highest scoring offense last season, and it could be better with Welker and Ball. Von Miller’s suspension looms on defense, though.

CHIEFS

Coach: Andy Reid (first season with Chiefs, 130-93-1 overall in 14 seasons).

Key additions: QB Alex Smith (49ers), WR Donnie Avery (Rams), T Eric Fisher (draft), TE Travis Kelce (draft), QB Chase Daniel (Saints), DE Mike DeVito (Jets), CB Dunta Robinson (Falcons), CB Sean Smith (Dolphins), LB Frank Zombo (Packers), S Husain Abdullah (free agent), LB Zac Diles (Titans), TE Anthony Fasano (Dolphins), LB Akeem Jordan (Eagles), S Quintin Demps (Texans).

Key losses: T Eric Winston (Cardinals), TE Kevin Boss (free agent), DT Glenn Dorsey (49ers), WR Steve Breaston (free agent), LB Brandon Siler (free agent), DE Ropati Pitoitua (Titans), G Ryan Lilja (Broncos), G Russ Hochstein (free agent), RB Peyton Hillis (Bucs), QB Matt Cassel (Vikings), QB Brady Quinn (Seahawks).

Outlook: Reid and Smith offer a fresh start. Remember, Smith was atop the NFL in quarterback rating before a concussion opened the door for Colin Kaepernick.

RAIDERS

Coach: Dennis Allen (4-12, second season).

Key additions: S Charles Woodson (Packers), LB Kevin Burnett (Dolphins), WR Josh Cribbs (Browns), QB Matt Flynn (Seahawks), T Alex Barron (free agent), CB Mike Jenkins (Cowboys), RB Rashad Jennings (Jaguars), CB D.J. Hayden (draft), T Menelik Watson (draft), S Usama Young (Browns), LB Nick Roach (Bears), CB Tracy Porter (Broncos).

Key losses: P Shane Lechler (Texans), TE Brandon Myers (Giants), LB Philip Wheeler (Giants), S Matt Giordano (Rams), RB Mike Goodson (Jets), DT Tommy Kelly (Patriots), LB Rolando McClain (Ravens), QB Carson Palmer (Cardinals), DE Richard Seymour (free agent), DE Matt Shaughnessy (Cardinals), S Michael Huff (Ravens), DT Desmond Bryant (Browns), WR Darrius Heyward-Bey (Colts), QB Matt Leinart (free agent), LB Omar Gaither (free agent).

Outlook: Flynn gets a chance to start at quarterback, but can running back Darren McFadden stay healthy?

CHARGERS

Coach: Mike McCoy (first season).

Key additions: CB Derek Cox (Jaguars), OT King Dunlap (Eagles), LB Dwight Freeney (Colts), TE John Phillips (Cowboys), OG Chad Rinehart (Bills), OT Max Starks (Steelers), RB Danny Woodhead (Patriots), OT D.J. Fluker (draft), LB Manti Te’o (draft), WR Keenan Allen (draft).

Key losses: LB Antwan Barnes (Jets), S Atari Bigby (free agent), CB Antoine Cason (Cardinals), NT Aubrayo Franklin (Colts), OT Jared Gaither (free agent), NT Antonio Garay (Jets), DB Quentin Jammer (Broncos), DE Vaughn Martin (Dolphins), LB Shaun Phillips (Broncos), LB Takeo Spikes (free agent), OG Louis Vasquez (Broncos).

Outlook: Former Broncos offensive coordinator McCoy takes over the Chargers, who are trying to regroup after a difficult 2012 season. Quarterback Philip Rivers got little help from a porous offensive line, and injuries already have ended the 2013 seasons of linebacker Melvin Ingram and receiver Danario Alexander.

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