(teams listed in order of how I predict them to finish in the division)
Indianapolis Colts – Reggie Wayne will lead the Colts in receptions and receiving yards, Harrison in touchdowns. Joseph Addai will lead all rookies in rushing yards and be named the NFL rookie of the year. Peyton Manning will finish the season with the most passing yards in the league and in the top three of MVP voting, but will not win the award. The Colts defense will desperately miss David Thornton and Larry Tripplet and finish nowhere near 11th in total defense as they did in 2005. Indianapolis will be the only team from the AFC South to make the playoffs.
Houston Texans – The Texans will finally get their first victory over the Colts in ’06. David Carr will have a career year in passing yards with over 3,600 yards, 25 touchdowns and a completion percentage over 62%. The Texans defense will be the second most improved unit in the league (top fifteen). Andre Johnson will have over 85 receptions, Eric Moulds over 75 and Johnson will be a pro bowler.
Jacksonville Jaguars – Jimmy Smith will be severely missed and no Jaguar receiver will have more than 60 catches. Fred Taylor will finally play in all sixteen games for the first time in three years and eclipse 1,300 rushing yards for the season. There is not, and nor will there be, a quarterback controversy in Jacksonville. Mercedes Lewis will lead all rookie tight ends in receptions.
Tennessee Titans – Billy Volek will start all 16 games for the Titans in ’06. Vince Young will see some spot duty, but not be asked to start a game. Jeff Fisher will not be fired at the end of the season. Chris Brown will start the season as the starting running back, but LenDale White will finish the season as the starter.
Cincinnati Bengals – Chad Johnson will lead the AFC in receptions and receiving yards. Carson Palmer will be the MVP of the league. Marvin Lewis will be named the league’s coach of the year. The Bengals will represent the AFC in the Super Bowl.
Baltimore Ravens – Steve McNair will start the season as the starting quarterback for the Ravens. Derrick Mason will have 92 receptions, Mark Clayton 77. Jamal Lewis will carry the ball 320 times for 1376 yards and Mike Anderson will carry the ball 150 times for 657 yards. Ray Lewis will lead the NFL in tackles, Ed Reed in interceptions.
Pittsburgh Steelers – Cedrick Wilson will have more receptions than rookie Santonio Holmes. Heath Miller will have more receptions than both of them. Ryan Clark will start the season as the starting free safety and lead the team in tackles. Pittsburgh will not make the playoffs.
Cleveland Browns – Kellen Winslow and Braylon Edwards will both return from their injuries for the start of the season. Winslow will lead the team in receptions, Edwards in yards, Jurevicius in receiving touchdowns. Kamerion Wimbley will lead all rookies in the AFC in sacks. D’Qwell Jackson will finish fourth on the team in tackles. Lee Suggs will be released before the beginning of the season.
Miami Dolphins – Ronnie Brown will finish third in the NFL in total yards from scrimmage. Daunte Culpepper will be ready for the start of the season and Joey Harrington will not start a game for the Dolphins in ’06. Miami will have the second most improved passing offense in the league. Donnie Jones will lead the AFC in punting yard average.
New England Patriots – Rodney Harrison will be ready for the start of the season, but suffer a season ending injury again in week five against Miami and retire at the end of the season. Laurence Maroney will finish the season with more rushing yards than Corey Dillon, and more carries. Martin Gramatica will not come even close to replacing Adam Viniateri. The Patriots will make the playoffs, but will not win a playoff game.
New York Jets – Chad Pennington will be ready for the start of the season and will start all 16 games. Brad Smith will return punts and kicks for the Jets, and do well enough to get consideration for rookie of the year. This will be the final year Curtis Martin plays in New York, and may even be his final year in the league. Jonathan Vilma will finish second in the league in tackles.
Buffalo Bills – Kelly Holcomb will be the starting quarterback for the Bills in ’06, Craig Nall will be named the back up. This will be JP Lossman’s final year in Buffalo. By the middle of the season Ashton Youboty, Ko Simpson and Donte Whitner will all be in the starting line up. The Bills will finish with the worst record in the NFL.
Kansas City Chiefs – Larry Johnson will lead the NFL in rushing yards and rushing touchdowns. Trent Green, Willie Roaf and Will Shields will realize how close the team is to the Super Bowl after this season and decide to play their final season in ’07. Tamba Hali will finish his rookie season with 2.5 sacks. Tony Gonzalez will again lead the Chiefs in receptions. Priest Holmes will not carry the football in ’06.
Denver Broncos – Jake Plummer will start all 16 games for the Broncos in ’06. Jay Cutler will not take a snap in the regular season in ’06. Rod Smith will again lead Denver in receptions and receiving yards. Denver will again struggle to pressure the quarterback, and John Lynch will again lead the team in sacks. Ashlie Lelie will be traded to Chicago before the season starts.
San Diego – Donnie Edwards will be traded to the Saints before the beginning of the season. Ladanian Tomlinson will lead the Chargers in receptions with 93. Jay Feely will take over as the starting quarterback in week four after Phillip Rives struggles mightily in his first three starts. San Diego will be the third team from the AFC West to make the playoffs. Keenan McCardell will retire at the end of the season.
Oakland Raiders – Aaron Brooks will start all 16 games for the Raiders and throw for over 3,800 yards and 25 touchdowns. Randy Moss will lead all NFL receivers in touchdowns with 16. Oakland’s defense will again struggle, but be much improved against the pass. Michael Huff will lead all rookies in interceptions with six.