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Football's AFC mid-season report

We are just past the quarter mark of the NFL season and already we have seen some surprising twists and turns. What is not surprising is the fact that the Denver Broncos look very good. Peyton Manning has such a great presence and command of the offense. What is surprising is the fact that the Denver Broncos have scored so many points at such a staggering pace that they usually have to "call off the dogs" early in the second half (much to my chagrin because Manning is my fantasy quarterback). The Broncos, however, are not the only 5-0 team in the AFC West.The Kansas City Chiefs, who won all of two games last year are also "pitching a shutout" five games into the season. The Indianapolis Colts (4-1) have taken the lead in the AFC South with two very impressive victories against the San Francisco 49ers and the Seattle Seahawks, respectively. The Tennessee Titans (3-2) are in the midst of the toughest part of their schedule, having just faced the Chiefs and going to Seattle, then hosting the 49ers in the next two weeks. 

The Houston Texans are in a world of trouble because of record-breaking quarterback Matt Schaub. In this case, the record I am referencing is four consecutive weeks with an interception returned for a touchdown. He seems to be regressing each week. When a quarterback loses his confidence it is very difficult for them to regroup without a little break from the action. And after listening to Gary Kubiak, the Texans' head coach, it sounds like the struggling Schaub will continue to start for Houston. QB is the most pressure-filled position in sports, and those who play the position must convey confidence to his teammates or else all hope is lost. Change seems inevitble in Houston.

The AFC East is still run by Bill Belicheck, Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. They just lost to the Cinncinatti Bengals, but at 4-1 they are still in prime position to win their division. The Patriots will continue to improve as they regain more weapons offensively in Rob Gronkowski and Danny Amendola, but the loss of Vince Wilfork will affect them. Look for them to sign a veteran defensive tackle in the next few weeks.

I believe the AFC North is the most open division in the AFC. The Bengals have failed to seize control of the division, although a win against the Patriots cannot be understated. Maybe this is the turning point. The Baltimore Ravens are the Super Bowl Champs, and that should count for something, but they do not look the same as they did last year. They are missing a lot of the pieces that were around last year. The poor Cleveland Browns just can't catch a break. To just about everyone's disbelief, they looked to be gaining some momentum with Brian Hoyer as the signal-caller, but now he is lost for the year with a torn ACL. Hoyer was very effective because he got the ball out quicker than any other quarterback in the two-and-a-half games that he played, which hid the fact that the offensive line is definitely not a strong point. Brandon Weeden, on the other hand, holds onto the ball for what seems like an eternity and does not give them the same chance to win. We have seen what the offense looks like with him at the healm, and it is not pretty. Who knows, maybe I'm wrong; they already shocked me by beating the Bengals and being tied for the division lead. Stay tuned for the NFC mid-season report next week.

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