' Big D & Chiefman’s OMFL PreviewSeason 7 AFC WEST As you will find with the rest of the AFC, the West division has been dominated by one franchise; the Kansas City Chiefs. Since Coach Bluebean’s arrival in Season 4 they’ve won every regular season division title. This year the Chiefs are deeper and perhaps a bit more balanced than in past years. However the rest of the division also seems improved with the Chargers and Raiders making some nice offseason moves. Can any of the other teams finally challenge Kansas City’s reign? In Predicted Order of Finish Kansas City Chiefs (12-4) Strength: Perhaps the most underrated and overlooked piece of the Kansas City puzzle is now their defensive line. The additions of Casey Hampton and Trent Cole give them as good of a front 4 as there is in the AFC. They’ll be able to apply pressure in this pass happy offense, and even contain a run first force like the Chargers in their own division. Weakness: The linebacking corps isn’t just sub-par, it’s ugly. Coach Bluebean must be hoping that his front takes care of business because they are going to have severe issues with guys like Kelsay, Johnson, or Mitchell having to see starting roles. Deciding Factor: The schedule works out pretty well for Coach Bean to compete for another first round bye. Pay attention to two key midseason contests at home against the Dolphins and Jaguars. This should be a good bellweather of just how deep of a run this year’s squad can have. Oakland Raiders (7-9) Strength: A very good pair of tight ends will help get single coverage on their speedy, yet less physical wide receivers. Look for a big year from Miller and Carlson. Weakness: Perhaps not so much of a weakness as a disappointment. Remember when quarterback Andrew Parris was so highly regarded coming out of the draft. . .in fact he was the headliner. Still he hasn’t progressed and hasn’t impressed league officials. Don’t look for Parris to lead any kind of potent passing attack for the Raiders. Deciding Factor: If this team can get great production out of their nice 1-2 combo at running back (McFadden/Bush) then the Raiders will again be fighting for a playoff spot down the stretch. If not, that means the pressure will be put on Parris, and that likely means a long season in Oakland. San Diego Chargers (7-9) Strength: The defensive secondary led by Dorian Hill and Eric Weddle at the safety positions is as solid as they get. They aren’t spectacular at the corner spots, but Hill and Weddle mean great help in pass coverage and great run support. Weakness: Again another season where Philip Rivers won’t have much to throw to. Mike Thomas is a nice target, but shouldn’t be a team’s #1 target. Malcom Floyd and Ronnie Belle are going to have a hard time getting open against the better secondaries. After that, it gets pretty ugly for the Super Chargers. Deciding Factor: We just don’t think the Chargers improved enough at the skill positions to mount a serious threat to the Chiefs, or to make a legitimate playoff run. Denver Broncos (4-12) Strength: The last minute signing of Dwight Freeny rounds out a very nice defensive front. Jamal Williams is one of the more underrated defensive tackles in the league. Jarvis Moss is a converted linebacker that has serious skills at the end position. It will be interesting to see how this group progresses. Weakness: Who is Darcel McBath? Never heard of him either? Well he is your starting safety in Denver. He’ll play alongside an aging Bob Sanders. Denver fans are hoping opposing offenses don’t find a way to test these two. Deciding Factor: The talent is there on the field for Denver. However Coach Juan still needs to prove himself in this division. A fairly soft schedule may provide openings, but we just don’t see it happening this year for the Broncs. AFC NORTH The Cleveland Browns always seem to be nipping right at the heels of Cincinnati in this division. They were again last year, but fell just short. We again see this division as a two horse race in Ohio. The Steelers or Ravens just didn’t improve enough in the offseason to make up the gap. Somehow Coach DJDunn always seems to find just enough to hold on to his division crown. The Chicago Kid may just change that this season. In Predicted Order of Finish Cleveland Browns (12-4) Strength: They upgrade from Colt McCoy to Tom Brady. Need I say more? Weakness: For the Firepower they have on offense, the Browns are seriously hurting in the defensive front 7. Their ends are awful, and their tackles weak. If it wasn’t for Mario Moss their linebacking corps would be a complete mess as well. Smoke and mirrors, here we come. Deciding Factor: In one fell swoop they picked up Tom Brady and halfback Earl Bowman. If these two monster additions aren’t enough to finally give the Browns the upper hand against the Bengals, then it’s never going to happen. Cincinnati Bengals (11-5) Strength: No surprise here. The passing game is again going to be this team’s strength. Carson Palmer is a perennial MVP candidate, and the receiving corps is as good from top to bottom as any in the league. Look for lots of 3 and 4 wide sets from this team. Weakness: Again no surprise. The running game is supposed to be improved with the addition of Montario Hardesty? We don’t believe it. They do have three okay backs with McCoy and Hightower alongside Hardesty. The problem is okay just won’t cut it against the powers that be in the AFC. Deciding Factor: We still think the Bengals are playoff-good. We just think they’ll take a backseat to their rivals this year. Not having a viable rushing game is a big hindrance especially come playoff time. However maybe coming in as a wild-card would help take the pressure off the coaching staff and Palmer. Baltimore Ravens (4-12) Strength: The offensive line. Literally. The Longest Yard himself anchors the group at LT. Grubbs, Mach, and Yanda are also great in the middle. They should more than compensate for a bit of a hole at RT with Geoff Schwartz. Weakness: “We want Ray”. Those chants will be heard, and the fans won’t be talking about Lewis. Ray Rice is sorely missed, and Brandon Jones at tailback just isn’t going to cut it in Baltimore. Deciding Factor: Coach Weblink is actually one of the more underrated GM’s in the league, always making nice offseason moves in trades, the draft, and the waiver wire. However we just don’t think that with the power at the top of this division there is much room for another team to join the fight. Pittsburgh Steelers (4-12) Strength: Crabtree, Wallace, Cotchery, and Miller are all great targets in the passing game. Here’s hoping rookie phenom Nile Tuner can get them the ball. Weakness: One thing that a lot of folks don’t realize is the pressure on outside linebackers in this league. Halfbacks are just too quick from sideline to sideline, and tight ends are always a tough cover. That said, Quincy Black and Kameron Wimbly mean a lot of headaches this year for Coach Jethro. Deciding Factor: It is always a testament to true spirit and love of the game and league when you survive a season like last year’s, and for that we commend Coach Jethro. However we just don’t see the remarkable turnaround coming in Season 7. AFC SOUTH The Jaguars have perhaps the most impressive streak in OMFL History, even more impressive than their 25 game winning streak. Jacksonville hasn’t lost a division game since early in Season 3. It’s been 22 consecutive division victories for Jacksonville. 22! No other franchise has had a stranglehold on their division like the Jaguars have, and Coach Dunlap has publically said this year means a lot too him. The Titans and Texans, both greatly improved, might have something to say about that. The rivalries in this division are as deep seeded as any in the league. . .we can’t wait to watch this season play out in the Dirty South! In Predicted Order of Finish Jacksonville Jaguars (14-2) Strength: The foundation of success of this franchise it without a doubt its offensive line. They are a powerful group without any holes. They are bruising in run blocking which keeps paving the way for a freight train of a rushing attack. This group of five is the best in the OMFL and they keep proving it every year. Weakness: The defensive line is a bit of a concern. With the departure of Shawne Merriman the Jags are having to convert linebacker Larry English to play opposite of an aging Aaron Kampman. They have also decided to not sign a replacement defensive tackle and are going to hope either Smith or Ellison can transition from their familiar reserve roles into starters. Deciding Factor: We don’t know how it flew under the radar, but the signing of Reggie Wayne might be the biggest move of any this offseason. Why? Because no other move may have a direct effect on the fate of OMFL Bowl VII like that one. Larry Fitzgerald is somewhere smiling. Tennessee Titans (11-5) Strength: What we think is the game’s best quarterback now resides in Tennessee and their passing attack should be something special. A reworked receiving group that will feature speed and quick strike ability means a whole new style of football for this franchise. Weakness: I know they have some speed at cornerback, but that probably just isn’t going to cut it when you’ve got to face Fitzgerald, Wayne, Johnson, and White four times a year. Coach Ox better have these guys on the practice field finding some ways to slow down opponents or it will be another long year. Deciding Factor: This one is fairly simple. The Titans haven’t defeated Coach Dunlap’s Jaguars since about 1942 before the War. Until that happens they are going to have a hard time getting in the right mental state of mind to be competitive week in and week out. Houston Texans (10-6) Strength: Without a doubt the best wide receiver combo in the OMFL is the fearsome duo of Andre Johnson and Roddy White. Last season they helped Matt Schaub to a league record 5500 yards and a league MVP. Weakness: Without Mario Williams there’s reason for a lot of concern about the defensive line. We don’t see how they get pressure on Stafford or Brees, and we can’t dream up a way they’ll be effective stopping a heavy Jacksonville rush. Pray the offense scores 40 a game. Deciding Factor: The taste of playoff football was a great experience for Coach Henry, and we expect this group to be hungry to make improvements on their wild-card round appearance. We see another great year for the Texans. Indianapolis Colts (4-12) Strength: Peyton is still Peyton. Still clearly the leader of this franchise and a difference maker every single week. Weakness: The offensive line has some holes that will be exposed by the aggressive defenses in this conference. Peyton may spend a lot of time on the turf this year. Deciding Factor: The Colts have run into a buzzsaw again this year, that being the rest of the AFC South who all have high powered offenses and playoff aspirations. This just isn’t the Colts year. AFC EAST Once upon a time, in a far far away land, there lived a big evil beast. A monster so fearsome that it dominated an entire region for a period of 6 seasons. This beast was called the Patriots. Legend says they were the only franchise to appear is every single OMFL post-season. This reign had terrorized even the most formidable of opponents, including some heroes from South Beach who were themselves champions of their people. In Season 7 it is said those heroes came north to slay the beast and put an end to its monstrous existence. Will the heroes prevail? Only time will tell. . . In Predicted Order of Finish Miami Dolphins (12-4) Strength: The receivers on this team are what is putting this franchise over the top. Teddy Ginn is back which just adds to their depth. Yes it is rubber armed Chad Henne throwing them the ball, but last year it didn’t matter and we don’t see why it would this year. Weakness: The defensive line has glaring issues, including ends who can’t do much else than plus holes and a tackle that isn’t strong enough to move most centers around. The Dolphins are going to need a lot of help from their solid linebackers behind this dreadful group. Deciding Factor: With the monkey finally off his back, we expect Coach Mustang will play much looser especially in big games. It remains to be seen whether this takes his game to a new level or he loses his edge. New England Patriots (11-5) Strength: We really like the running game now in New England. DeAngelo Williams is a proven superstar and Davis backing him up should get some yards as well. A nice offensive line opening holes means a lot of rushes this year in New England. Weakness: I’m sorry, what? You traded away Tom Brady, and you are expecting us not to take note? The league has always talked about the ‘Brady Factor’ in New England. With Tom gone, let’s see just how big of a factor that was. Deciding Factor: Was it Brady, or that great offensive line that made Brady look great? We think it was a combo and with that line largely intact and now blocking for Williams we don’t see much of a drop off. However in the highly competitive AFC just a slight drop off may mean the first missed postseason for this franchise. Buffalo Bills (3-13) Strength: MJD. Another very good running team with CJ Spiller and Marshawn Lynch a great 1-2 combo. Weakness: We know the Bills have had to circle the wagons and try to dig themselves out of a deep hole from the beginning of this version, but their offensive line is still in shambles. It may be Doughtery’s Last Stand behind this group. Deciding Factor: We can slice and dice it many ways, but there’s just no way this franchise is positioned to make a playoff run this season. New York Jets (2-14) Strength: Antonie Cromartie and Darrelle Revis still combine for the best cornerback tandem in the AFC. They are only rivaled by the group in Arizona. Weakness: The middle part of the offensive line is going to be a big issue. Luckily for Coach GREx6G Chris Johnson will be running away from the middle of the field most of the time. Deciding Factor: All the individual pieces are here to make this football team really competitive. We really are rooting for Coach Greg to finally turn the corner.