The AFC is such a loaded conference, with multiple super bowl contenders. Last season, the Cincinnati Bengals came out of nowhere to represent the AFC in the super bowl. Now the conference has them, the likes of the Kansas City Chiefs, Buffalo Bills, etc.
The AFC also saw some of the biggest names go to the conference, such as quarterback Russell Wilson the Denver Broncos, and the Las Vegas Raiders acquiring Devante Adams. This will be a fun and wild conference to watch, but these teams will likely be coming out on top at the end of the season.
Kansas City Chiefs
The Kansas City Chiefs are the safest pick to make the playoffs in all of the NFL. With quarterback Patrick Mahomes on the roster and one of the most dynamic offenses in the NFL, the Chiefs will surely be in the playoffs regardless of a tough division to get through. The loss of Tyreek Hill will be quite the adjustment, but with rookie Skyy Moore’s potential and a great draft by Kansas City, they’re loading up for another dynasty-potential team.
The Buffalo Bills should be better this year than last year’s 11-5 record. The reasoning behind that is the Bills acquired one of the biggest free agents in the NFL this offseason, Von Miller. Buffalo’s most prominent issue on offense was the running game, and the Bills were able to steal James Cook in the draft this year; his impressive outings in the preseason have shown that their offense can be even more versatile this year.
The Cincinnati Bengals still weirdly have a lot to prove to people after losing the Super Bowl to the Los Angeles Rams last season. Maybe it is due to the crazy jump they took last season, going from a 4-12 team to a 10-7 team. However, if there aren’t injuries, the Bengals should not suffer from the super bowl slump.
The Bengals improved their offensive line dramatically with the additions of Tackle La’el Collins, Guard Alex Cappa, and Center Ted Karras. Joe Burrow has proven to be one of the best young quarterbacks in the league, and the Bengals are building a dynasty with the pairs of him, Ja’Marr Chase, and Tee Higgins, with Joe Mixon in the backfield.
The AFC South looks like it is going to be the worst division in the AFC. That falls perfectly into the Tennessee Titans’ hands, as the only real contender for the division will likely be the Indianapolis Colts. However, with a healthy Derrick Henry back and the addition of Treylon Burks, the Titans do not have to worry too much about losing AJ Brown. The Titans may regress from the leaders of the AFC like they were last season, but not enough to miss the playoffs.
The Pittsburgh Steelers have been the story of the preseason. Pittsburgh looks in good hands without quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, as Mitch Trubisky and Kenny Pickett have proven solid throughout the preseason. The Steelers have one of the best defenses, and now with the emerging, Rookie of the Year betting odds favorite George Pickens, the Steelers are in a prime position to make the playoffs again.
Los Angeles Chargers
After being shut out of the playoffs since 2018, this will finally be the year the Los Angeles Chargers make it to the tournament. The Chargers have everything from one of the best young quarterbacks in Justin Herbert, to a dynamic wide receiving core that has only improved and a defense that is strong enough to battle with the best offenses in the NFL, such as the Kansas City Chiefs and the Buffalo Bills.
The Chargers do face the struggle of being likely the best division in all of the AFC in the AFC West, with the Kansas City Chiefs, Las Vegas Raiders, and Denver Broncos all playoff contenders, but the Chargers are ahead of the Raiders and Broncos on paper.
The Indianapolis Colts have a bad taste in their mouths all offseason, as they should have gone to the playoffs last season. With just needing a win over the Jacksonville Jaguars on the season’s final week, the Colts chose a playoff spot, resulting in them having a new signal-caller in Matt Ryan.
This season should be different. The Colts were their own worst enemy last season, and far fewer mistakes will result in closing out games better. Indianapolis should still use the strategy of feeding the rock to running back Jonathan Taylor and hope he maintains an MVP season.