The AFC just saw its biggest talent grab in the history of the NFL. The AFC is far and away so much better then the NFC in any specific category and just the sheer amount of talent that left the NFC to join AFC teams should make this up coming season one to remember. This isn’t a power ranking of the in division teams just looking over what each team did and giving you the run down and who I think will win their respective division.
AFC West is King
Were you expecting something else? A division with Patrick Mahomes, Justin Herbert, Russell Wilson, and Derek Carr is undoubtedly the best division in football and it doesn’t even stop at the quarterback position. The Chargers went on a huge spending splurges acquiring the likes of J.C. Jackson and Kahlil Mack to improve their lackluster defense from a season ago. The key to the chargers success is on the sideline, Brandon Staley isn’t everyone's favorite coach and his heavy analytic coaching style isn’t for everyone but he has the players and personnel to make it work so now it’s a matter of putting it together for him. Fair warning to Staley when management goes out and spends that much money they expect results or someone has to go.
The Raiders as well brought in Chandler Jones from Arizona to form a lethal pass rushing duo with Maxx Crosby and if that wasn’t good they brought in Davante Adams from Green Bay to reunite him with Carr and give them yet another weapon on an already loaded offense. Rock Ya Sin was acquired via trade to help their woeful secondary and Josh McDaniels is the new head coach...let’s just forget about his last coaching tenure.
The move that really kicked to off season into gear was the big Russell Wilson trade from Seattle to Denver; this single move put Denver right up to elite level status, no question. The biggest knock on the Broncos over the years was after Peyton Manning retired they couldn’t find stable quarterback play; and while Teddy Bridgewater will win you some games, it’s hard to envision him winning you a super bowl, Russell Wilson on the other hand has won a Super Bowl and still has gas left in the tank for another Super Bowl push.
Kansas City is really the only team in the AFC West that didn’t get significantly better. Losing Tyrann Mathieu and replacing him with Justin Reid isn’t the end of the world but losing Tyreek Hill is a big deal. There’s no doubt in my mind Mahomes will make it work but when everyone around you gets better it’s still hard to envision a scenario in which the Chiefs make it out on top of this AFC West.
My Winner Prediction: Los Angeles Chargers
AFC North is Runner Up
There isn’t anything bad you can look at in the AFC North to make me think this division won’t be interesting. The reigning AFC champions Cincinnati Bengals look to run it back only this time with a better offensive line. Adding Ali Marpet, Ted Karras and Le’al Collins is a great way to make sure you star quarterback stays upright in big games. Joe Burrow gets his big weapons back and an improved O-line the only thing standing in their way is the rest of the AFC North. NOW PAY JESSIE BATES YOU CHEAP GEEZER MIKE BROWN.
Hospital bills in Baltimore last season made even Dan Snyder hide his wallet. Part of being a great team is having some good luck with injuries and Baltimore just couldn’t catch a break but the past is in the past and there’s no better time for the Ravens to make a run. Lamar Jackson is up for a contract extension and whether he gets paid like the big boys or not all depends on how far he can take the Ravens.
The old Cleveland is gone and the new Cleveland is here, Baker isn’t really gone he’s just done and Deshaun Watson is there for at least five more years. Cleveland also brought in Amari Cooper from Dallas because Dallas is stupid and their star-studded defense remained mostly intact which is a good sign. There are no more excuses for the Browns this year, they need to get it down now. Rounding out the AFC North is Pittsburgh.
While most count out the Steelers it’s important to remember Mike Tomlin hasn’t had a losing record with his Steelers squads and while I don’t see them being great it would be foolish to dismiss them outright considering their building for the future.
My Winner Prediction: Cincinnati Bengals
AFC East has Josh Allen
If I had to pick a division in the AFC that I had to bet my life would win their division it would be to pick Buffalo to slap the rest of the AFC East. Not saying the rest of the AFC East is bad it’s just Buffalo is that good, when you go toe-to-toe with Kansas City without your elite corner then proceed to bring in guys like Von Miller, O.J Howard and Rodger Saffold to shore up any weakness you had it’s easy to say this is the best team in not just the AFC East or AFC but in the entire NFL.
The New England Patriots had an interesting offseason to say the least. After handing out the most guaranteed money ever just one year ago the Patriots took a step back from that and paid the price. Losing J.C. Jackson and Shaq Mason hurts but acquiring DeVante Parker helps with that. Most of the Patriots’ success will come off the back of Mac Jones. His rookie year wasn’t anything special but it was enough to not hold them back but this year he will have to do more to win them games.
Miami Dolphins started the off season in the worst possible way firing stud head coach Brain Flores which then lead to a law suit against the NFL. Good job Stephen Ross. That didn’t stop them from making good moves however, bringing in Mike McDaniel to coach and loads of speedy weapons of offense with the likes of Raheem Mostert, Cedric Wilson and the cheetah Tyreek Hill they also brought in the best offensive linemen in free agency Taron Armstead to improve their bad O-line. Like with the Patriots, the Dolphins success rides on the shoulders of Tua, whether you love him or hate him he has everything any young quarterback could ask for and it’s up to him to put it together.
Ah, the New York Jets, you still suck but you had a good offseason. No major splashes in free agency but bringing in Laken Tomlinson from San Francisco helps the offensive line and C.J Uzomah from the Bengal's should give Zach Wilson a nice security blanket. The Jets biggest moves came in the draft, getting Ahmed “Sauce” Gardner to hopefully be their shut down corner for the future, Garrett Wilson to be Zach Wilson’s favorite target, and Jermaine Johnson because your pass rush can always be better. It’s still weird to say the Jets had a good draft but Joe Douglas has been doing good work since he was hired but it’s not the Jets’ time just yet.
My Winner Prediction: Josh Allen. I mean Buffalo.
AFC South...Do I Have to Do This One?
Welcome to the AFC South, they’ve got Tennessee, they’ve got Indianapolis, they’ve got Houston, and unfortunately they also Jacksonville. How is it whenever the rest of the AFC does anything this division always just seems to be a two team race? Unfortunately, someone has to win this division but that isn’t my problem. What is my problem is the Tennessee Titans fancy themselves competitors and then proceed to trade away A.J Brown and make no moves to improve their defense but go ahead and draft Ryan Tannehill’s replacement because everyone outside of Tennessee saw he was system quarterback with not much upside and gets carried by Derrick Henry...okay.
The Colts had the biggest upgrade at quarterback in the entire offseason and I am not joking. They got rid of Carson Wentz. I don’t care they brought in Matt Ryan all that matter is Carson Wentz is gone. In all seriousness adding Matt Ryan gives them a better option at quarterback without all the stupid turnover Wentz was used to. On defense trading Rock Ya-Sin for Yannick Ngakoue is a huge bonus for the pass rush and defense as a whole and replacing Rock Ya-Sin with Stephon Gilmore is an upgrade comparable to Carson Wentz to Matt Ryan. Everyone knows the Colts ride-or-die with Jonathan Taylor and no matter how much you love Jonathan Taylor a running back can only take a team so far.
The Houston Texans aren’t going to be good and as such they made moves accordingly. Bringing in veterans like Mario Addison and Jerry Hughes is nice but the real prize was in the draft. Derek Stingley is a promising young corner in a Lovie Smith defense and adding Kenyon Green to a bad offensive line is always nice. The Texans game plan is simple, find out what you have with Davis Mills and hope the Browns suck.
Jacksonville, as a totally unbiased sports writer you guys suck. I understand the idea of overpaying to bring in guys but giving Christian Kirk 18 million to be your number one receiver, a guy who has never had a 1,000-yard season is only good for making people forget how stupid it was to bring in Urban Meyer. Adding Evan Engram is essentially adding a lottery scratch off ticket, maybe you win maybe you don’t, maybe he makes a catch or most likely he drops it. Brandon Scherff was necessary as Trevor Lawrence needs protection. Drafting Travon Walker and Devin Lloyd was the biggest moves the Jags made for the defense and if they develop Walker correctly we could be seeing the next Aaron Donald. Even with all that said Jacksonville did get better in the off season and that’s important to remember when building around a franchise quarterback.
My Winner Prediction: Indianapolis Colts, because someone has to win.
That’s what were working with. The AFC is stacked and I can’t wait to see it play out. The road to the Super Bowl will be tough and with this many good teams it’s going to be important to keep playoff seeding in mind as one game could send some teams from home field advantage to wild card in an instant. Let me know how you see the AFC shaping up in the comments below.