Week 1: AFC Power Rankings


1. New England Patriots
— The running game and defense hid some slippage from Tom Brady’s game in 2018. Now the Patriots go out and gamble on Antonio Brown and are crossing their fingers that Josh Gordon makes it through the season. If those two even go AWOL, this group will still be there again in January. For a run-heavy team, the offensive line will be a key area to watch in week 1 vs the Steelers as it’s a unit in transition with no David Andrews and Isaiah Wynn starting at left tackle —

2. Kansas City Chiefs
— The Chiefs are primed to be the greatest offensive show once again with Patrick Mahomes and weapons galore around him. It won’t matter that Kansas City can’t stop anybody, at least until January. What wild times in the NFL with the Chiefs signing a noted child abuser in Tyreek Hill to a massive extension that gets lost in a Friday news dump —

3. Pittsburgh Steelers
— Buy the hype surrounding the Steelers that strong chemistry will matter in 2019 because it does. Look for the Steelers to prove that this offense rolls on without Antonio Brown with an improvement on limiting turnovers and a faster more dynamic defense take necessary strides —

4. Baltimore Ravens
— The team everyone seems to forget that won the division in 2018. The defense is going to ball again and the LaMarr Jackson experiment to keep working —

5. Cleveland Browns
— How rookie head coach Freddie Kitchens handles all the personalities will be something to watch but there is just too much talent offensively for this team not to push for a 10 win season. The AFC North sending three playoff teams is a possibility.

6. Los Angeles Chargers
— Chargers last three seasons: 5-11, 9-7, 12-4. Does the arrow keep going up? Look for a 2-3 win step back in 2019–.

7. Houston Texans
— Such a wildcard where it won’t be a surprise if the Texans have a repeat season of 11-5 or take a big step back to 7-9. Luckily for the Texans Deshaun Watson is special and can hide a lot of holes —

8. Jacksonville Jaguars
— A great sleeper in the AFC. That defense has the talent to be really special and Nick Foles should improve the offense by close to a touchdown a game where Jacksonville will be a legitimate threat for a division tile —

9. Tennessee Titans
— Have the look of another borderline playoff team where we’ll likely see Ryan Tannehill replace Marcus Mariotta at somepoint —

10. Indianapolis Colts
— The Andrew Luck retirement saw a talented Colts team go from Super Bowl Contenders to a fringe playoff team. Still, don’t expect a huge drop off. This is a team deep enough with a capable enough QB in a division that is very winnable.

11. Denver Broncos
— Having a Super Bowl caliber defense is long gone but it’s still a good enough defense where if Joe Flacco finds a way to turn back the clock, Denver could see a 2-3 improvement in the win column and compete for a wild card spot and 2nd in the division.

12. Buffalo Bills
— The Bills imposing front-seven is something for Bills fans can get excited about but whether this group improves on a 6-10 season comes down to Josh Allen —

13. Oakland Raiders
— A young group but a much more talented group than last season where there’s going to be a lot of bumps in the road again but here’s betting the Derek Carr and Jon Gruden combo takes major strides in 2019 —

14. New York Jets
— All eyes will be on the development of Sam Darnold and obviously Le’Veon Bell. Bell’s going to learn quickly how good in he had in Pittsburgh —

15. Cincinnati Bengals
— Decimated by injuries before the regular season even started and with Andy Dalton still behind center, there is little to get excited about in Bengal country.

16. Miami Dolphins
— The tank is on —

About The Author

William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at wdepaoli@insidepittsburghsports.com