The NFL has had a rough season with a lot of injuries taking typical playoff teams out of the running. However, the race for the Super Bowl is heating up with a lot of key AFC teams looking to take that heralded spot. With a lot of close records and a few surprise, the AFC Power Rankings were incredibly close to call but check out the teams below!
1. New England Patriots (8-2) : Was there any doubt that the Patriots would be at the top of this AFC power ranking list? Tom Brady is playing better than ever eve though he’s missing Julian Edelman. Other than the Steelers, New England has a relatively easy end to their season and are all but confirmed to be in the playoffs this year. Their elite running backs have easily filled the void that the star wide receiver left behind. Mike Gillislee, James White, Rex Burkhead, and Dion Lewis have made it nearly impossible for a defense to know what play could be called on offense now that they can play almost any position. With their defense constantly improving and some dominating games recently, can anyone stop them from making the Super Bowl this year?
2. Pittsburgh Steelers (8-2) : Ben Roethlisberger might not be having the year Tom Brady is having, but the Steelers are no opponent to scoff at. Antonio Brown was just named AFC Offensive Player of the Week after having 10 receptions, 3 touchdowns, and 144 yards of offense against the Titans. Easily one of the best wide receivers (if not the best) in football right now, Brown is nearly impossible to defend. Helping out the offense is also one of the greatest running backs of all time: Le’Veon Bell who might be the highest paid running backs in history after this season. With fearsome linebacker James Harrison back after some injuries, this Steelers team is looking to upset the reigning Super Bowl Champions this season.
3. Kansas City Chiefs (6-4) : The Chiefs had one of the hottest starts to the season but have slowly simmered out as time has gone on. Yet, this Andy Reid coached team is not out of the playoff running yet and are known to make a comeback. Rookie running back Kareem Hunt alongside Kansas City star Tyreek Hill have become a brutal duo on the ground. Not to mention, Alex Smith is one of the hardest working quarterbacks in the AFC and the league. While he’s never gotten the amount of credit as other franchise quarterbacks, he’s definitely one of the more talented guys in the league. With dynamic threat Travis Kelce around to help out with some trick plays, the Chiefs could be poised for a late season comeback. Like the Patriots, they should have a pretty easy finish to 2018, so here’s hoping they can maintain a winning streak.
4. Jacksonville Jaguars (7-3) : In a move that pains New York Giants fans hearts, Tom Coughlin returned to the Jaguars and has reinvigorated his old team. Last year they finished with a 3-13 record and fourth in their division, now they’re at the top of the AFC South with the potential to make a playoff run. Leonard Fournette has taken the league by storm as the new rookie running back to watch out for this year despite running his mouth during preseason. Nicknamed “Sacksonville,” online, this team has had one of the best turnarounds in the history of football. However, they have a harder finish for this season than other teams and it will be interesting to see if they can maintain their momentum to secure a playoff spot for the first time in years.
5. Los Angeles Chargers (5-5) :While the number five-spot on this power ranking was a tossup between the Chargers and the Titans, ultimately Los Angeles won out. After two games where they have dominated their opponents, it seems like things could finally be coming together for the Chargers. The back half of their season shouldn’t be too difficult for them to come out on top of and Phillip Rivers is desperate for his team to be taken seriously. A team with nothing left to lose, the Chargers will be trying to prove themselves as a playoff ready team. While Mike Williams could potentially be out, Melvin Gordon has become one of the best offensive weapons in the league.
It’s no surprise to see the Patriots or the Steelers top a list about the best teams in the AFC right now, but it’s nice to see Los Angeles and Jacksonville finally get the opportunity to shine. Next week we’ll break down the NFC and who has the best shot at getting to the playoffs.