AFC Rankings

BaseballJones

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Oct 1, 2015
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This cbssports.com article on best defenses has me thinking:


They list NE at #3, and the Ravens at #1. Here's their Ravens write-up:

"Did you know that the Ravens finished last season fourth in defensive DVOA? Did you know that they snagged Calais Campbell and Derek Wolfe up front, retained Matt Judon with the franchise added, picked up the best coverage linebacker in the draft with Patrick Queen, added even more depth and versatility to the defensive line with Justin Madubuike, and will now have Marcus Peters for a full season? Do you realize how much depth there is in this secondary? Jimmy Smith is the third-best corner on this team. Brandon Carr isn't even going to start. Oh, and they have Earl Thomas patrolling center field. There are no weaknesses here. Expect big things."

So they have the Ravens' defense #1. And their offense was the league's highest-scoring unit last year with the MVP running the show. And they've still got excellent special teams and the best kicker in the game. With a good coach too (I don't like him but he's really good). Where is the weakness in the Ravens?

Thinking through ranking the AFC teams at the moment, knowing that there's still roster-building going on, and that they may not even have camp for a while....all that taken into account, here's my rankings...

1. KC - Stud offense paired with improved defense. I think they're the best team with the best player.
2. Bal - Stud offense paired with stud defense with the reigning MVP. I think Mahomes is better than Jackson, though, which is why I still have KC above them. But it's damned close.
3. Ten - Need to see if Tannehill is a one-hit wonder or if this team is legit. I think they're really solid.
4. Hou - Watson is an emerging star. BOB runs that team in a very weird way but they're good.
5. NE - Yes, I still think the Patriots are better than anyone else in the AFC East. If Stidham is actually good, this team will be excellent again and much better than people think.
6. Buf - Solid team all the way around - will challenge for the division. Might even win it.
7. Ind - With Rivers at QB, this team has a lot of good pieces.
8. Pit - Roethlisberger back, the Steelers always find a way to be competitive.
9. Mia - I think Flores does a good job with them.
10. NYJ - Should see improvement.
11. Den - Made a lot of good moves in the offseason but I'm not sold on the QB.
12. LAC - Nothing great, but better than the rest.
13. LV - I like some of their offseason moves.
14. Cle - They have some talent.
15. Cin - Burrow will be nice eventually. Way too many holes.
16. Jax - Dismal.

The Mahomes-Jackson battle for AFC supremacy should be very fun to watch. I wish it was still NE on top, but, well, that's life.
 

Saints Rest

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I think I might flip a few -- KC/Bal; NE/Buf; Pit/Mia; LV/Cle.

But overall I think you are pretty close.

Seems like if you just ranked QB's, you would have a pretty similar list. And improved (or regressed) play from any given QB will likely change the fates of the teams pretty significantly. </CaptainObvious>
 

Rudy's Curve

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The Steelers are laughably underrated and I hate them with the fire of a billion suns. They'd be a touchdown favorite over Miami on a neutral field.
 

tims4wins

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The way Mahomes and Jackson play, the window might be small anyway. Keep Stidham upright and NE might be back in business sooner than later.
They're also both going to get paid soon, which is going to change the way they build their rosters. Baltimore kind of sucked after Flacco got paid after their 2012 Super Bowl run. Let's see if they can maintain success once Lamar is making $40m.
 

BaseballJones

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They're also both going to get paid soon, which is going to change the way they build their rosters. Baltimore kind of sucked after Flacco got paid after their 2012 Super Bowl run. Let's see if they can maintain success once Lamar is making $40m.
Same with KC. Mahomes is gonna get $40 mil and that probably will impact their roster construction. He won't be any better of a player, but he'll be making 10x the salary he is right now.
 

Rudy's Curve

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Here's how the oddsmakers view it with their opening win totals (still tons of time for the market to take shape obviously, teams with same totals are ranked with most juice on over to least):

Baltimore 11.5
Kansas City 11.5 (practically same juice)
Pittsburgh 9.5
Indianapolis 9
Buffalo 9
New England 9
Tennessee 8.5
Cleveland 8.5
Los Angeles 8
Denver 7.5
Las Vegas 7.5
Houston 7.5
New York 7
Miami 6.5
Cincinnati 5.5
Jacksonville 5
 

RedOctober3829

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Here is my oh so early AFC rankings
1. KC
2. Baltimore
3. Tennessee
4. Buffalo
5. Houston
6. Pittsburgh
7. Indianapolis
8. New England
9. LA Chargers
10. Cleveland
11. Las Vegas
12. Denver
13. Miami
14. NY Jets
15. Cincinnati
16. Jacksonville
 

tims4wins

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Call me crazy, I think Tennessee misses the playoffs. They're not that good. The offense will take a huge step back. Tannehill will regress. I guess with the 7th playoff spot they could sneak in at 9-7 or whatever but I definitely don't consider them a contender.
 

RedOctober3829

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Call me crazy, I think Tennessee misses the playoffs. They're not that good. The offense will take a huge step back. Tannehill will regress. I guess with the 7th playoff spot they could sneak in at 9-7 or whatever but I definitely don't consider them a contender.
I feel like after the top 2, you could group teams 3 through 9 in a bunch of ways and not be far off. It's a muddled group of mediocre to good teams.
 

nighthob

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Same with KC. Mahomes is gonna get $40 mil and that probably will impact their roster construction. He won't be any better of a player, but he'll be making 10x the salary he is right now.
Mahomes is a much better actual QB, so it might be easier for KC than Baltimore. Jackson's a great RB, but I don't think he's a good enough thrower to make chicken salad from chopped liver.
 

nighthob

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Call me crazy, I think Tennessee misses the playoffs. They're not that good. The offense will take a huge step back. Tannehill will regress. I guess with the 7th playoff spot they could sneak in at 9-7 or whatever but I definitely don't consider them a contender.
It depends on Tractorcito. Tannehill isn't a good QB, but then you don't have to be good when opposing defenses are forced to stack 9 men on the box. The Titans are going to really regret that contract if Henry runs out of juice and RT needs to earn his paycheck.
 

snowmanny

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The Steelers are laughably underrated and I hate them with the fire of a billion suns. They'd be a touchdown favorite over Miami on a neutral field.
I agree with every word in this sentence.

I would probably do:

1. KC
2 .BAL
3. HOU
4. PIT
5. NE
6. IND
7. TEN
8. CIN
9. NYJ
10. BUF
11. DEN
12. MIA
13 LV
14 LAC
15. JAX
16. CLE

I can't imagine a Wild Card coming from the AFC West. I have Buffalo at 10 because I still think Allen sucks.; I don't love Darnold but if the Patriots fall apart the Jets are the next team up. I thought the Steelers had about as impressive an 8-8 season as you'll see. I am looking forward to the Browns return to 1-15.
 

RIrooter09

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1. Baltimore
2. KC
3. Buffalo
4. New England
5. Pittsburgh
6. Cleveland
7. Indianapolis
8. Tennessee
9. Houston
10. Denver
11. Las Vegas
12. LAC
13. NYJ
14. Miami
15. Cincy
16. Jacksonville
 

RGREELEY33

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Nov 28, 2005
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My AFC Rankings
1. Baltimore
2. KC


3. Buffalo
4. Indianapolis
5. Houston
6. New England
7. Tennessee
8. LA Chargers
9. Denver
10. Pittsburgh
11. NY Jets
12. Cleveland Browns
13. Las Vegas Raiders
14. Miami
15. Cincinnati
16. Jacksonville
 

Rudy's Curve

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Definitely agree with this. Teams like the Titans, Bills, Pats, Miami, Jets, Steelers, Indy... who knows.
Miami has to erase a -188 point differential against what's likely to be a tougher schedule than last year. They obviously added some talent, but this a defense that was a touchdown away from allowing 500 points (against an overall unimposing slate of offenses). I'd think Tua needs to be the real deal from the start and stay healthy for them to even have a chance of making the playoffs.
 

Kliq

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KC has to be in front of Baltimore, if only because if something happens to Lamar (and sooner than later, something is going to happen to Lamar) than their entire offensive identity changes. I'm also weary that the offense is still kind of a gimmick and like that Kaepernick read-option, defenses will adjust and it won't be as lethal. With Reid's system, Mahomes can get injured and as long as he only misses a few games, they can still win 11-14 games each season. Matt Moore played really well when Mahomes was out last year.
 

tims4wins

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Miami has to erase a -188 point differential against what's likely to be a tougher schedule than last year. They obviously added some talent, but this a defense that was a touchdown away from allowing 500 points (against an overall unimposing slate of offenses). I'd think Tua needs to be the real deal from the start and stay healthy for them to even have a chance of making the playoffs.
True, but they did finish 5-4 (still -30 though if my math is right). That -188 was mostly compiled in their 0-7 start (-158 in 7 games, yikes).
 

Rudy's Curve

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True, but they did finish 5-4 (still -30 though if my math is right). That -188 was mostly compiled in their 0-7 start (-158 in 7 games, yikes).
They certainly improved, but they were still 29th in weighted DVOA (and basically tied with Washington at 30) which assigns more value to later performances. They've got a ton of ground to make up.
 

tims4wins

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They certainly improved, but they were still 29th in weighted DVOA (and basically tied with Washington at 30) which assigns more value to later performances. They've got a ton of ground to make up.
They do. Their talent should be much improved though.
 

E5 Yaz

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1. Baltimore
2. KC
3. Pittsburgh
4. Buffalo
5. New England
6. Tennessee
7. Denver
8. LA Chargers
9. Houston
10. Indianapolis
11. NY Jets
12. Cleveland
13. Miami
14. Las Vegas
15. Cincinnati
16. Jacksonville
 

pdaj

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I think I might flip a few -- KC/Bal; NE/Buf; Pit/Mia; LV/Cle.

But overall I think you are pretty close.
The Steelers are laughably underrated and I hate them with the fire of a billion suns. They'd be a touchdown favorite over Miami on a neutral field.
Miami has to erase a -188 point differential against what's likely to be a tougher schedule than last year. They obviously added some talent, but this a defense that was a touchdown away from allowing 500 points (against an overall unimposing slate of offenses). I'd think Tua needs to be the real deal from the start and stay healthy for them to even have a chance of making the playoffs.
They do. Their talent should be much improved though.
I do think Pittsburgh's a bit underrated, but they're on shaky ground at QB. If Ben can get through the season, I think they're a Top-5 team in the conference with knockout potential, but it's not like Roethlisberger is following the TB12 reigment. How confident should one be that he starts all 16 games? Rudolph/Hodges/Lynch are brutal.

Miami's likely another year away from true playoff contention, at the earliest. However, if they were to surprise, it will probably be due to the defense. Keep in mind, Xavien Howard only played 5 games last year, and they've added Byron Jones, Kyle Van Noy, Shaq Lawson, and Emmanuel Ogbah, in addition to a couple of potential impact rookies (Igbinoghene and Raekwon Davis). This is also the side of the ball where Brian Flores will probably make the biggest impact.

Offensively, they go from Patrick Laird and Kalen Ballage to Jordan Howard and Matt Breida. And Chan Gailey and FitzMagic go way back. If they stay healthy and Fitz plays well, things could get interesting. If Tua plays, it means Miami's started poorly (i.e. 0-3) or are out of contention later in the year.

I think they'll finish 8-8, with 7-9 or 9-7 a possibility depending upon how the ball bounces.

Regarding my rankings, I'll always take the dominating team that fell short of the SB the previous year, whenever the gang is held together. I think the Ravens managed to get even better, and they'll be hungry.

1. Baltimore
2. Kansas City
3. Indianapolis
4. Tennessee
5. Buffalo
6. Pittsburgh
7. Cleveland
8. Houston
9. New England
10. Miami
11. Denver
12. LA Chargers
13. Las Vegas
14. NYJ
15. Cincinnati
16. Jacksonville
 
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Cellar-Door

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The wildest thing about trying to project the AFC is there are really only 3 teams that have to feel great about their QB situation (BLT, KC, HOU) everyone else is either riding a young guy they like but who hasn't done much, has a rapidly declining vet, or a JAG
 

luckiestman

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Buffalo sucks guys, calm down. They beat up on a bad schedule last year.

yBaltimore
xPittsburgh
Cleveland
Cincinnati


yHouston
xIndianapolis
Tennessee
Jacksonville

yNYJ
New England
Buffalo
Miami

yKansas City
xLas Vegas
Denver
LA Chargers


1 KC
2 Baltimore
3 Houston
4 Indy
5 NYJ
6 Pitt
7 Vegas
8 Tenn
9 NE
10 Buff
11 Den
12 Cle
13 Mia
14 LAC
15 Jags
16 Bengals
 

Cellar-Door

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Buffalo sucks guys, calm down. They beat up on a bad schedule last year.

yBaltimore
xPittsburgh
Cleveland
Cincinnati


yHouston
xIndianapolis
Tennessee
Jacksonville

yNYJ
New England
Buffalo
Miami

yKansas City
xLas Vegas
Denver
LA Chargers
They did have an easy schedule, on the other hand, they won the games they were supposed to and kept the ones they weren't within a score, only 1 loss by more than 7 on the schedule. The defense is good, and the talent is the best in the division. Allen is the wildcard, but overall they're a better team than the Jets, who did less with an easier schedule (yes they had a QB injury, no I don't care they were really bad with or without Darnold)
 

j-man

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Dec 19, 2012
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This cbssports.com article on best defenses has me thinking:


They list NE at #3, and the Ravens at #1. Here's their Ravens write-up:

"Did you know that the Ravens finished last season fourth in defensive DVOA? Did you know that they snagged Calais Campbell and Derek Wolfe up front, retained Matt Judon with the franchise added, picked up the best coverage linebacker in the draft with Patrick Queen, added even more depth and versatility to the defensive line with Justin Madubuike, and will now have Marcus Peters for a full season? Do you realize how much depth there is in this secondary? Jimmy Smith is the third-best corner on this team. Brandon Carr isn't even going to start. Oh, and they have Earl Thomas patrolling center field. There are no weaknesses here. Expect big things."

So they have the Ravens' defense #1. And their offense was the league's highest-scoring unit last year with the MVP running the show. And they've still got excellent special teams and the best kicker in the game. With a good coach too (I don't like him but he's really good). Where is the weakness in the Ravens?

Thinking through ranking the AFC teams at the moment, knowing that there's still roster-building going on, and that they may not even have camp for a while....all that taken into account, here's my rankings...

1. KC - Stud offense paired with improved defense. I think they're the best team with the best player.
2. Bal - Stud offense paired with stud defense with the reigning MVP. I think Mahomes is better than Jackson, though, which is why I still have KC above them. But it's damned close.
3. Ten - Need to see if Tannehill is a one-hit wonder or if this team is legit. I think they're really solid.
4. Hou - Watson is an emerging star. BOB runs that team in a very weird way but they're good.
5. NE - Yes, I still think the Patriots are better than anyone else in the AFC East. If Stidham is actually good, this team will be excellent again and much better than people think.
6. Buf - Solid team all the way around - will challenge for the division. Might even win it.
7. Ind - With Rivers at QB, this team has a lot of good pieces.
8. Pit - Roethlisberger back, the Steelers always find a way to be competitive.
9. Mia - I think Flores does a good job with them.
10. NYJ - Should see improvement.
11. Den - Made a lot of good moves in the offseason but I'm not sold on the QB.
12. LAC - Nothing great, but better than the rest.
13. LV - I like some of their offseason moves.
14. Cle - They have some talent.
15. Cin - Burrow will be nice eventually. Way too many holes.
16. Jax - Dismal.

The Mahomes-Jackson battle for AFC supremacy should be very fun to watch. I wish it was still NE on top, but, well, that's life.
1 BALT that Def
2 KC they can outscore most anyone
3 Den they are buffalo with more off firepower if lock has a pro bowl year there are here at worst i am a year off
4 Buff they are denver east see num 3
5 indy i dont trust tenn and i definitely dont turst hou
6 mia i am buying miami at worst i am a year early
7 pitt if ben stays on the field they are a 9-10 win lock
8 ne playing the nfc west will be your downfall as u shouild win 8 or 9 of your 12 afc games
9 tenn do not trust then
10 hou they lack everything but a qb
11 lac couild win 8 but very thin after the first 22
12 lv no qb no shot
13 cle if baker plays better they knock pitt out
14 nyj too many holes
15 ciny
16 jax
 

mauf

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Bold prediction: the Jaguars will be 3-1 a month into the season.

(They host the Dolphins and Lions; they’ll win those two and upset either the Colts or the Titans.)