As we get closer and closer to the NFL season, we wait in anticipation to see this year’s version of our favorite teams to try out our new draft picks, guys we traded for, or guys we signed in free agency. Out of the 4 divisions in each conference, only 8 can come out on top. I will be doing AFC this week and NFC next week.
Here are my predictions for the AFC division winners this upcoming season.
AFC East – Buffalo Bills
It’s hard to make a case against the Bills going back to back in their division. They’ve built a very smart, high IQ roster and only improved in the offseason. With Josh Allen turning into a superstar, plus a draft class and free agency that addressed team weaknesses, Buffalo is gearing up for another huge year.
Don’t be surprised to see a monster year from Tremaine Edmunds and another All-Pro year from Steffon Diggs. This team made heavy improvements on the defensive line and they’re hoping that they got a more effective running attack. The Jets are still deep in a rebuild, the Patriots made good moves but are most likely a year or two away from being back, and it’s just hard to see Miami as division winners at the moment, maybe wild-card beth for them.
AFC North – Cleveland Browns
At first glance, Cleveland is the most talented team in the division and maybe even the conference. They have the best OL, best WR and TE core, and best running attack. They got Baker Mayfield his weapons and are looking like one of the most dangerous offenses in the league. They spent a lot of time in the offseason on their defense and building around Myles Garret. The secondary and front 7 is still looking to improve so expect to see them as huge buyers at the trade deadline.
Cleveland’s biggest challenge will most likely be the Baltimore Ravens (don’t be surprised to see them take the division again). The only thing holding them back is that they have one of the toughest schedules in the league, the Pittsburgh Steelers will be a decent team at best this season, but shouldn’t be too much of a worry. The Cincinnati Bengals still seem to be going through their rebuilding phase so they shouldn’t have a problem handling them either.
AFC South – Indianapolis Colts
This does have a lot to do with the roster GM Chris Ballard has assembled but could have more to do with the lack of talent in the rest of the division. If Carson Wentz can manage his turnover problem, and if Eric Fisher can get healthy and get on an already elite offensive line, the Colts shouldn’t have a problem this year.
There definitely is a lack of challenge in the division. The Houston Texans are an absolute trainwreck, the Jacksonville Jaguars will be better with Trevor Lawrence but just about anything is an improvement from at 1-15 season, the Tennessee Titans will be the biggest challenge but didn’t seem to address their defensive struggles so they will most likely be banking all on Derrick Henry and the Titans offense.
AFC West – Kansas City Chiefs
Maybe the easiest division to predict this year, the only thing the Chiefs need to worry about is the injury bug getting to them. The Chief’s biggest concern last year was the offensive line and they spent pretty much the whole offseason bulking up and turned into maybe the best offensive line in the division. Plus a motivated Patrick Mahomes trying to overcome a Super Bowl loss, the Chiefs will be as scary as ever.
The Los Angeles Chargers will be a solid team this year, Justin Herbert will continue to improve, they have other weapons on offense and now a pretty solid defense. Should be a very good team but not enough for the Chiefs just yet. The Oakland Raiders have a good offense but that defense is still a huge problem that they haven’t really done much to address. The Denver Broncos really need improvements all across the board so it seems like they’re a few years out from being an actual challenge.