After a pair of games, the NFL season is well underway. The AFC has been the strength of the NFL and only got stronger with the addition of Aaron Rodgers to New York in the offseason. Fast-forward two weeks and he’s out for the year with a ruptured Achilles.
It’s a foregone conclusion that the AFC is going to be an absolute dogfight. More likely than not, the Super Bowl winner will come from the AFC, no matter how good San Francisco or Philadelphia look. Which division is strongest from top to bottom?
Ranking the AFC Divisions After Week 2
4. AFC South
The consensus has been for a while that the AFC South is the weakest division in the AFC. When stacking up against the rest of the conference, it makes sense. The division had three of the first 11 picks in last year’s draft and the division winner was barely over .500.
That Jacksonville Jaguars team might be okay this year and is probably going to repeat as champs this year. Trevor Lawrence is growing into the quarterback we’ve expected and Calvin Ridley is shaping up as a legit WR1 after his gambling suspension. Luckily for the rest of us, sports betting live is legal, so throw some cash at the Jags to win it.
The rest of the division is pretty weak, unfortunately. The Colts have an already battered Anthony Richardson and a massive conundrum at running back. The Titans are a shell of their former selves. And the Texans, while looking decent in losses, are still the Texans. C.J. Stroud looked great in Week 2, but the team as a whole is still a ways away.
3. AFC North
While it may end up as the most competitive division, it’s not likely going to be the best. The Bengals are coming off of back-to-back division titles. The most recent came after starting 0-2 overall and 0-3 in the division. There may be reason for concern this year, however. Joe Burrow‘s health is a lingering issue. Even then, they have an easier schedule than last year, so who knows?
The Ravens are currently carrying this division despite having half of its team on the injured report. It seems like an every-year thing where the Ravens just start dropping out of the sky. As long as Lamar Jackson stays healthy, however, they’ll contend.
The final two teams battled it out in an ugly, classic AFC North showdown on MNF. Deshaun Watson isn’t good anymore. Kenny Pickett just isn’t good at all. Nick Chubb‘s knee went in three different directions. While the Browns defense and the Steelers’ T.J. Watt look good, they’re going to struggle.
2. AFC West
With that injury to Rodgers, the AFC West should be atop the rankings, right? Well, while the Chiefs are still the Chiefs, the rest of the division has left something to be desired. Patrick Mahomes is still Patrick Mahomes and he has the Chiefs well on their way to a third Super Bowl in four years.
The Broncos haven’t gotten off to the start that they imagined after imploding in Week 2. They had the Commanders beat. Then they allowed two quick touchdowns in the fourth which led to the improbable Hail Mary. The Raiders don’t look much better, overall.
What’s holding this division back, however, is that Chargers defense. Justin Herbert just got paid and he’s playing well enough to win. Unfortunately, his defense is awful. They’ve started off 0-2 and while the panic button is not currently being pressed, the hand is hovering.
1. AFC East
The only division in the AFC with a pair of legitimate Super Bowl contenders (well, you can count the AFC North but the Ravens would have to win in the postseason to get there), the AFC East looks good.
Miami is firing on all cylinders already. They were the ones who handed that Chargers team the loss in Week 1 with a 36-34 shootout. Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle have easily been the top receiver duo thus far this year. If Tua Tagovailoa can stay healthy, this team will be contending all year.
The Bills, while dropping Week 1 to the Rodgers-less Jets, are going to be fine and get back to competing. Josh Allen, who loves attempting to hurdle defenders for some reason, is a freak of nature and keeps playing as such. They have a fun stretch of games this next month, so we’ll see just how good they really are.
The Jets are surprisingly halfway competent without Rodgers. That loss to the Cowboys looked bad, and was bad, but they did not quit. They have the roster to fight for a wild card bid, so we will have to see how far Zach Wilson can take them.
Finally, the Patriots. For the last two decades, fans of other teams have prayed for the day that New England was at the bottom of the AFC East. Their prayers are answered. The Patriots will end up winning a handful of games, too many to be in on the top quarterbacks of the draft.