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AFC power rankings prior to week 3

  1. New England Patriots –

This one needs little explanation. The Patriots have sprinted to a 2-0 record outscoring its opponents 76-3. They have not allowed a touchdown in three straight games, dating back to their 2019 Super Bowl victory against the Los Angeles Rams. The offense is clicking and firing on all cylinders as Brady continues to dissect defenses at age 42. The New York Jets with their third-string quarterback, Luke Falk, limp into Foxborough for their week three matchup. The scariest part? The Patriots are favored to win by 22 points by Las Vegas odds.

  1. Kansas City Chiefs –

Reigning league MVP quarterback Patrick Mahomes continues to do crazy things with the football in his hands. The gunslinger threw four touchdowns and almost 300 yards in the second quarter alone. Coaches seriously must lose sleep game-planning against a team loaded with speed and a man who can complete a throw anywhere on the field. Sunday’s game against the Ravens should be an exciting one.

  1. Baltimore Ravens +1

Ravens’ second-year quarterback Lamar Jackson became the first player to throw for 250 yards and run for 120 yards in a single game as the Ravens took home the victory over the Cardinals. This week presents an opportunity for the former Heisman winner to step on the throats of those who say he’s a running back playing the quarterback position when he goes toe to toe with Mahomes and the Chiefs. Although it is only September, this contest could have major implications on playoff seeding when December rolls around.

  1. Houston Texans +1

After watching a down-to-the-wire shootout against New Orleans in week one, Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson felt the pressure from an aggressive Jaguars front in week two.  Watson only threw for 159 yards and All-Pro wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins was pretty quiet all night as well, but they did get the job done thanks to defensive end J.J. Watt and the defense getting a stop on a two-point conversion at the end of the game. If Houston can’t figure out how to keep Watson upright in the pocket soon, any playoff hopes this team has are out the window.

  1. Los Angeles Chargers -2

If the Chargers want to be taken seriously, they can’t lay an egg and put up only 10 points in a loss to the Lions. Losing games that should be won will not win them the AFC West, especially with the Kansas City Chiefs already dominating through three weeks. A crucial matchup against Houston will be an indicator of whether or not this season will be another confusing wash.

  1. Buffalo Bills +1

Although the Bills have not faced great competition to this point, their defense looks polished and has plenty of depth. The Bills have an opportunity to start 3-0 as they face a weak Bengals squad this weekend. The defense will likely focus on slowing down Bengals’ speedy wide receiver John Ross, who is off to a terrific start to this season after being quiet during the first two years of his career.

  1. Tennessee Titans -1

The Titans look like they may have come back down to earth after their week one blowout win over the Cleveland Browns. Running back Derrick Henry had another strong outing, picking up 82 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries. Head coach Mike Vrabel needs to really acknowledge that his offense runs through Henry, not shaky starting quarterback Marcus Mariota. Feeding Henry the rock, similar to the Vikings’ offense with Adrian Peterson in the early 2010s, will be the key to this team winning a surprisingly stout AFC South. 

  1. Cleveland Browns –

The Browns bounced back and picked up an important win on Monday night over the Jets. It was not exactly an overwhelming performance for the Browns’ offense but they got the job done and quarterback Baker Mayfield threw for 325 yards and a touchdown. A major Sunday night showdown against the Rams makes for a pivotal point in the season and will really show what head coach Freddie Kitchens is made of.

  1. Indianapolis Colts –

The pesky Colts picked up a win over the Titans Sunday afternoon. Starting quarterback Jacoby Brissett looked increasingly more comfortable in the pocket as the game wore on, throwing for three touchdowns. Indianapolis’ defense was able to hold the Titans to 17 points, with middle linebacker Darius Leonard leading his squad in limiting Henry out of the backfield. It looks like it could be the end of the road for incredibly seasoned kicker Adam Vinatieri, who missed two extra-point attempts in week two, after struggling with a field goal and extra point in week one as well.

  1. Pittsburgh Steelers -1

Sunday’s loss was about as devastating as a week two loss can be for a team who was a potential Super Bowl contender heading into the season. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is done for the season, requiring elbow surgery after exiting early against Seattle. With an 0-2 start and inexperienced backup quarterback Mason Rudolph under center, it looks like the Steelers could be picking top 10 come April.

  1. Oakland Raiders –

The Raiders started off with a 10-0 lead over the Chiefs and held them scoreless through the first quarter but allowed Mahomes to throw for nearly 300 yards and four touchdowns in the second quarter. The dreams of taking down the mighty Chiefs will have to hold off for now. The Raiders will head to Minnesota to take on the Vikings in a game that would be a coin flip decision.

  1. Jacksonville Jaguars –

The Jags were a two-point conversion away from a win over the Texans at the end of the game. All did not appear to be well when All-Pro cornerback Jaylen Ramsey and head coach Doug Marrone had to be separated after an altercation on the sidelines. Since then, Ramsey has requested a trade from the Jaguars. Jacksonville is looking for two first-round picks for Ramsey.

On the plus side for Jacksonville, sixth-round quarterback Gardner Minshew’s style of play is just as dynamic as his mustache and backstory.

  1. Cincinnati Bengals –

After putting up a strong fight against the Seahawks, the Bengals were thoroughly beaten down by the 49ers. The defense did not have an answer for San Francisco’s run game, who piled up over 200 yards on the ground. However, the silver lining to this 0-2 start is that Andy Dalton is second in the league in passing yards and Ross is the league leader in receiving yards.

  1. Denver Broncos –

The Broncos seem to have little going in their favor. Free-agent quarterback acquisition Joe Flacco is not the player he was when the Ravens won the Super Bowl in 2012 and there is little reason to believe that player is coming back seven years after the fact. The roughing the passer call late in the game that went against the Broncos was questionable, but they did get another roughing the passer call in their favor earlier in the game. General manager John Elway will be looking to pick up a shiny new pass rusher in the upcoming draft, as his team trends closer and closer towards the first overall pick.

  1. New York Jets –

The Jets are 0-2 and do not expect to have their quarterback for multiple weeks. Even their backup quarterback Trevor Simien went down with a gruesome ankle injury and is done for the season. They now matchup this Sunday against the wrecking ball that is the New England Patriots. It would seemingly take some sort of a miracle for the Jets to leave Foxborough with a better record than 0-3.

  1. Miami Dolphins –

The Dolphins have been outscored 102-10 in their first two starts. It is hard to imagine a worse two-game stretch a team could go through. They have sent safety Minkah Fitzpatrick to the Steelers in exchange for a first-round pick so there is no reason to believe anything can turn this season around. If there is a bright side, the Dolphins will only get better because they can’t possibly get worse, right?

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