The reigning Super Bowl champs have Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and plenty of talent to overcome the loss of Julian Edelman en route to winning a sixth Lombardi Trophy on Feb. 4 in Minneapolis.
The second-most talented team in the AFC, if not the NFL, has Ben Roethlisberger, an explosive offense and a defense that’s solid, but does have question marks, particularly at linebacker.
On paper, this is a top-three team that added Marshawn Lynch. But how will the never-ending distraction of moving to Las Vegas affect a talented team that hasn’t won a single playoff game since 2002?
We’ll begin finding out Thursday night in Foxborough whether the Chiefs should have been more active in the offseason or were wise to believe in a roster than went 12-4 and won the AFC West.
An easier schedule, another year of seasoning for young QB Marcus Mariota and a couple of exciting young wideouts should help Tennessee push toward improving on last year’s 9-7 record.
Yeah, the QB situation is a major question mark. But J.J. Watt returns to a defense that was tops in the league without him. Houston did lose a standout cornerback in free agent A.J. Bouye.
With talent that’s now healthy, this is a bounce-back team to watch even with Vontaze Burfict’s suspension. Cincinnati had five losses by fewer than six points last season.
No one really stands out as a great playmaker. And with Joe Flacco just returning after missing the offseason because of a back injury, it’s worth wondering if Baltimore can snap out of a four-year funk.
Andrew Luck’s offseason shoulder surgery is expected to keep him sidelined early on. Defensively, Indianapolis must prove its aggressive offseason moves were good enough to revive a poor unit.
The QB is as unimpressive as the defense is impressive. Losing defensive coordinator Wade Phillips hurts, but Mike McCoy returning as offensive coordinator should help.
Miami was poised for much bigger things before Ryan Tannehill’s knee injury forced Adam Gase to call Jay Cutler out of the TV booth. There’s a lot of pressure on Cutler. Too much pressure.
Buffalo hasn’t made the playoffs since 1999, and there’s little reason to believe that league-worst drought will end this year. Tyrod Taylor isn’t awful, but is he really a playoff-caliber QB?
At a league-worst 17-63 the past five years, this ranking feels overly optimistic. Perhaps rookie Leonard Fournette at running back and Bouye at corner can be a couple of corner-turning additions.
Meanwhile, this ranking could be overly pessimistic for a team that has some good young talent and some experienced leaders. But Los Angeles probably is getting a team that needs more time to rebuild.
Many feel the will Jets tank in hopes of improving their 2018 draft pick. Last year’s 5-11 mark could look good by comparison.
Cleveland is stuck in a 4-37 slump and starting over at QB. DeShone Kizer could be the answer … or more of the same at the position that has dogged the Browns for 18 years.