The Kansas City Chiefs and the New England Patriots are the big favorites out of the AFC once again to win the Super Bowl. Can anyone else, such as the LA Chargers or Cleveland Browns, legitimately challenge the big dogs for the AFC crown?

Patriots Chiefs AFC
New England Patriots QB Tom Brady evades the Kansas City Chiefs during the 2019 AFC Championship. (Image: AP)

With Andrew Luck abruptly retiring from football, the AFC South is wide open. But whomever wins that division is not a real threat to the establishment. The Patriots and Chiefs are the Super Bowl favorites until someone else steps up and beats the big dogs.

KC Chiefs 5/1
New England Pats 6/1
LA Chargers 14/1
Cleveland Browns 18/1
Pittsburgh Steelers 18/1

The LA Chargers have a strong offense and a much-improved defense. Last December, the Chargers were within striking distance of winning the AFC West before Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs regained the top spot late in the season.

The Cleveland Browns are the hipster choice this year. Not only is my grandmother betting Baker Mayfield and the Browns, but the bearded and tats bro who makes organic peppermint vegan ice cream in a refurbished school bus at the end of the street is also doubling down on the Browns.

AFC EAST: Beating Tommy Boy

Every year, the haters say this will finally be the year that Tom Brady finally looks his age and the New England Patriots will begin their decline after dominating the AFC over the last two decades. The Pats lost Gronk, but have Josh Gordon back. So long as he avoids 420-things, the Pats should be one of the front runners come January. As per usual, the Patriots are Super Bowl favorites once again.

One of the guys in Spinal Tap said, “It’s a fine line between clever and stupid.” That sums up the New York Jets this year. Maybe Adam Gase is really a QB whisperer and he can make Sam Darnold look like an All-Pro stud? Or maybe, Le’Veon Bell will be another NY Jets bust?

New year, same old Buffalo Bills. The Bills Mafia will be keeping an eye on their rookie RB Devin Singletary in another bitter winter of discontent.

The bookies at the Westgate SuperBook have no love for the Miami Dolphins and their 500/1 odds to win the Super Bowl. Fitzmagic is the starting QB, if that’s an indication of the direction of the franchise.

AFC NORTH: Believe in Bakermania?

The Cleveland Browns are the new kids in town. Baker Mayfield and Odell Beckham have a chance to put up a ton of (fantasy) points. Can the Browns actually win road games in the AFC North? That’s the essential difference between a 7-9 and 9-7 record.

The Pittsburgh Steelers finally shed themselves of two toxic situations. The Steelers held their ground negotiating with Le’veon Bell before the Jets made him an offer he couldn’t refuse. Also, Pittsburgh traded Antonio Brown to the Oakland Raiders, which is looking like a genius move considering all of his problems, including frozen feet, a helmet snafu, and a social media spat with the GM.

The Baltimore Ravens punted on Joey Flacco and went all-in in Lamar Jackson. If he can improve his passing efficiency and save the big runs for decisive moments in the game, then the ravens can be a legit rival to the Browns.

The Cincinnati Bengals will be the punching bag for the AFC North once again. The Bungals are one of the longshots on the board at 200/1 odds to win the Super Bowl.

AFC SOUTH: Into the Great Wide Open

The Houston Texans are the team to beat in the AFC South by default. Fantasy geeks love DeShaun Watson for a reason. The guy can fling the ball all over the field. Watson and DeAndre Hopkins comprise of one of the best passing tandems in the AFC.

The Tennessee Titans are like that cockroach in your kitchen that won’t die no matter how many times you step on it or smash it with a newspaper.

The Indianapolis Colts were looking to return to the playoffs this season until Andrew Luck shocked the world with premature news of his retirement. The Colts had an uphill battle with Luck heading into 2019. Without him, they’re toast.

The Jacksonville Jaguars upgraded their QB by signing Nick Foles to a sick deal. But Nick Foles isn’t enough to help turn around the beleaguered Jags offense, unless Leonard Fournette unleashes is own inner “beastmode”.

AFC West: Mahomes vs. Rivers

The Kansas City Chiefs edged out the Patriots as favorites to win Super Bowl 54 heading into Week 1. They revamped their porous defense, which is a huge step forward for the highest-scoring team in the league. After losing to the Pats in OT last year in the AFC Championship, the Chiefs want revenge.

The Los Angeles Chargers offer up some of the best value in the AFC. Philip Rivers is looking as good as he’s ever been, but the Melvin Gordon situation is the reason why their odds dropped.

The Denver Broncos added Joey Flacco to the mix. He’s just another name in the long list of QBs who failed to follow in John Elway and Peyton Manning’s footsteps.

Hard Knocks was kind of boring this year, considering the Oakland Raiders were the main focus for NFL Films this preseason. The Raiders had “final cut,” and word got out that team officials scrubbed a lot of the drama in Chucky’s Highly Dysfunctional Circus.

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