What we learned about the AFC in week 6
This past weekend’s slate of NFL games proved to be an interesting one, especially in the AFC. With marquee matchups such as Kansas City vs New England and Pittsburgh vs Cincinnati, it is safe to say that a lot was learned about some of the teams in this conference moving forward in just this one particular weekend.
Starting with the most exciting game (if you’re a fan of offense), The New England Patriots were able to hold off a potent Kansas City Chiefs offense, winning by a score of 43-40. While New England did come out with the victory, this game did nothing to take away from the Chiefs being considered as a super bowl contender. The Chiefs are typically a team whom get off to a strong start, but end up fading towards the middle to end of the season. However, with this particular group, that will not be the case. Andy Reid’s squad is built differently this year, in large part due to new quarterback Patrick Mahomes. They have home-run hitters all over the field on offense, and once they started to utilize that speed and explosion, there was not much New England’s defense could do. Kansas City may have not come out on top against New England, but they definitely demonstrated their relentless to come from behind, something they had not been tested at prior to this SNF contest.
As for the Pats, nothing we did not know about them before this game was really shown to the rest of the league last night. Again, this team is the one to beat in the AFC, and last night just proved that once again. Sure, their defense was exposed in the second half, but they have time to improve in that category as they typically do. As for their offense, it is one of the most balanced I have seen in recent memory. They have the ability to run the ball with Sony Michel and James White, to go along with an above-average offensive line. Edelman getting back allows them to move the chains more effectively, while Gronk, Chris Hogan, and Josh Gordon all provide deep threats. If they continue to put points on the board the way they have the past three weeks, this team could be well on their way to a sixth super bowl, but balance will be the key for this team.
Looking at a different matchup, but similar result, The Steelers were able to escape Paul Brown Stadium in week 6 with a 28-21 victory. This was another entertaining contest, as Pittsburgh were down 21-20 before Big Ben connected with Antonio Brown for a touchdown with just a few seconds remaining. They improved to 3-2-1, and while this may have been a close call for Pittsburgh, it served as a message to the rest of the AFC North that they are still the team to beat in the division. A slow start, as well as some off the field issues may have generated some doubt, but the Steelers still possess the most talented roster in the division, making them lethal when everything is in sync. Both the Ravens and Bengals will compete for the AFC North title, but we all saw yesterday that Pittsburgh is still very relevant, even without running back Le’Veon Bell.
Last, but not least, let’s take a look at the Jacksonville Jaguars. What happened to them against the below 500. Cowboys? What we learned about this team is that they are only as good as their defense allows them to be. Of course you do not expect them to give up 40 points to a Dallas offense whom averaged 16.6 points per game before yesterday, but where was the offense to pick them up? I talked earlier about the Patriots having balance this season, at least on offense. Well, this Jags team does not have that. And if they do not fix it quickly, Tennessee, or even Houston, will beat them out as the top team in the AFC South come playoff time.