The Jet just scraped out an ugly win. Nonetheless, we're as much playoff contenders as anybody else. It might be early in the season, but I think there's no harm in taking a look at our competition and breaking down how things are developing in the AFC.
The Bengals are just the picture of inconsistency. Somehow, they pulled out a win against the Packers. Their defense couldn't stop a nosebleed for most of the game but still came up with a big stop when it counted. Dalton looked solid and like a true leader and their development of Sanu and Marvin Jones has been impressive. I think ultimately the biggest problem in Cincinnati, and I really hate to say it, is the coaching. They look like the best team in their division, but by no means are they are surefire lock. It was a big win but they showed a lot of vulnerability in that win.
Don't let the 2 -1 record fool you. Baltimore is not a good team. Beating up on Houston this week is nothing to brag about. If not for their defense, or maybe if it not for Houston's offense, this game is a lot closer. Flacco does not look like the reigning Super Bowl MVP. Nothing to suggest that the playoffs are not still a possibility, but they're slipping fast.
The Titans remind me of the 2010 Jets. Making wins out of what should be losses. I'm not ready to call Jake Locker a good quarterback yet, but he's definitely improved from last year. A pleasant surprise for Tennessee fans for sure. They won't win their division but they'll give the wild card a run for its money. They may even upset the Texans for the runner-up to Indy. It all depends how long they can sustain what looks to be a very shaky string of victories.
Houston has played like a team confused by itself. It would seem their paper tiger ways have caught up to them this year. Still, if this is Matt Schaub at his worst, they have a good shot at recovering and going on a nice run. On the other hand, if this is just how Schaub is at this point of his career, they'll probably be drafting in the top 10 in 2014.
Indy might be the best team in the AFC when the season ends. If you watched any part of that decimation of the 49ers, you would have seen a team that looks like they're just starting to hit their stride. They have the potential to be scary good. Yes, I know their defense is often inconsistent, but the 49ers have a better offense than the scoreboard shows. No, the Niners clearly not at the level everyone expected going into the season, but they still have a very good team out in San Fran and the Colts shut them down in every facet. Very impressive stuff.
New England. In spite of their solid victory, I still don't think the Pats are all that good. I think the Bucs are simply that bad. Whereas Tom Brady certainly improved from the first two weeks, he still didn't piece together a Tom Brady type performance. This, of course, could all change with the return of Gronk and eventually Amendola as well. Still, poor receiving play accounted for, I think Brady has definitely lost a step for maybe the first time in his career. Age will get us all.
Miami has, by far, played like the best team in our division. No question. I'm as surprised as anyone, but you gotta give credit where credit is do. Beating Atlanta is nothing to scoff at and they didn't even back into the win. They won it outright by being the better team. They're going to be trouble in the future, no doubt. I was a Tannehill doubter but after this game, I'm a believer. Ireland very well may have just saved his job.
Buffalo may have been contenders in both their losses, but that's masking the truth to their game. They beat a notoriously underperforming Panthers team, kept with a clearly weakened Pats team and if not for our 20 (!) penalties, we would have crushed them this week. They have the makings of a good team for the future, but Manuel still needs more time to develop. All in all, I expect them to fall out of the playoff picture mid-way through the season.
I'll give credit to Andy Reid. The Chiefs have now won more games this year than all of last year. That said, they haven't exactly played the stiffest competition and can only say they've blown Jacksonville out of the water. I think Alex Smith has looked pretty much like I expected: an above average QB that doesn't lose you the game, but won't win you the game either. With the AFC being as weak as it is, I think they can easily back into the playoffs by winning just 6 of their next 13. Should that happen, it's a great turnaround any way you look at it, even if they're not dominant.
The Broncos are not our competition because they will win their division. I don't care about the Chiefs' streak. They will not surpass the Broncos. Nothing else to write.