One game was enough for me to declare the Super Bowl lock New England Patriots aren't going to be the AFC Champs this year. 19-0 hype? Over. Edelman, gone. Amendola, hurt. Defense, now looking much worse with Hightower sidelined and Mitch Morse hurt as well.
Of course this is early on. But that 42-27 loss to the Chiefs exposed the Patriots as a team that doesn't have their team figured out. Their offensive scheme is far from a well oiled machine. I think this team is going to miss Edelman much more than previously thought. He really was their chain mover. If Amendola can't stay healthy, that's a huge loss for Brady.
I think we will see many games this year that are super close, and coaching will go a long way to determine if they can have a winning season, let alone make it all the way. Luckily for them they have Belichik and Brady. But I see the Chiefs, now winning 23 of their last 27 games, and the Steelers as the clear favorites in the AFC. Still would call the Pats #3, but that's not good enough to be a lock by any means. And they aren't really necessarily ahead of teams like Oakland or even Denver or Baltimore.
Should be a really interesting year for the AFC.
Nothing like the Saints terrible D to get a team back on track. I still don't think they are the team to beat. The Saints defense is really just that bad.
Here's their remaining schedule, and how I see it playing out:
Texans - winPanthers - winBucs - lossJets - winFalcons - lossChargers - winBroncos - lossRaiders - lossDolphins - winBills - winDolphins - winSteelers - winBills - winJets - win
That would make them an 11-5 team. Good enough for the playoffs, certainly. And good enough to win their cake division. But they benefit from an easy division and fairly easy schedule. I don't see them hanging with Denver or KC in the playoffs.