Our Kansas City Chiefs enter the new season favored to win a second consecutive Super Bowl and officially become a dynasty. While teams like the Bengals and Bills have emerged as worthy adversaries, new foes are always hoping to wrestle the crown away and take over the top spot in the AFC.
Aside from obvious contenders like Cincinnati, three teams flying under the radar could challenge the Chiefs’ status at the mountaintop. Let’s go through each of them below.
3 AFC Teams That Could Challenge the Chiefs
Jacksonville was competitive with Kansas City in the Divisional Round of the playoffs, albeit largely because of Patrick Mahomes’ ankle injury, and should be an even better squad this year.
Not only will Trevor Lawrence be another year wiser under Doug Pederson’s leadership, but wide receiver Calvin Ridley is a huge addition to an already-stout offense. Ridley had nearly 1,400 receiving yards in his last full season and his skillset is a perfect compliment to Christian Kirk’s.
I wouldn’t be surprised if the Jaguars emerged as an even more formidable opponent than the Bengals or Bills. Being another year removed from the disastrous Urban Meyer tenure helps, and if Lawrence takes another step forward this could be the start of a new budding rivalry.
Los Angeles Chargers
Perhaps the Chargers can’t be considered under the radar, but Los Angeles has played the Chiefs as tough as anyone this side of Cincy and should be even better this season.
New offensive coordinator Kellen Moore brings an explosive offense that isn’t afraid to throw downfield, a large improvement over Joe Lombardi’s strange dink-and-dunk style. Justin Herbert is one of the league’s most talented quarterbacks. With an offense better suited to Herbert’s strengths, the former Oregon star could challenge for an MVP as soon as this season.
The big question for the Chargers, as always, is health. Los Angeles always seems to suffer major defensive injuries, while Keenan Allen and Mike Williams frequently battle ailments. If the Chargers can stay healthy and Moore’s offense is as potent as I fear it may be, the Chargers could absolutely challenge Kansas City.
Just two short years ago the Ravens were widely considered to be Kansas City’s greatest challenger. It’s been a strange couple of seasons for Baltimore since then, but the team is well-positioned to be competitive once again.
Lamar Jackson remains one of the league’s most dynamic talents, the defense is still loaded with speed and a revamped wide receiver room gives Jackson the most weapons he’s worked with.
Odell Beckham Jr., Zay Flowers, Rashod Bateman and Mark Andrews represent a dangerous group of pass-catchers. New offensive coordinator Todd Monken should open things up downfield for Lamar, and I fully expect the Ravens to challenge the Bengals for the AFC North crown.
With so much talent in the conference, it’ll once again be an exciting season. If Kansas City manages to win the AFC once again, everyone will know what Chiefs fans already suspect: we’re watching a true dynasty.