Videos by OutKick
Monday, we found that there were five NFC teams in this year’s Super Bowl bubble. You can read and agree with that here. Today, we look at the AFC side of the bubble.
All odds in this article come from our partner, FanDuel Sportsbook. Right now, new FanDuel Sportsbook users can make their first bet risk-free up to $1,000. If the bet loses, the FanDuel Sportsbook will refund you in site credit .
Three teams atop the AFC come into the season in the center of the Super Bowl bubble, with minimal separation between them.
FanDuel Sportsbook favors Kansas City to win the Super Bowl at +500. However, only three teams in NFL history have made the Super Bowl three straight seasons. That statistic suggests it’s more likely the Chiefs take a step back this season than return to the Super Bowl.
Furthermore, I’m concerned about the Chiefs on the field. Are we sure their rebuilt offensive line is sufficient? Is it even average?
Kansas City will start five news starters, and aside from Joe Thuney, it’s unclear if any of them fit. Orlando Brown takes over at LT for Eric Fisher. Brown is enormous, but he comes over from the Ravens, which did not ask him to pass protect consistently. Brown and the rest of the Chiefs’ line are a lingering question mark.
Until we know more, stay away from Kansas City at those odds.
Meanwhile, the Bills have the third-best odds in the NFL at +1200. This looks like a Super Bowl team. As a result of Josh Allen’s emergence a season ago, the Bills scored more points than any other team in the AFC. Buffalo’s offense should also be better this season after the addition of Emmanuel Sanders.
Speaking of betting, I’d wager the AFC goes through Buffalo this year. Allen combined with an improved defense and that home-field advantage has me leaning toward picking Buffalo in the AFC.
That said, the Browns are going to be a problem. The Browns have the recipe to win a Super Bowl: the NFL’s top offensive line, a league-leading running back duo, and a defense loaded with next-level talent. Now add in the QB, Baker Mayfield, who is more than serviceable on this roster.
Next up is Baltimore. FanDuel says the Ravens are more likely to win the Super Bowl than the Browns. I disagree with that, but I have them in the bubble.
The Ravens are like the Rams. If everything goes right, they can compete for a title. But more must go in their favor than I’m comfortable assuming. Losing JK Dobbins puts more pressure on the passing game, which was already a concern.
After those four teams, it’s debatable whether there is another team in the bubble. The AFC is as deep as it has been in a decade. In the playoffs, multiple teams could get hot and knock out the Chiefs, Ravens, Browns, or Bills. However, beating two or three of them in a month is entirely different.
Here is why:
Bill Belichick won the offseason retooling the Patriots’ defense and stealing Mac Jones in the draft. As a result, New England will be better than last year. That said, the Pats do not have the offensive firepower to win the AFC.
The Colts were a QB away from competing for a Super Bowl last season. If you have faith Carson Wentz is that guy — please explain why. I don’t.
Justin Herbert is an MVP candidate. Nevertheless, the Chargers are still the Chargers. If Herbert is to redefine the team’s culture, he won’t do so in 2021.
As for the Steelers, I can’t unsee the end of last season. After starting 11-0, Pittsburgh lost five of its six final games, including a first-round playoff exit. The Steelers proved they were not a Super Bowl team a year ago. In the offseason, Ben Roethlisberger only got older.
That leads me to the Titans. Tennessee’s defense isn’t any good. But Derrick Henry, AJ Brown, and now Julio Jones move around the field in ways men their size should not. What’s more, Ryan Tannehill and Mike Vrabel are a well above average QB-head coach duo.
For now, the Titans slide — barely — into the AFC Super Bowl bubble: