The American Football Conference is preparing to begin an important season, 100 years of professional football in the United States.
The 2019 off-season was one of the most interesting off-seasons in league history. Many high caliber players moved to a new place they are going to call ‘home’ for quite some time. Players including Le’veon Bell, Antonio Brown, Odell Beckham Jr, Mark Ingram, and many more. The amount of anticipation for many teams has been building up for some time.
The last NFL game was played 214 days ago, when the New England Patriots won the Super Bowl. The Patriots won their 3rd super bowl in the last 5 years. The final four teams were the Patriots, Chiefs, Rams, and Saints.
A preview of each AFC division is listed below:
The reigning Super Bowl champions will look to dominate this division once again. The Buffalo Bills will feature second year quarterback Josh Allen. Allen will look to build upon late season successes from a year ago. The Miami Dolphins named veteran, Ryan Fitzpatrick its 2019-20 starting quarterback. Miami finished second in the division with a record of 7-9 a year ago. The New York Jets shocked the NFL with the signing of Pro-Bowl running back Le’veon Bell in the off-season. The Jets are ready to make moves now after drafting potential franchise quarterback, Sam Darnold out of USC. Defensive linemen, Quinnen Williams, will be a big name to look for when watching New York in the upcoming season. NYJ finished last place in the division a year ago but will look to flip the script.
The Kansas City Chiefs will look to continue dominance for the 4th straight season. KC has won the division 3 straight season. After falling to the Patriots in the AFC championship, did the Chiefs make enough off-season moves to make another run? The Los Angeles Chargers will be without star running back Melvin Gordon. Gordon is holding out on his contract looking for more money. The Chargers finished the season 12-4, and their backfield will have a new look with Austin Ekeler carrying the ball. The Denver Broncos will have a new look at Quarterback this season. Denver acquired former Baltimore Raven, Joe Flacco. The Broncos finished 6-10 a year ago will look to build upon that this upcoming season. The Oakland Raiders on the other hand made the biggest splash in the off-season. The Raiders acquired Antonio Brown from the Steelers. The Raiders finished in last place (4-12) and are coming up on a make-or-break season. After unsettling interactions with Brown and the Raiders’ management, Brown was released and was picked up by the Patriots.
The Baltimore Ravens topped this division in 2018. Lamar Jackson will see his first full season, barring injury, at QB for Baltimore. Baltimore acquired running back Mark Ingram from New Orleans. Ingram will help spread the wealth in the Raven offense. Jackson was a spark off the bench for the Ravens in the playoffs and will look to bring the energy again this season. The Steelers finished second with a record of 9-6-1. The Steeler offense will be led again by Ben Roethlisburger, James Connor, and Juju Smith-Schuster. Smith-Schuster will be the WR1 for the first time in his career. The Cincinnati Bengals will be without star WR AJ Green for the start of the season. The Bengals backfield will be led by Joe Mixon. Cincinnati will rely on its tough defense once again to get the job done. Lastly, the most hyped team in all of preseason, Cleveland. The Browns picked up Odell Beckham Jr. to go along with Jarvis Landry at wideout. The two LSU superstars will catch passes from young phenom quarterback Baker Mayfield. Cleveland is the most betted on team to win the Super Bowl.
The Houston Texans traded star defensive end Jadeveon Clowney to the Seattle Seahawks. JJ Watt will become the solo pass rusher once again in Houston. The Texan offense will be led by Deshaun Watson. Will Fuller is back healthy, but expect DeAndre Hopkins to have another breakout season. Houston will look to go back to back as division champions. The Tennessee Titans went out and got 3 free agent linemen to protect quarterback Marcus Mariota. In the 2019 NFL draft Tennessee took another wide receiver in the first round, AJ Brown from the University of Mississippi. Marcus Mariota will need to stay healthy to make another playoff run. The Titan defense should be stout once again. Jacksonville will be led by a new quarterback this season. Nick Foles signed a max contract deal in the off-season and will start Week 1. Foles has one Super Bowl ring and a Super Bowl MVP trophy. Jalen Ramsey will shadow the best wide receiver week in and week out. The first test for the Jags will be the Kansas City Chiefs at home. Perhaps the biggest disappointment came to the Indianapolis Colts just 2 weeks before the season started. 29 year old franchise quarterback, Andrew Luck, retired due to mental issues. The Colts will look to sign another quarterback in the coming weeks. The Colts made the AFC Wild Card spot a year ago but unfortunately lost at Arrowhead Stadium to the Chiefs.
- Colton Brown / HLGU Vanguard / September 2019