Sunday, September 26, 2021

AFC Preview: 10 storylines to watch at the 2021 conference

Ten storylines watched in the AFC this season.

1) Will the chief rule again? Kansas City is the two-time defending champion of the AFC Champions League and the most promising team in Las Vegas to enter the Super Bowl again. QB Patrick Mahomes will be behind a new-looking O-line because KC traded Orlando Brown Jr., signed guard Joe Tunney, and selected center Creed Humphrey and tackles Trey Smith.

2) Can Urban and Trevor revive Jags? After the Jaguars selected QB Trevor Lawrence with the first overall pick and hired coach Urban Meyer, Jacksonville had new hopes. However, the rookie quarterback and the second-to-last defense in 2020 in points and yards are expected to experience growth pains.

3) What will happen to Deshaun Watson? Houston’s Pro Bowl quarterback requested a trade in January, but legal issues complicated his situation. Watson faces 22 lawsuits over allegations of sexual assault and misconduct. The first-year coach of the Texans, David Carli, has a mess on his hands.

4) Can the bill take the next step? Buffalo lost to the Chiefs 38-24 in last year’s Divisional Championship and was the biggest challenger to defeat Kansas City in the AFC. Quarterback Josh Allen-who recently signed a six-year contract that could be worth more than $258 million-will be expected to lead a balanced team capable of creating a Super Bowl.

5) Are the Titans whom they believe in? Since Ryan Tannehill took over as the starting QB in the 7th week of 2019, the Titans have a record of 18 wins and 8 losses, averaging 30.6 points per game. Last year’s AFC Southern champions and NFL defending rushing champion Derek Henry, he ran 2,027 yards and 17 touchdowns in 2020.

6) Can the Patriots turn things around? After the New England team’s first losing season (7-9) since 2000, head coach Bill Belichick is eager to get his team back into the game. Whether it is veteran Cam Newton or rookie Mac Jones as the team’s quarterback, the New England team’s reformed defense will be the key to success.

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7) Who came out of the piled AFC North? Last year, the Steelers (12 wins and 4 losses), the Ravens (11 wins and 5 losses) and the Browns (11 wins and 5 losses) all entered the playoffs. This may happen again this year, as expected in all three cities in the playoffs, and Cleveland seems capable of winning the first division title since 1989.

8) What can a healthy Joe Burrow bring to the Bengal tiger? Burrow is the first pick in the 2020 draft. He injured his knee before the end of the season. He became a rookie with a 2-7-1 record in 10 games. As his representatives were managed in the preseason, the hopes of the Bengals are mainly pinned on the young quarterback’s step in the second year.

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9) How good can Justin Herbert be? The Chargers’ QB was named the 2020 AP Offensive Rookie of the Year after throwing 4,336 yards, 31 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. If he takes another step and the Chargers figure out how to end the game under the leadership of new coach Brandon Staley, Los Angeles may be dangerous.

10) Can Denver’s defense keep the Broncos competitive? The Broncos have a re-equipped second line, one of the best safety duo in the league, and the frontcourt talents of Mike Purcell and Shelby Harris. Is the Broncos defense good enough-and healthy enough-to make up for a potentially suspicious offense?

AFC Preview: 10 storylines to watch at the 2021 conference
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