NFL: AFC Division Leaders Contenders or Pretenders After 13 Weeks

We are three-quarters through the 2018 NFL Season. The roller coaster ride for those at the top continues for the next five weeks. However, are those teams currently at the top, contenders or pretenders? In our three-part series looking at the division leaders, we examine each team and explain their situation at the top of their division. Last week we did the NFC. We finish with the AFC.



New England Patriots – Contender

The Patriots are a perennial contender in the NFL. They will continue to be that as long as Bill Belichick and Tom Brady are with the organization. With four games remaining the Pats remain in contention for the top spot in the AFC. It will be tough given that the Kansas City Chiefs do not have much of a schedule from here on out. Nonetheless, even on the road, the Patriots are a dangerous matchup in the playoffs.


Pittsburgh Steelers – Contender

The offense of the Steelers will always keep them in contention. It will be their defense that hurts them in the playoffs. Specifically their secondary. The Steelers are going to have to win some major shootouts in the playoffs if they expect to advance and play for their seventh Super Bowl Championship.


Houston Texans – Contender

I said way back in the preseason, this team is a sleeper in the AFC. They have a tremendous defense. The Texans also have one of the best young offenses in the NFL. The season started out a little rough. Nonetheless, the Texans are finding their stride. Currently, they have the longest winning streak in the league. We hope they have not peaked too early.


Kansas City Chiefs – Contender

While the Chiefs have the easiest road to the playoffs, it may not be the easiest road to Super Bowl LIII. Yes, all the games may be played in Arrowhead Stadium but they may not be enough. Experienced playoff teams such as the Steelers and Patriots have won on the road many times. Also, the Chiefs defense could be an Achilles heel against speedy receivers. Nonetheless, their offense can keep them in games and keeps them in as a contender.

As you can see, all four division leaders in the AFC are contenders. Some are stronger than others. A couple of teams have some issues that may derail them in the playoffs. The final four weeks should be fun as they jockey for position.

How do you feel about the AFC? Leave a comment below.

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