NFL 2023 AFC Season Preview

By Ian John
October 23, 2023

Hello and welcome to the first in a two-part series where we preview the forthcoming NFL Season! Focusing here on the AFC!

Contents

    In this first article we will be taking a look at each of the four divisions that make up the AFC.

    Of course, that will include last year’s Super Bowl winners the Kansas City Chiefs. Additionally, we’ll look at some other Super Bowl contenders from this Conference, such as the New York Jets and Buffalo Bills.

    Of course, following the NFL is all the more exciting if you have had a wager on the outcome. As such, bet365 Sport is offering an extensive range of markets on the entire season, and on individual games.

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    Click on the link here to visit part two where we look at the NFC Teams!

    But for now let’s continue by starting our review of the AFC starting in the East.

    AFC East Preview

    Buffalo Bills

    • Head Coach – Sean McDermott
    • Last Season Record – 13-3 (1st)
    • Key Loss – Tremaine Edmunds (ILB)
    • Key Arrival – Leonard Floyd (DE)
    • Star Players – Josh Allen (QB), Von Miller (OLB), Stefon Diggs (WR)
    • Divisional Odds – 13/10 fav
    • Super Bowl Odds – 17/2

    With one of the best rosters in the NFL, depth in most positions, quality all over the field on offense and defense, the Bills are ready for the Super Bowl.

    Their only issue may well be being in a conference that also contains the Kansas City Chiefs, Cincinnati Bengals and Baltimore Ravens.

    Miami Dolphins

    • Head Coach – Mike McDaniel
    • Last Season Record – 9-8 (2nd)
    • Key Loss – Mike Gesicki (TE)
    • Key Arrival – David Long (LB)
    • Star Players – Tyreek Hill (WR), Josh Norman (CB), Jaylen Waddle (WR)
    • Divisional Odds – 3/1
    • Super Bowl Odds – 22/1

    The Dolphins could be a legitimate playoff contender here, but much depends on the fitness of QB Tua Tagovailoa, and whether the ‘Fins can overcome their issues traveling North to take on some of their divisional opponents.

    https://twitter.com/THROWBACKS4EVER/status/1681353600230998042/photo/1

    New England Patriots

    • Head Coach – Bill Belichick
    • Last Season Record – 8-9 (3rd)
    • Key Loss – Jakobi Meyers (WR)
    • Key Arrival – JuJu Smith Schuster (WR)
    • Star Players – Christian Barmore (DT), Matt Judon (OLB), Jonathan Jones (CB)
    • Divisional Odds – 15/2
    • Super Bowl Odds – 50/1

    For me, this looks like being a tough season for the Patriots. Belichick normally gets more from a team than he should, but even if he does that again here, I can’t see the Patriots winning more than half a dozen games or so.

    New York Jets

    • Head Coach – Robert Saleh
    • Last Season Record – 7-10 (4th)
    • Key Loss – Nathan Shepherd (DE)
    • Key Arrival – Aaron Rodgers (QB)
    • Star Players – Aaron Rodgers (QB), Sauce Gardner (CB), Quinton Jefferson (DT)
    • Divisional Odds – 12/5
    • Super Bowl Odds – 14/1

    Aaron Rodgers arrival has changed the Jets from a playoff wannabe, to a team that is now targeting the Super Bowl. They, along with the Dolphins, will likely give the Bills a real run for their money in this division this year.

    AFC North Preview

    Baltimore Ravens

    • Head Coach – John Harbaugh
    • Last Season Record – 10-7 (2nd)
    • Key Loss – Ben Powers (G)
    • Key Arrival – Odell Beckham Jr (WR)
    • Star Players – Lamar Jackson (QB), Roquain Smith (ILB), Kyle Hamilton (S)
    • Divisional Odds – 5/2
    • Super Bowl Odds – 20/1

    For me, the Ravens are one of the teams to watch this season. They have a strong settled squad, plenty of good receivers and one of the best rushing games in the NFL. If they can avoid injuries to key players they could be very close this season.

    Cincinnati Bengals

    • Head Coach – Zac Taylor
    • Last Season Record – 12-4 (1st)
    • Key Loss – Jessie Bates (S)
    • Key Arrival – Orlando Brown Jr. (T)
    • Star Players – Joe Burrow (QB), Ja’Marr Chase (WR), Joe Mixon (RB)
    • Divisional Odds – 5/4 fav
    • Super Bowl Odds – 10/1

    Cincinnati should make the playoffs comfortably and I feel it will be between them and the Ravens for top spot. Whoever lands home field in the playoffs could have a massive advantage over their divisional opponents.

    Cleveland Browns

    • Head Coach – Kevin Stefanski
    • Last Season Record –7-10 (4th)
    • Key Loss – Hjalte Froholdt (C)
    • Key Arrival – Dalvin Tomlinson (DT)
    • Star Players – Nick Chubb (RB), Myles Garrett (DE), Ogbonnia Okoronkwo (DE)
    • Divisional Odds – 18/5
    • Super Bowl Odds – 33/1

    The Browns could improve on last season, but I am not sure they will. Deshaun Watson’s still not convincing after coming back from his ban and while they have great players, the team does struggle against its divisional opponents.

    Pittsburgh Steelers

    • Head Coach – Mike Tomlin
    • Last Season Record – 9-8 (3rd)
    • Key Loss – Cam Sutton (CB)
    • Key Arrival – Cole Holcomb (LB)
    • Star Players – Minkah Fitzpatrick (S), TJ Watt (OLB), Cam Heyward (DT)
    • Divisional Odds – 11/2
    • Super Bowl Odds – 50/1

    With QB Kenny Pickett a year older and wiser, the Steelers may feel they have a shot at the playoffs here. I am not so sure. They have a solid defense but the offenses in this division can put up plenty of points and that is where I see the Steelers falling well short.

    AFC West Preview

    Denver Broncos

    • Head Coach – Sean Payton
    • Last Season Record – 5-12 (4th)
    • Key Loss – Dre’Mont Jones (DE)
    • Key Arrival – Mike McGlinchey (T)
    • Star Players – Russell Wilson (QB), Jerry Jeudy (WR), Frank Clark (DE)
    • Divisional Odds – 11/2
    • Super Bowl Odds – 40/1

    Sean Payton has talent to work with in Denver. I’m just not sure there is enough of it for the Broncos to be anywhere near the top teams in this division as they still lag well behind the Chiefs and Chargers in my view.

    Kansas City Chiefs

    • Head Coach – Andy Reid
    • Last Season Record –14-3 (1st) (Super Bowl Champions)
    • Key Loss – Orlando Brown Jr (T)
    • Key Arrival – Jawaan Taylor (T)
    • Star Players – Patrick Mahomes (QB), Travis Kelce (TE), Chris Jones (DT)
    • Divisional Odds – 7/2 fav
    • Super Bowl Odds – 6/1 fav

    It’s a new season and the Chiefs are once again the favourites to win it all with the bookmakers. I can’t quite see them doing that again this year, but I feel they will win this division and go deep in the playoffs.

    Las Vegas Raiders

    • Head Coach – Josh McDaniel
    • Last Season Record – 6-11 (3rd)
    • Key Loss – Derek Carr (QB)
    • Key Arrival – Jimmy Garoppolo (QB)
    • Star Players – Davante Adams (WR), Maxx Crosby (DE), Chandler Jones (DE)
    • Divisional Odds – 12/1
    • Super Bowl Odds – 40/1

    I’m not quite sure what is happening with the Raiders at the moment. To me Jimmy G is a drop down from Derek Carr and the Raiders didn’t really add any blue chip talent to a squad that was nowhere near strong enough last season.

    Los Angeles Chargers

    • Head Coach – Brandon Staley
    • Last Season Record – 10-7 (2nd)
    • Key Loss – Drue Tranquil (LB)
    • Key Arrival – Erik Kendricks (ILB)
    • Star Players – Justin Herbert (QB), Khalil Mack (OLB), Joey Bosa (OLB)
    • Divisional Odds – 3/1
    • Super Bowl Odds – 28/1

    If any team can challenge the Chiefs in this division next season it should be the Chargers. They are better than a 10-7 team this time around and I can see them pushing the Chiefs hard at the top of the division.

    AFC South Preview

    Houston Texans

    • Head Coach – DeMeco Ryans
    • Last Season Record – 3-13-1 (4th)
    • Key Loss – Ogbonna Okoronkwo (DE)
    • Key Arrival – Jimmie Ward (S)
    • Star Players – Damien Pierce (RB), Laremy Tunsil (T), Derek Stingley Jr (CB)
    • Divisional Odds – 8/1
    • Super Bowl Odds – 175/1

    The Texans had a solid draft and they should be better for it, but even so, I still think that they are going to struggle this season unless their top two draft picks hit the ground running and make big contributions immediately.

    Indianapolis Colts

    • Head Coach – Shane Steichen
    • Last Season Record – 4-12-1 (3rd)
    • Key Loss – Bobby Okereke (LB)
    • Key Arrival – Samson Ebukam (DE)
    • Star Players – Jonathan Taylor (RB), Shaquille Leonard (OLB), Quenton Nelson (G)
    • Divisional Odds – 6/1
    • Super Bowl Odds – 100/1

    It seems the Colts brass are preparing for an underwhelming season as their QB Anthony Richardson learns the pro-style offense. The Colts have a solid defense and a good rush attack so they may do a little better than many are expecting.

    Jacksonville Jaguars

    • Head Coach – Doug Pederson
    • Last Season Record – 9-8 (1st)
    • Key Loss – Jawaan Taylor (T)
    • Key Arrival – Josh Wells (T)
    • Star Players – Trevor Lawrence (QB), Josh Allen (OLB), Foyesade Olukun (ILB)
    • Divisional Odds – 5/8 fav
    • Super Bowl Odds – 25/1

    The Jags proved to be the strongest team in a weak AFC South last season and they look the strongest on paper once again. I think they will win the division, but may be pushed a little harder than they expected.

    Tennessee Titans

    • Head Coach – Mike Vrabel
    • Last Season Record – 7-10 (2nd)
    • Key Loss – Ben Jones (C)
    • Key Arrival – DeAndre Hopkins (WR)
    • Star Players – Derrick Henry (RB), Jeffrey Simmons (DT), Kevin Byard (S)
    • Divisional Odds – 16/5
    • Super Bowl Odds – 66/1

    Signing DeAndre Hopkins strengthens an otherwise weak passing attack. Their passing defense last season was awful so despite a solid rush attack and defense, the Titans are probably going to end up second best in this division once again.

    Our Predictions for Each Division – AFC

    AFC East

    1. Buffalo Bills – 13-4
    2. New York Jets – 12-5
    3. Miami Dolphins – 9-8
    4. New England Patriots – 4-13

    AFC North

    1. Baltimore Ravens – 12-5
    2. Cincinnati Bengals – 11-6
    3. Pittsburgh Steelers – 8-9
    4. Cleveland Browns – 5-12

    AFC West

    1. Kansas City Chiefs – 11-6
    2. Los Angeles Chargers – 10-7
    3. Denver Broncos – 7-10
    4. Las Vegas Raiders – 5-12

    AFC South

    1. Jacksonville Jaguars – 11-6
    2. Tennessee Titans – 8-9
    3. Houston Texans – 6-11
    4. Indianapolis Colts – 4-13
    AFC NFL Running Back

    AFC Playoff Seedings

    1. Buffalo Bills
    2. Baltimore Ravens
    3. Kansas City Chiefs
    4. Jacksonville Jaguars
    5. New York Jets
    6. Cincinnati Bengals
    7. Los Angeles Chargers

    AFC Conference Championship Game

    • New York Jets 21-24 Baltimore Ravens

    Tomorrow we’ll do the same for the NFC as well as reveal our Super Bowl winner prediction.

    *All odds shown in the article were correct with bet365 Sport at the time of writing, but may well have changed in the run up to the start of the NFL regular season.

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