1. AFC is wide open
The Patriots’ defense might be gaining confidence, and Jones is seemingly already capable of leading this team to the playoffs. However, they also need a little luck on their side, and right now the AFC is WIDE open.
Through eight weeks, it’s clear the Bills are the class of the conference. However, we wouldn’t exactly call them a juggernaut of a No. 1 seed.
Behind them, you have the Titans, who just lost Derrick Henry until at least the playoffs after he underwent foot surgery. The Ravens are a good team, but they’ve suffered too many injuries to key players to string together a deep run. The rest of the AFC North is wildly flawed, too.
As for the AFC West, the Chiefs proved on Monday night by barely squeaking past the Giants that they may not be going far this season. The Chargers have crashed back down to earth after a hot start and the Raiders are 5-2, but does anybody actually believe in them? We certainly don’t … at least not yet.
This isn’t to say the Patriots are better than all of those teams. However, you’d be hard-pressed to say they aren’t at least on a level playing field with them. If that isn’t a reason to think they can make a playoff run this year, then what is?