I know what you are thinking, “It’s week 3 and this guy already wants to talk about division champions?” Makes me think of the infamous Jim Mora post game speech in 2001. Regardless, I believe some teams have already shown they have what it takes to be division champions. Like them or not, these are my picks.
AFC North: Pittsburgh Steelers
Through the first three games of Pittsburgh’s young season, Steelers fans have a lot to cheer about. A 2-1 start, efficient ball movement, and a healthy team are just a few of many bright spots for this team. Granted, the Eagles just handed them their worst loss in over 25 years, but that is a minor setback when considering how they looked in the first two weeks. Like I said, the AFC North is not one of the stronger divisions in the league so far.
The only forseeable competition will be from an unimpressive Baltimore Ravens squad who are 3-0 but to this point have faced teams with a combined record of just 1-8 after week 3. Impressive, right? So despite the blowout and a second-place 2-1 record, I still like them to come out as the north division champions.
AFC South: Houston Texans
Again, this is a division that lacks a true powerhouse. Honestly, my initial idea was to put all four team names in a hat, randomly pull a name, and name them as the division champions. In the end I decided to actually put in effort and give thought to who the best looking team is to this point and I picked the boys from Texas. With the addition of Brock Osweiler to a young-talenedt team, it was impossible to go with anyone else.
The Patriots shut them out on Thursday night but Houston is still the best team to get the job done in the south. Maybe if the Colts weren’t to the point of pulling people off of the street to defend the pass, my decision would be different. As long as the Texans get at least 9 wins this season, they will be the champs.
AFC East: New England Patriots
Just like 12 of the last 13 seasons, the Patriots will win this division. Not only are they playing like the team to beat in the division, same goes for the in the league. New England is usually one of the strongest teams each year and this year will be no different.
Offense has struggled to this point but they are making up for it on defense. This defense is much stronger than people think. Critics point to the young secondary but players are not letting that adversity hinder their play. CBS Sports has their defense ranked 17th through week 3 which may not be an impressive number, but they are much improved since last year. Their run defense is stout and very few big plays are hurting them through the air.
Once Brady returns from his suspension in week 5, expect this Patriots team to go on a tear.
AFC West: Denver Broncos
No, I am not just picking the teams out to the hottest start in each division. Yes, I chose the Broncos just because of their defense. How could I not? When you have a brick wall for a defense, it doesn’t matter how productive a team’s offense is/isn’t.
As embarrassing as it is, I doubted this defense before the season started. Boy do I feel dumb because they are looking as good, if not better, than last year’s Super Bowl team. In addition, I thought Trevor Siemian would mean the end of the Denver powerhouse. A
gain, not the case. The combination of his young leadership and monstrous defense will propel them to their sixth consecutive division title.