5 AFC teams who have major questions to answer
5. Houston Texans
The Texans are coming off one of the stranger offseasons in recent memory. Houston traded All-Pro receiver DeAndre Hopkins for a second-round pick and veteran running back David Johnson in a lopsided deal. Additionally, the Texans allowed nose tackle D.J. Reader to leave for the Cincinnati Bengals in free agency without adding talent in other areas of the unit.
Essentially, is there enough talent on this roster for Deshaun Watson to succeed with? Watson is phenomenal, but it’s basically Johnson in the backfield, and a pair of oft-injured receivers in Brandin Cooks and Will Fuller.
4. Denver Broncos
Is Drew Lock the answer in Denver? This is one of the biggest questions in the NFL, let alone the AFC. The Broncos believe he could be after going 4-1in his five starts to end last season, but there are concerns. The offensive line remains one of the league’s worst, led by left tackle Garret Bolles.
Additionally, Denver general manager John Elway is relying heavily on pair of rookie receivers in KJ Hamler and Jerry Jeudy. It’s a lot of pressure on Lock to be good in his first full year of starting.
3. New England Patriots
It’s obvious: can Cam Newton replace Tom Brady? Of course, Newton is trying to stay healthy after having shoulder and foot injuries over the past two seasons. If he can, do the Patriots have enough weapons to use on the outside, especially after the surprise release of receiver Mohamed Sanu?
Newton is facing one of the more difficult seasons of any quarterback, having to replace a living legend.
2. Buffalo Bills
Buffalo and its fans have to be wondering the same thing: can we finally win the AFC East? The Bills haven’t done so since 1995, back when Jim Kelly, Andre Reed, Thurman Thomas and Bruce Smith were roaming the halls at One Bills Drive.
The Bills have the most talented team in the AFC East, arguably on both sides of the ball. However, they have little experience being expected to do something, and this season, the expectation is to host at least one playoff game.
1. Pittsburgh Steelers
Will Ben Roethlisberger stay on the field? The Steelers’ star is coming off major elbow surgery and at 38 years old, time isn’t on his side. Pittsburgh has ample talent, but without Roethlisberger, it’s sunk.
With Roethlisberger giving the Steelers a vintage season, the AFC North could be up for grabs.