Yesterday, the breakdown of the 16 NFC teams’ offseason predictions took place. Today, the focus is on the 16 AFC teams’ offseason predictions. Again, the concerns may be contractual decisions, a position the team may need to replace, or trade to help create new opportunities. Free agency begins within a month, so this will allow many to gain an idea of roaring issues their favorite team may be dealing with. There are several teams that may not be looking for a quarterback, although they should be. We will deep dive into that situation in just a few, these breakdowns will be broken into divisions.
Again, this list was inspired by ESPN’s Bill Barnwell; however, these observations are based purely on statistics and observations from the previous year.
While we all understand this team is immensely gifted, one of their glaring weaknesses is their lack of pass rushers. They must prioritize drafting depth within that defensive line or hope on landing a steal in free agency this offseason. If the Bills have a dominant or consistent pass rusher it can help change the entire scope of their defense. This says a lot, simply because their defense was ranked number one overall last season and yet there’s still room for improvement.
Genuinely, take the time and preparation to invest in their offensive line. They have experienced a bunch of drama this offseason. However, they made the Dolphins made their choice by choosing Tua Tagovailoa over Brian Flores. In order, for this season to mean something they would have to protect Tagaovalioa.
New England Patriots:
The Patriots have two glaring issues, one they must sign or franchise tag cornerback J.C. Jackson. Two, they have no choice but to find a true number one receiver. Mac Jones struggled last year in the passing game at times when he went through his progressions and it was never much open. If they get a true number one, this will allow the offense to open up more and allow Jones to flourish. However, if they let Jackson walk, this will leave a gaping hole within their secondary with fairly young guys.
New York Jets:
Ironically, as New England may be losing a significant piece in the secondary the Jets are in dire need of one. There are several predictions of Jackson finding a big payday with the Jets. Even if they don’t sign Jackson, their biggest concern is still finding quality corners to strengthen their secondary.
The Ravens were struck with the worst luck of all last season with injuries. The key for these guys is to hire new trainers, add more quality depth to their roster, and find a legitimate pass rusher. The Ravens suffered the most injuries to starters in the entire NFL. Unfortunately, they were exposed once their starters and backups began getting hurt. At one point they were ranked number one overall in the AFC until the injuries began. They were below average this year in defense ranking and were one of the worst teams in defensive pressures. When healthy, this team can be a real contender but if anything happens to their starters this team isn’t even playoff bound.
They must revamp that offensive line and protect Joe Burrow at all costs. Their offensive line is atrocious, to say the least, yet they block their tales off for Burrow. So, while many respect this team’s grit and passion it doesn’t make up for lack of talent. They must prioritize revamping and investing in that offensive line.
Unfortunately, the writing is on the wall. Baker Mayfield just simply isn’t that guy that will lead the Browns to the Super Bowl let alone playoff run. He ranked below average last season while battling an injury. Many think this is the year that will make or break his future in Cleveland and going forward.
I think it goes without saying but with the retirement of Ben Roethlisberger, this is a gaping hole under center for the Steelers next season. While Dwayne Haskins has shown glimpses of hope in the past he still maybe not be ready for the spotlight. While making the playoffs affected their draft stock, it may allow them trade opportunities. Their cap room allows them to maybe land someone who can help them offensively until they gain that centerpiece they are looking for.
It doesn’t get much worst than the 2021 Houston Texans. However, they did play hard and show promise at times. They must begin building a foundation with their young core. The perfect model to follow would be the Detroit Lions. They’re not great, yet they’re respected amongst the league, and they’re building their core guys.
Get rid of Carson Wentz and sign Jimmy Garrapolo. While both aren’t great, they’re both game managers and can win games as long as they don’t turn the ball over. Jimmy G has found more success within systems where he had a stout defense and key offensive players. The Colt’s best bet to achieve ultimate success would be to go after Jimmy G this offseason.
There’s tons of turmoil in Jacksonville after the tragedy of coach Urban Meyer was. They have to as an organization makes it easier on Trevor Lawrence. Lawrence didn’t play great to be fair, however, he didn’t have much to work with either. If they can find ways to bring talent around Lawrence they can get better production out of the young QB going forward.
They have to find a way to replace Harold Landry III or sign him back. The young linebacker was a staple within that Titan defense. He was their focal point and play-caller on defense and will be very hard to replace going forward. However, the linebacker market has some promising prospects and there are tons of backers in this upcoming draft.
They have to go all-in and go secure Aaron Rodgers. This team is the definition of a “quarterback away”. Who better to have as a quarterback than a four-time regular-season MVP. They are the clear front runners for Rodgers, there should be no way they don’t attempt to secure him for this upcoming season.
Kansas City Chiefs:
They have to gather depth in their secondary. Their team as we all know is loaded, however, the secondary is abysmal. A key piece they can sign back is Tyran Mathieu or they can look elsewhere in free agency.
Las Vegas Raiders:
The Raiders must add another talented wide receiver. Outside of Darren Waller, who’s a stud, they don’t have much talent on the outside. Hunter Renfrow has come become one of the deadliest slots in the NFL. He was forced to step up and become a complimenting piece. Their Pro Bowl quarterback Derek Carr has earned the right to have talented receivers as he’s been through it all this season with their off-the-field issues. Their priority is to complement those pieces around them and they will become a contender sooner than later.
Los Angeles Chargers:
The Chargers are a team many would consider very underwhelming. Their young QB is becoming one of the future QBs that many will fear playing against. Their running defense and defense in general needs to be prioritized this offseason.