Almost every NFL handicapper agrees that more good teams exist in the AFC than they do in the NFC, which is why any time we consider backing a team to win the conference, we should also consider odds. But although we never want to bet on underlays, odds don’t always lead us in the right direction. Sometimes, we must first put odds to the side, decide who the best team is, and then make a separate decision on whether to make a bet. With that in mind, check out information on AFC Championship contenders along with the pick to win the conference regardless of the AFC Conference Championship odds.
NFL: Forget the Odds – Who will really win the AFC Championship?
2022 AFC Championship
- When: Sunday, Jan. 30
- Where: TBD
- TV / Streaming: CBS / Paramount+
Buffalo is a play against
Versus defending champion Tampa Bay in NFL Week 14, the Buffalo Bills rallied from 17 down to force overtime. But Buffalo couldn’t close the deal.
The loss sent the Bills to 7-6, which not only puts Buffalo a couple of games behind the rival Patriots in the AFC East, but also just a single game ahead of Miami and Las Vegas for a wildcard.
Five other teams, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Indianapolis, Denver, and Cincinnati have the same 7-6 record as the Bills. At one point this season, Buffalo was the chalk to win the Super Bowl. Heading into Week 15, they may not make the playoffs.
If Henry returns, Tennessee will have a shot
The 9-4 Titans have used smoke and mirrors to win football games. Although it sounds crazy, if the Titans can win the AFC South, they will have a shot to take the conference.
Derrick Henry should return in time for the playoffs. Without Henry, the Titans are mediocre. Tennessee is one of the best teams in the league with Henry. So if they can manage to hold off the Colts, Tennessee will have a chance.
The Tennessee Titans isn’t the team to back to win the AFC regardless of odds. But they will have a chance.
No team from the AFC North appears capable of winning the conference
Baltimore may have to play without Lamar Jackson for an extended period. Cincinnati isn’t good enough. Cleveland isn’t good enough, and Pittsburgh can’t get healthy.
One of those four teams will win the AFC North. But once the playoffs start, don’t expect the division winner to do much of anything.
Indianapolis is the AFC team to fear
If the Colts beat Tennessee and win the AFC South, or they make the playoffs via a wildcard, Indianapolis can do some damage.
Running back Jonathan Taylor is a beast. He can rush for over 100 against any defense in the league. If Carson Wentz doesn’t blow games, the Colts could make a nice run. They’re not the best play unless you’re thinking odds, but they’re a good play.
The Kansas City Chiefs are a decent play, but they’re not the best play
Anybody who backs the Chiefs to win the AFC is making a wise choice. Only one team has played better than the Kansas City Chiefs in the past six weeks.
KC’s resurgence has almost everything to do with the Chiefs’ defense, which should scare every AFC rival. Kansas City can score against almost any team in the league.
If the defense matches the offense’s intensity in the playoffs the Chiefs will be difficult to beat. But although KC is a great play regardless of odds, they’re not the top play.
Bill Belichick and the Patriots will win the AFC title
The hottest team in the league is also the NFL’s best. Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots have won 7 straight and have the top record in the AFC.
The Pats can beat you with their defense or offense. Rookie quarterback Mac Jones completes 70% of his passes. He’s Brady-like in the sense he makes few errors, knows the offense, and his teammates respect him.
Unless Jones implodes, and that won’t happen, New England should continue rolling through the regular season, and end Week 18 with the conference’s 1-seed. The Patriots are the team the back to win the AFC Championship.