AFC power rankings: Chargers are better off than fans realize

Los Angeles Chargers v Minnesota Vikings
Los Angeles Chargers v Minnesota Vikings / Adam Bettcher/GettyImages
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AFC Power Rankings Tier 3: Underperforming playoff teams

  • 10. New England Patriots (1-2 record, -7 point differential)

The New England Patriots are teetering right on the edge of being an underperforming playoff team and falling into the fourth tier of this ranking. For the time being, they can be lumped in with these underperforming teams simply because of who they have played.

New England's two losses have come against the Philadelphia Eagles and Miami Dolphins, who might just be the two best teams in the league. And in those two games the Patriots lost by a combined 21 points. Yes, there are serious concerns about Mac Jones, but the Pats will hang against anyone.

  • 9. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-2 record, -18 point differential)

The Jacksonville Jaguars have had a weird start to the season. Jacksonville barely outlasted the Colts in a close game, stayed within striking distance against the Chiefs and then dropped a stinker to the Texans.

The Jags have back-to-back weeks in London against the Atlanta Falcons and Buffalo Bills, so expect there to be two more wonky games added to their resume. Jacksonville remains the hardest team in the AFC to gauge.

  • 8. Cincinnati Bengals (1-2 record, -21 point differential)

The Cincinnati Bengals escaped Monday Night Football with a much-needed three-point win against the LA Rams. Joe Burrow's calf injury has been the headline of the team's season as he is not playing well and that, of course, has become the main reason why.

Cincy is still a dangerous team that has to be respected and the team's two losses are against potential playoff teams. But if Burrow can't turn it around then they may not be the dominant contender that fans thought they would be.

  • 7. LA Chargers (1-2 record, -1 point differential)

Huh, so the Chargers aren't the only playoff team that is underperforming in the AFC? Maybe the sky isn't falling after all.

Let's be clear: the Chargers need to play better football if they want a chance at making the playoffs. The defense has been bad and with a tough schedule that will not be good enough to make the playoffs in the AFC.

All that being said, the Chargers were in a position to win both of the games they lost and would have probably won in Week 1 if J.C. Jackson hadn't committed the most pointless pass interference of all time. There is a world in which the Chargers are 3-0 and while they would still have concerns about the defense, fans wouldn't be so fixated on them because of the record.