6. Cincinnati Bengals
This is the Super Bowl cut-off in the AFC. The conference is so loaded in talent that there are six teams who could legitimately win the Super Bowl next season. Typically there are fewer than six teams in the entire league that are talented enough to win it all in a season. The AFC has six.
Some may think it is disrespectful to include the Bengals as the sixth team but on paper, this is where they should rank. Yes, they got hot in the playoffs and were able to ride a great defensive performance to the Super Bowl.
However, if Derek Carr throws a touchdown instead of an interception at the end of the Wild-Card Round game then the public opinion on the Bengals is much different. They're a Super Bowl-caliber team, but just because they made it last year does not make them the best team in the conference.
5. Kansas City Chiefs
Yes, I am ranking the Kansas City Chiefs fifth in the AFC. This might seem like a bold take but the holes on the roster are too noticeable to rank them any higher at this point in time. Losing Tyreek Hill is a big deal and while Chiefs fans want to downplay it, it is not every day that a team can lose a top-five receiver and be the same.
Even more concerning is the status of the Chiefs' secondary. The Chiefs are losing (and have already lost) some significant pieces in the secondary. Tyrann Mathieu and Charvarius Ward were the team's two best players in the secondary last season. Ward is already gone, Mathieu is on his way.
Patrick Mahomes could very well elevate his new receivers and an aging Travis Kelce to be the same dominant team. However, with so many other teams gearing up and the holes in Kansas City, it is hard to rank them any higher than fifth.