If we're being honest, the New England Patriots are almost certainly going to win the AFC this year. They're the +190 choices to hoist yet another Lamar Hunt Trophy and are the +310 favorites to win the Super Bowl for the sixth time in the Tom Brady/Bill Belichick era. That said, there are a few teams out there that beg to be watched in the AFC, and these teams could surprise and go from missing the playoffs in 2016 to legitimately contending in 2017.
Super Bowl Odds: +4000
We're not breaking any news here by saying that the Titans are a trendy pick to win the Super Bowl at a price of 40 to 1. For a good stretch towards the end of the season before Marcus Mariota broke his leg, Tennessee was the best team in the AFC South. It was unlucky not to setup a showdown against the Texans for the division title in Week 17.
At least in theory, this team should have a healthy Mariota every step of the way, and that alone plus his development should make Tennessee a threat. The Titans have the best running game in the AFC South by a country mile, they play alarmingly intense defense, and they added a pair of top 20 picks to the bunch thanks to the trade out from the No. 1 pick in the draft a year ago.
Super Bowl Odds: +4500
Again, no breaking news here. The Ravens are always dangerous because of their pedigree and the coaching of John Harbaugh. Joe Flacco can turn it on at any given moment and turn into a de facto legend-killer, and this defense still plays with a mean streak that can win it games against anyone in the NFL.
It's going to be a challenge for sure for the Ravens to get into the playoffs. They're always in the thick of the fight, but if we're being honest, they're probably second-best to Pittsburgh, and perhaps third-best to Cincinnati as well. Still, one Ben Roethlisberger injury, and the AFC North is wide open. We already know that this team can be one of the most dangerous in the NFL when it gets into the postseason.
Los Angeles Chargers
Super Bowl Odds: +6500
Don't count out the Bolts in their first year in Tinseltown. They're going to have a very unique home field advantage playing at the StubHub Center this year, and with as close as the fans are to the action, this could end up being a big advantage for the home team.
Furthermore, the injury bug that has crippled this team over the course of the last two years almost has to stay away. That said, Mike Williams' rookie season already seems to be over before it has started, but if Keenan Allen and the rest of these wide receivers can stay out there and give Philip Rivers a fighting chance, why can't the Chargers – playing a last place schedule, may we remind you – ultimately even win the AFC West? Sure, this is the toughest division in all of football right now, but the Chargers can play with the Raiders, Broncos or Chiefs. They're used to this pressure of these tight divisional games, and if they can swing two or three of those into the win column thanks to having a healthier squad, this could be a postseason team in 2017.
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