Ranking 2023 NFL contenders by tiers: AFC headlined by Chiefs, Bengals, Bills entering regular season

With the NFL in hibernation for a couple more weeks before training camps open up, we are in full-blown rankings season. My colleague, Cody Benjamin, broke each NFC team into tiers as we gear up for the 2023 regular season and now it’s my turn to tackle the AFC. Of course, this conference not only boasts the defending Super Bowl champion Chiefs, but it also houses three of the top five Super Bowl betting favorites entering this season at Caesars Sportsbook. 

Here, we’ll try to slot each team into its proper tier, ranging from those that have a Lombardi Trophy in the crosshairs, all the way down to the clubs that will be searching for moral victories over actual wins in 2023. 

Tier 1: Bona fide Super Bowl contenders (3)

Kansas City Chiefs, Cincinnati Bengals, Buffalo Bills

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The Kansas City Chiefs might deserve a tier of their own as the defending champions. After all, they do boast the best coach-quarterback duo in the league with Patrick Mahomes and Andy Reid, which should continue to have them hunting for a championship in 2023 (and are currently the betting favorite to win it all again). Losing Orlando Brown Jr. is a notable loss along the offensive line, but they have since brought in Donovan Smith and Jawaan Taylor to man the tackle positions and protect Mahomes. They are also betting that Mahomes will be able to elevate the wide receiver room that’s headlined by Kadarius Toney, Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Skyy Moore. Of course, Travis Kelce continues to be one of the greatest mismatches in the NFL today and will be the go-to outlet in the passing attack. 

One thing that I like that the Chiefs have done over the last couple of years is their under-the-radar youth movement on defense, particularly off the edge. The team drafted pass rushers George…


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