Who is the top team in the AFC? | You Pod to Win the Game

Yahoo Sports’ Charles Robinson and Jori Epstein each discuss who they think the top AFC team is going into next season.

Video Transcript

CHARLES ROBINSON: We wanted to take this moment, though, to get into what you and I think are going to be the top seven teams from the AFC and NFC at this point in the offseason, obviously pre-draft, still some free agency sweeping to be done.

JORI EPSTEIN: Let's start with AFC.

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CHARLES ROBINSON: You want to do AFC first.

JORI EPSTEIN: The Super Bowl defending champion conference.

CHARLES ROBINSON: OK, I'll tell you what. All right, so let's go number one. Who's your number one?

JORI EPSTEIN: Cincinnati Bengals.

CHARLES ROBINSON: Really? Wow. Right off the bat, you're pushing the Bengals to the top this year.


CHARLES ROBINSON: No, come on. No, I got Chiefs. I absolutely have the Chiefs at number one. But you give me your ideology behind the Bengals. I'll give you my ideology behind the Chiefs.

JORI EPSTEIN: Absolutely. Yeah, I mean, for me, look. Do I think that the Chiefs could win another Super Bowl? 100%. But do I think that the Bengals are going to be the more talented roster going in? Yes, and I think that's probably even the case when you factor in the quarterbacks. Patrick Mahomes is a better quarterback than Joe Burrow, but I think Joe Burrow is slowly, slowly, slowly getting closer.


And then when you add in what the Bengals' defense is capable of doing, the fact that they have Orlando Brown now protecting Joe Burrow which, by the way, also means that he's not protecting Patrick Mahomes. And though I think that the offensive line won't be like 2020 season bad, do you remember that Buccaneers-Chiefs Super Bowl? Because I think it's hard to forget what the offensive line did there. And so I think that got guys like him on the way out of Kansas City, guys like Frank Clark on the way out, and I just feel like Cincinnati has these pieces.

They know they're in the window. Their defensive coordinator, they're pretty lucky they kept him from getting a head coach opportunity. And I think they've got the coaching, the scheme, the players, and they've shown they know how to beat the Chiefs.

CHARLES ROBINSON: I do think there's credence there. I don't think-- I don't think Burrow's close to Mahomes. I think he's "close-ish" in terms of is Josh Allen close to Mahomes? Sure. Is Burrow close to Mahomes?

But Mahomes to me continues to class himself above and beyond everyone else. I think this guy is going to be an MVP candidate every single year, unless they dramatically screw up the situation around him. We'll see what happens with Travis Kelce when he ages out. I'm just not as concerned about this whole Orlando Brown situation as maybe everybody else is.


To me, I think if Orlando Brown-- if his market had been a little stronger once he went to free agency, I mean, we ultimately saw the deal that he signed, he left millions and millions of dollars on the table. He could have done an extension with the Chiefs a year ago. And I think probably lost out on $4 to $5 million APY by leaving the team. So, to me, I sit there, and I'm like, I don't think NFL-- I don't think NFL teams look at him and say, yeah, left tackle.

I know he wants to play left tackle. I know he wants to honor his father. I get all that. But I just don't see the rest of the league looking at him and saying, well, jeez, this is just such a huge loss at the left tackle position.

I think people think he's a right tackle, who was playing left tackle, and there's a reason why his market was what it was ultimately. What do I think about Jawaan Taylor stepping in for the Chiefs and filling that role? I don't know. I mean, I don't know yet.

We'll see. I think he's obviously the younger player. I still think there's some ceiling there. We can also argue that he's also a right tackle in the NFL.


But, to me, I think what continues to make me lean toward the Chiefs was because last offseason I questioned what they were going to look like losing Tyreek Hill. I sat there, and I thought this, to me, felt like a team where I was so nervous about, was the offense going to be in flux. Defensively, are they going to be able to find the playmakers? Where's the pass rush?

All these questions that I had, and then I watched over the course of the season Mahomes absolutely killed it. I think they played a lot of rookies, right? They had rookies who got a lot of snaps last year. All those players, I think, are going to take a step forward. I think that's a big plus for the Chiefs.

And then I don't think they're done. I think there's still a chance that there is an addition at some point this offseason to the skill positions. I don't know that it'll be Odell Beckham, Jr. I think if Odell Beckham, Jr., was smart, go play with 15, OK?

So I don't-- that, to me, I would really, really like to see that ultimately happen. If Odell's not going to make a ton of money out there and his market isn't as strong as maybe some believed it would be, get with Patrick Mahomes, and we will see where that relationship can go. As far as the Bengals, I'll get into the Bengals when I get to their ranking. But I just feel like even though the overall roster top to bottom, you could make the argument that the Bengals are maybe ascending a little bit more than the Chiefs, I still think Mahomes is the difference maker.