Upstart AFC Team Pegged as Real Threat to ‘Knock Off’ Chiefs

Patrick Mahomes

Getty Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes II could have a new AFC challenger in 2023.

Until proven otherwise, the Kansas City Chiefs are the clear team to beat in the AFC — but is a new challenger emerging?

In recent years, it’s been the Cincinnati Bengals and the Buffalo Bills that have given the Chiefs a run for their money most seasons. Some have even considered the Baltimore Ravens as a team on the cusp of greatness, or the Los Angeles Chargers inside the AFC West.

The franchise we’ll be talking about in this article is none of those teams, however. On the May 24 edition of ESPN’s “Get Up,” analyst Dan Orlovsky highlighted the New York Jets as one of the biggest threats to Kansas City in 2023 — along with the Bills.

“I’ve never seen this Aaron Rodgers before, and I’ve seen him since the moment we came in the NFL together,” Orlovsky explained while discussing the Jets. “One, the refreshed, the energized, the excited and happy while also having the chip on the shoulder.”

“He got run out of town in Green Bay,” the ESPN analyst continued, “but now he’s got that chip on his shoulder that I’m going to prove everybody wrong and that I’m still the baddest dude on the planet, while also being excited about where he is and who he’s doing it with.”

Patrick Mahomes, Aaron Rodgers Rivalry Headlines Chiefs-Jets Matchup in 2023

When you consider that either Patrick Mahomes II or Rodgers has won the NFL MVP award in each the past three seasons — and four of the past five years — Orlovsky’s statement is not all that farfetched.

“I think the Jets are in this very unique space,” Orlovsky voiced on Get Up. “There’s two teams that I think are the most equipped to beat Kansas City, because that’s what this season is about. One is Buffalo. Everyone keeps sleeping on Buffalo, and then the [number] two are the New York Jets. Those are 1-2 to knock off Kansas City to get back to the Super Bowl.”

“I think this is the best defense Aaron’s ever played with,” he added later on Rodgers and the Jets. “He played with one really, really good defense in Green Bay in like 2010, I think — they won the Super Bowl. This will be the best defense he’s played with. Energized, offended and talented — this a team that can absolutely beat the Kansas City Chiefs.”

Over the course of their careers, Mahomes and Rodgers are two of the greatest quarterbacks of the same era to never actually start an NFL game against one another.

In 2019, backup Matt Moore spelled Mahomes due to injury as KC faced off against the Green Bay Packers. Then, in 2021, Jordan Love started over an injured Rodgers with Mahomes on the field.

It’s uncanny, really, but as fans we may finally get a couple of head-to-heads now that Rodgers is in the AFC. Barring injury to either QB, the Chiefs are scheduled to play the Jets on Sunday Night Football in Week 4.

Dan Orlovsky Snubs Bengals as 2023 Contender to Chiefs

After Orlovsky’s bold comments, fellow panelist Dan Graziano questioned the decision to snub Cincinnati as a top AFC contender.

It’s a fair issue, considering the Bengals were the only team to defeat the Chiefs in recent years — representing the conference in the 2022 Super Bowl against the Los Angeles Rams.

Cincy’s window is closing with Joe Burrow and top receivers like Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins still on their rookie contracts. If anything, the Bengals will be desperate to win in 2023 and KC should not overlook them as Orlovsky has.

Those four franchises profile as the current teams to beat in the AFC as of now, with the Ravens, Chargers, Miami Dolphins, Tennessee Titans, Jacksonville Jaguars and Cleveland Browns as potential dark horses after that.

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M Oclaf
M Oclaf
4 months ago

Jets ain’t winning nothing