In 2022, These Three Teams Could Threaten The Buffalo Bills

June 28, 2022
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There’s a lot of anticipation for the 2022 NFL season for Buffalo Bills fans. By most expert accounts, the Bills are expected to be among the top teams in the NFL in 2022. Offseason additions, a solid draft performance, and another year for Josh Allen, Stefon Diggs, and the rest of the offense to synchronize are the reasons why this is the case.

But there are a number of teams in the AFC that also look to be in a good position heading into the season. To get to the Super Bowl, you must first get through the rest of the AFC. Just how many AFC teams are there who present a threat to the Bills in 2022? Only time will tell. But there are three that stand out as obvious.

Cincinnati Bengals – USA Today

1. Cincinnati Bengals

Cincinnati stands out to me as one of the obvious choices. As 2021’s AFC-representing Super Bowl team, there’s good reason to be concerned about Cincinnati again in 2022. Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins, Tyler Boyd, and Joe Mixon make up an incredible set of offensive weapons for Joe Burrow.

I’ve seen it said many times on social media that Burrow isn’t really that good and that the team is a one-year fluke. I’m not entirely sold on this. To me, he isn’t the main concern with this team. Chase, Higgins, Boyd, and Mixon are. This is a well-rounded team that made it to the Super Bowl for a reason.

I wrote in an earlier piece that I considered Cincinnati to be a bit of a question mark as a Super Bowl team. I realize now that Burrow is the center of why I feel that way. I don’t know just how good he is. Is he overrated? Underrated? Neither? I don’t think I have a good answer. I do know that he doesn’t panic in big situations which allows him to utilize the plentiful supply of go-to options on the offense. This team has definite big-play ability, and they certainly don’t think they’re a one-year fluke.

Patrick Mahomes – USA Today

2. Kansas City Chiefs

Yes, Kansas City again. Don’t get me wrong, the loss of Tyreek Hill is going to be huge for them. But the departure of Hill alone doesn’t take Kansas City too far out of the AFC picture. I will say, though, that 2022 is the season in which Patrick Mahomes is going to have to find his way in a different manner. Without his former #1 wide receiver, Mahomes is going to have to learn to spread the ball out more, nickel and dime it and be patient with it.

We’ll likely learn by mid-season whether or not Mahomes has proven able to do these things effectively. We did see a little of this last season when opposing defenses got wise to the big play connections between him and Hill and forced the team to rely on that less. But a whole season? Hmm.

Nevertheless, Kansas City has proven themselves to be a pretty resourceful squad over the past couple of seasons. I’m willing to give them the benefit of the doubt that they’ll prove so again until I see otherwise. They still have the best tight end in the NFL at their disposal offensively and Mecole Hardman has potential for them as well. Is he Hill? Probably not. Will the 2022 Chiefs be the Chiefs of old? I don’t know.

Los Angeles Chargers – USA Today

3. Los Angeles Chargers

Los Angeles found themselves on the cusp of a playoff berth last season. Watching their final game against Las Vegas was bizarre to me because I honestly believed L.A. to be a playoff-level team. Justin Herbert is a very good quarterback who still seems to have a lot of untapped potential. What’s more, Herbert has an excellent set of companions on the offensive side of the ball. Austin Ekeler, Keenan Allen, and Mike Williams.

I see L.A. as having the capability to put up a large number of points in 2022. They’re also going to be up against considerable competition divisionally with the improved Las Vegas Raiders and Denver Broncos teams. But I think Herbert’s upward trajectory continues in 2022, and I don’t know that a Russell Wilson-led Denver squad or Las Vegas squad even with Davante Adams is capable of standing in the way of that trajectory.

The signing of Khalil Mack this offseason shows that L.A. is serious about contending in the AFC. Mack, along with Joey Bosa, should anchor their defensive unit effectively. Expect the team to be very good defensively in 2022. They should easily be able to compete with Kansas City for the top of the AFC West. It wouldn’t surprise me if they won the division outright, particularly if Kansas City proves unable to overcome the loss of Tyreek Hill and my cautious optimism surrounding them proves unfounded.

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