The Kansas City Chiefs and the Buffalo Bills bounced back from surprising losses a week ago and now are just two weeks away from their long-awaited regular season matchup.
The Chiefs routed the Bucs, 41-31, while the Bills overcame a 20-3 deficit to beat the Ravens, 23-20, as both teams boosted their records to 3-1.
The two teams meet in two weeks on Oct. 16 in Kansas City after the Chiefs host the Raiders this Monday night and Buffalo hosts Pittsburgh this Sunday.
The Kansas City-Buffalo game may be a preview of the AFC title game and the winner of the Oct. 16 game may have the leg up in the battle for the top seed, a bye in the first round and home field in the AFC title game.
Only one other AFC team, Miami, is 3-1 and the Dolphins don’t know when they will get Tua Tagovailoa back after he suffered two concussions last week. He has already been ruled out of Sunday’s game at the New York Jets. Teddy Bridgewater will replace him.
There are eight 2-2 teams in the AFC and it remains to be seen if either Cincinnati or the Chargers will emerge after they both won last week.. Both have good young quarterbacks in Joe Burrow and Justin Herbert although the Bengals have to overcome the fact that only one Super Bowl loser has won the following year since 1972 when the perfect Dolphins did it.
Baltimore has Lamar Jackson and he has twice built up 17-point leads only to have the defense fail to hold them. Coach John Harbaugh has so little confidence in his defense that he passed up a field goal to go for it on fourth down against Buffalo.
Harbaugh obviously was worried his defense couldn’t hold a three-point lead. But Jackson didn’t make it when Jackson failed to spot an open receiver in the back of the end zone and threw a pick. The Ravens used to be noted for their defense but those days are long gone and they now have to rely on Jackson outscoring teams.
The surprising 2-2 Jaguars lost in the rain in Philaelphia last week when Trevor Lawrence turned it over five times, including four lost fumbles. But if they beat the Texans and Colts the next two weeks, they have only the Titans as an obstacle to them winning the division title. Wins in the next two weeks would give them a 3-0 division record.
Three AFC teams — New England, Pittsburgh and the Raiders — are 1-3 and aren’t likely to be factors this year along with the only winless team — 0-3-1 Houston.
But the Steelers appear to have found their quarterback of the future in rookie Kenny Pickett and figure to be a contender next year. In 1984, they bypassed a Pitt quarterback named Dan Marino on the first round. This time, they grabbed a Pitt quarterback on the first round and it appears to be a good choice.
The NFC has the only unbeaten team in Philadelphia at 4-0 and four 3-1 teams in Dallas, the Giants, Vikings and Packers. But none of the four 3-1 teams are looking particularly impressive.
The Packers, for example, had to go to overtime last week to beat a New England teams playing its third string quarterback. And the Bucs and Tom Brady fell to 2-2 with the loss to the Chiefs in a Super Bowl rematch from a year ago
The defending champion Rams fell to San Francisco and also are 2-2. The NFC champion figures to be the underdog in the Super Bowl. No team has repeated since the 2003-04 Patriots, and the Rams don’t look like they will be the next team to do it.