AFC Is Wide Open After Brady and Big Ben Retire

The last couple of years I've noticed a few things in the AFC. Last year the Miami Dolphins start the season 1-4 and then go on a run to make the playoffs. This year the San Diego Chargers start 0-4 and are out of the playoffs because of tie breakers and the Buffalo Bills get in with the help of the Dolphins tanking in the season finale and Baltimore Ravens defense collapsing. I've come to realize the AFC isn't a very good conference overall. How else can you explain this?

This year the AFC had 3 new teams in the playoffs the Bills, Tennessee Titans, and the Jacksonville Jaguars. Are those teams really all that much better than the Dolphins? I don't think so. Sure, the New England Patriots, Pittsburgh Steelers, and Kansas City Chiefs made it back, but what do all of those teams have in common that the rest of the conference has? They all have consistent quarterback play. Now Alex Smith can only get the Chiefs to the playoffs and crash once they get there. Ben Roethlisberger has won 2 Super Bowl and has been to another one. Tom Brady well we all know about him. The Facts are the Chiefs are trading Smith, and Big Ben and Brady are at the back end of their careers so who is going to step up?

All the other teams have quarterback issues and if you don't have one you won't go far. The Jaguars got to the playoffs with the strength of their defense and quarterback Blake Bortles doing just enough. He did play better down the stretch, but is that going to continue? The Titans fired their coach despite making the playoffs and Marcus Mariota really took a step back. The Bills they benched their quarterback mid-way through the season so obviously they don't want him despite leading the franchise to the playoffs for the first time in 17 years so be careful what you wish for. The San Diego Chargers have Philip Rivers, but like Brady and Roethlisberger he's on the down side of his career. The Ravens Joe Flacco has been so frustrating to watch at times since winning the Super Bowl. The Indianapolis Colts Andrew Luck missed all of this season with a throwing shoulder injury wonder if he makes it back to form. The Cincinnati Bengals Andy Daulton has gotten them to the playoffs, but never won a game and now coming off back to back seasons in which they have missed the playoffs. The Oakland Raiders, Denver Broncos, New York Jets, Houston Texans, and Cleveland Browns all have quarterback questions and frankly at times don't know what they are doing at the position. The Dolphins Ryan Tannehill is coming off ACL surgery so who knows what to expect and they need to have a backup plan in case he doesn't come back. Before the injury, Tannehill looked like he was turning the corner under Adam Gase and was starting to become the leader of this offense. If he makes it back to that form the Dolphins will have a chance.

Who Knows what will happen to the Patriots and Steelers once their Hall of Fame quarterbacks leave. What will their plan be? The Dolphins didn't have a plan Dan Marino retired and it has hurt the team big time not finding a quarterback, but if they can find one they can contend in the AFC and take the torch from the Patriots however it’s a tall order.