It’s the time of year when we could all stand to gain a little perspective. Every city in the AFC has something they should be grateful for, though some need to look a little harder than others. It’s time to go around the table in the AFC and find something for every city to be thankful for.
Baltimore Ravens: Ray Rice
All Rice has done since he became the feature back in 2009 is never miss a game, and average 1,962 yards from scrimmage per season. At the age of 25, Rice has a lot left in the tank and Baltimore has him signed for the next five years. No other team has a workhorse with the combination of productivity and durability that the Ravens have.
Buffalo Bills: Memories
The Bills are in a division that has been dominated by the Patriots. New England is on track to win the AFC East for the ninth time in ten years and Buffalo has several moves to make before they can compete with them. Remember Jim Kelly, Bruce Smith, Thurman Thomas, and Andre Reed? You can always reminisce about those days until you can turn it around.
Cincinnati Bengals: Chad Johnson is gone and A.J. Green is here
The Bengals have replaced a good wide receiver that couldn’t function without attention, with a great wide receiver that lets his performance do the talking.
Cleveland Browns: Roller Coasters
The Browns are in the AFC North which is arguably one of the toughest divisions in the league. On top of that, their rookie quarterback is 29, and will be past his prime before he can reach it. On the bright side, Cedar Point, the roller coaster capital of the world, is about an hour drive away. If you spend a day there and are still sad about your football team, you need serious help.
Denver Broncos: John Elway
The Broncos are in control of the AFC West because your legendary quarterback landed you another legendary quarterback.
Houston Texans: The big three have been injury free
Matt Schaub, Arian Foster, and Andre Johnson have played in every game so far this year. If they can find a way to stay healthy, Houston will be the clear-cut favorites in the AFC.
Indianapolis Colts: The NFL doesn’t have a draft lottery
Based on how well Andrew Luck has played so far, the biggest winners of last season may have been the 2-14 Colts. He has been a huge factor in turning the Colts from a laughing stock into playoff hopefuls.
Jacksonville Jaguars: The NFL doesn’t have a draft lottery
If Jacksonville is ready to jump ship on Blaine Gabbert, they will likely be in great position for another shot at a franchise quarterback. If not, they will at least have a chance to get the poor guy some decent help.
Kansas City Chiefs: College basketball just started
Both Jayhawk and Mizzou fans have a solid team to watch that can help them forget about football. If you don’t like college basketball, then there are few better places to eat your feelings than Kansas City. If you don’t like barbecue, then you should probably leave.
Miami Dolphins: You live in Miami
The Dolphins aren’t too far from being competitive again. While you wait for that, don’t forget that you live in a city with sunny weather and beautiful beaches. Will Smith wouldn’t have made a song about it if it wasn’t true.
New England Patriots: A weak division
The Patriots are not playing their best football and are very lucky to be 6-3. Fortunately for them, nobody in the AFC East seems capable of putting pressure on them as they work out the kinks.
New York Jets: There are a several other sports teams in New York
In a perfect world, the Jets would have no injuries and two quarterbacks who can complete 50% of their passes, would equal one who can complete 100%. But that’s not case so just follow one of the many other sports teams in New York. Odds are at least a couple of them are watchable.
Oakland Raiders: You get to play Kansas City again
So far this has been another disappointing season for Oakland but it could always be worse. Thankfully, living jokes are always there to make us feel a little better about ourselves. Oakland will get another self-esteem boost against their rivals on December 16th.
Pittsburgh Steelers: Great coaching
Chuck Knoll, Bill Cowher, and Mike Tomlin are the Steelers’ only three head coaches since 1969. I’m not sure if Pittsburgh fans realize this, but every other team has to go through frustrating periods of trying to find good head coaches. You’ve had 43 straight years of great ones.
San Diego Chargers: It’s not too late
The 4-5 Chargers do have the talent to turn things around. The odds of them catching Denver in the AFC West are slim considering Denver’s weak remaining schedule. But the only two teams ahead of them for a wild card spot are the hardly-proven Indianapolis Colts, and the Steelers who haven’t looked all that great even with Big Ben healthy.
Tennessee: CJ2K is on his way back
Chris Johnson has been a major disappointment since signing his four-year $53.5 million extension. From week one of 2011, through week three of 2012, Johnson averaged just 83 yards from scrimmage per game. But over the last seven weeks, he has bounced back with an average of 129 per game.