After two weeks of NFL action in 2017, there’s one clear takeaway that won’t go away: The AFC West is the best. Three of its teams are among the eight that have started 2-0.
The Chiefs and Raiders are picking up where they left off with impressive offensive-minded victories. But how about those Broncos, who have suddenly got their passing, rushing and scoring groove back, as well?
Denver has the best defense of the trio, while Oakland has the best offense. Kansas City has the best all-around team so far.
Here’s how they stack up in relation to each other. For now, the teams form a powerful triumvirate vs. the rest of the league’s Super Bowl contenders.
1 Kansas City Chiefs 2-0 (last week: 2)
Kareem Hunt has them ahead in the AFC title chase, as the rookie has flown out of the gate to spark the offense in the second half twice in big games. He’s not about to slow down anytime soon.
This week: at Chargers, their first AFC West test, Sunday
2 Oakland Raiders 2-0 (last week: 3)
Derek Carr and Michael Crabtree took care of most of the business against the Jets, but Marshawn Lynch had plenty of fun running and dancing, too. They are balanced, dangerous and explosive in every way.
This week: at Redskins, a national prime-time showcase, Sunday
3 Denver Broncos 2-0 (last week: 8)
Trevor Siemian and C.J. Anderson are delivering the necessary complementary football for their defense, which has a whole new brand of energy under Vance Joseph and Joe Woods. This is a more complete contender, one season removed from the Super Bowl hangover.
This week: at Bills, their first road trip, Sunday
4 Atlanta Falcons 2-0 (last week: 6)
Matt Ryan and Julio Jones haven’t even exploded yet, and their offense has hummed along thanks to more great running from Devonta Freeman. The fast young defense is happy to have its old glue guy back at cornerback, Desmond Trufant.
This week: at Lions, where two friendly Matts meet, Sunday
5 Pittsburgh Steelers 2-0 (last week: 5)
Ben Roethlisberger hasn’t exactly lit it up quite yet, and Le’Veon Bell has been running more in neutral. But they’re making plenty enough big plays on both sides of the ball with a much-improved defense overall.
This week: at Bears, a march from Heinz to Solider, Sunday