It’s an extremely competitive conference, so where do the Las Vegas Raiders stand in the conference power structure?
Let’s look at the conference in terms of tiers:
This is a powerful, small group of elite teams. These three teams combined to win 38 games in the regular season last year and I bet they surpass that number this season. The Raiders’ challenge starts Week 1 against the Ravens at home.
These three teams show how deep the conference is and how difficult it will be to make the playoffs. I think all three of them are capable of winning 12 games and they should all make the playoffs barring major injuries.
I may be overrating the Steelers and wonder if I’m underrating the Chargers. This will be a fascinating group to watch in 2021. More than one of these good teams will likely miss the playoffs.
The separation from Tier 3 to Tier is 4 pretty steep. I expect the Patriots and Broncos to be average or worse in 2021.
I think the Bengals can quickly separate themselves from the other teams on this list. The Jets, Jaguars and Texans will all be lucky to win more than four games.
The Raiders have seven games against teams that are ranked higher than them. Those of course will be critical to their chances of being one of the AFC’s seven playoff teams in 2021.