16: Las Vegas Raiders Bring Up The Rear In AFC Power Rankings
This ranking is not to say the Raiders lack talent; they have plenty of it. However, there is far too much uncertainty in key positions. Head coach Josh McDaniels has never elevated the talent around him, and quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo is already less than 100 percent.
I have faith in Patrick Graham’s ability as a defensive coordinator, but the secondary remains a massive concern even after a slew of off-season moves. Maxx Crosby, Chandler Jones, and newcomer Tyree Wilson will keep things respectable on defense, but until Jimmy G is cleared to play, the offense is too turbulent to rely on.
15: Houston Texans Not Quite Ready To Ascend AFC Power Rankings
The Texans shocked the world by adding a franchise cornerstone on both sides of the ball at the 2023 NFL Draft. Quarterback C.J. Stroud offers an immediate upgrade over Davis Mills, with the former Ohio State signal-caller possessing elite potential behind center.
The defense is now led by star pass rusher, Will Anderson. The former Alabama standout can post double-digit sacks as a rookie and gives head coach DeMeco Ryans a pillar to build around. Elsewhere on the defense, Derek Stingley and Jalen Pitre are an impressive duo in the secondary.
Houston would be wise to lean on its stellar offensive line, and its breakout 2022 star, Dameon Pierce, out of the backfield. Stroud has the talent to win games from Day 1, but the AFC is a murderer’s row, and the Texans might be a year away from challenging for a playoff spot.