Instead of doing the standard “power ranking”, Lombardi stacked the teams into groups, as if they were stocks. And suffice it to say, he thought freely on this one. Preseason darlings like the Jets and Ravens aren’t among the blue-chippers, but one of the Patriots AFC East rivals is. Here’s the AFC breakdown …
BLUE CHIP: Colts, Dolphins, Chargers
RED CHIP: Ravens, Bengals, Broncos, Patriots, Jets, Steelers, Titans
GREEN CHIP: Texans, Jaguars
ORANGE CHIP: Chiefs, Raiders
BROWN CHIP: Bills, Browns
As interesting as it is that Lombardi separates Miami, Indy and San Diego, I think the most intriguing part of this is how almost half the conference (seven teams) is grouped into the “Red Chip” category. The same dynamic exists in Lombardi’s NFC list, which has the Packers and Saints at the top, and seven clubs trailing in the “Red Chip” category.
That reflects what looks like a wide-open race ahead league-wide.