The First Read, Week 7: Sorting AFC contenders, pretenders; the Giants' secret weapon

- A third of this season is now officially behind us, which means there's enough of a sample

size for us to start drawing some conclusions about what we've seen so far. We know the NFC presents a bit of a conundrum,

as the East has three legitimate playoff contenders, and the other Super Bowl favorites --

 Tampa Bay, Green Bay and the Los Angeles Rams -- are all struggling with serious flaws.

The AFC, on the other hand, is filled with an assortment of teams that have experienced their ups and downs.

 It's here that this week's version of The First Read will concentrate its attention.

 mainly because of the combination of quarterback talent and aggressive offseason moves by various teams.

What it's become is a weekly exercise in trying to determine why teams that were expected to be bad are playing well

and why teams that were expected to be good are playing poorly. It's the beauty of the game. Nobody has ever won a championship on paper or in July.

So today, we'll play our first 2022 edition of contenders and pretenders. It's the perfect time,

 because we're six weeks into the season, and we've just had our first blockbuster game between conference heavyweights --

 the Buffalo Bills' 24-20 win over Kansas City on Sunday. There's no denying those are the two best teams in the AFC.

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