Regardless of their record, every NFL team has some concerns – some big, some smaller. In the AFC North league, the focus is (unsurprisingly) on the playmakers. In the AFC West, the Super Bowl contender has a serious problem that affects his league MVP candidacy. Meanwhile, teams in the AFC East and South have questions about their head coaches.

As Yardbarker NFL writers found, here are every AFC team's worst fears:

AFC East

BUFFER BILLS | WR Stefon Diggs' struggles sabotage playoff hopes: The All-Pro still has another 100-catch, 1,000-yard season ahead of him, but Diggs' production has dropped since mid-October. Since he had five 100-yard games in his first six games, Diggs failed achieve that mark in the last seven games, and if that trend continues, it could cost Buffalo (7-6) a playoff spot.

MIAMI DOLPHINS | The fear of being a “pretender” was confirmed: After building a 14-point lead with less than three minutes left in their Week 14 game against Tennessee, doubts are mounting for the Dolphins (9-4), who still haven't beaten a team in the matchup this season. However, for the games against Dallas, Baltimore and Buffalo close the regular seasonwe'll soon find out if the Dolphins can make some noise in the playoffs.

DEPARTURES NEW YORK | QB Zach Wilson gets the backup job for next season: He had a career-best performance in a 30-6 win over Houston in Week 14 – his first start after two games on the bench – finishing 27-of-36 passing for 301 yards and two TDs. The Jets may hesitate to cut ties with Wilson if he continues to produce excellent results, but a more capable backup is needed as 2024 will likely be a repeat of this season if Aaron Rodgers suffers another serious injury.

PATRIOTS OF NEW ENGLAND | HC Bill Belichick pulls Lovie Smith: According to NBC Sports Boston Tom E. CurranThe Patriots will be moving on from their six-time Super Bowl winner in the offseason, which is no surprise given their 3-10 record. But if Belichick's motives are flimsy – or he simply wants to win – it's possible that he undermines New England's chances of drafting a franchise quarterback by winning an otherwise meaningless game, as Smith did in Week 18 last season for Houston. — Colum Dell

AFC West

DENVER BRONCOS | Crime passage: The attack lacks balance, ranking 27th in the league for passing (185.8) and 13th in rushing yards (115 YPG). Denver needs to stay on track or risk missing the playoffs for an eighth straight season.

KANSAS CITY CHIEFS | Their wide receivers keep saying this: The receiving corps leads the league in drops (34) and makes stupid mistakes late in games – we're looking at you, Kadarius Toney. If Kansas City's catchers don't get their act together, they could derail the team's Super Bowl aspirations and test the patience of MVP candidate Patrick Mahomes.

INVADERS FROM LAS VEGAS | DE Maxx Crosby's knee injury becomes a bigger problem: In 13 games, Crosby hit a career high 97 percent of defensive snapsand it's clearly taking its toll as he struggles with a lingering knee injury. The defense also has problems with the star player, who ranks 30th in the league under pressure (86), according to Pro Football Reference, and his condition will only get worse if he has to miss time.

LOS ANGELES CHARGERS | The ground game is still failing: According to the Associated Press, QB Justin Herbert underwent season-ending surgery on his right index finger on Tuesday, so the team's underwhelming rushing attack needs to step up. Los Angeles ranks 26th in the league in rushing yards (96 YPG), and star RB Austin Ekeler is averaging a career low 3.7 yards per carry in 10 matches. — Clark Dalton

AFC North

RAVERS OF BALTIMOR | The injury bug is biting again: The only thing that can stop the Ravens they have fourth best attack AND second best defense points per match is poor health. Baltimore was out of the playoffs a year ago after QB Lamar Jackson suffered a PCL sprain late in the season, and he's certainly hoping to stay healthy this time around.

CLEVELAND BROWN | Another quarterback injury: Veteran QB Joe Flacco could be the savior of the season – he's passed for 565 yards and five touchdowns in the last two games. However, if Flacco suffered a serious injury, the team would have to turn to rookie QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson, which would likely end Cleveland's Super Bowl aspirations.

BENGALE CINCINNATI | Joe Burrow experiences defeat: Backup QB Jake Browning has been performing well lately, but he won't get the Bengals to the Super Bowl this season. Instead, the focus should be on Burrow, who is recovering from a torn ligament in his throwing wrist and making sure he is fully healthy for another Super Bowl appearance in 2024.

PITTSBURGH STEELERS | Kenny Pickett Isn't That Guy: He is expected to miss one or two games as he recovers from ankle surgery, but the Steelers should take another look at their 2022 first-round draft pick before the end of the season. If he continues to struggle, the Steelers will need to add a QB to their growing list of offseason needs. — Aaron Becker

AFC South

Houston, Texas | Dameon Pierce isn't just having a bad year: After a promising rookie season (939 rushing yards), the 23-year-old performed poorly in his sophomore year, rushing for just 391 yards on 133 carries and averaging almost 1.5 fewer yards per carry (2.9 to 4.3). For the Texans to be a threat in the AFC league, QB CJ Stroud needs skillful running of the game that will take the load off his shoulders. Houston may have to ask itself if Pierce is the guy.

INDIANAPOLIS HOOPS | QB Anthony Richardson not the same after AC joint surgery: He underwent season-ending surgery on his throwing shoulder in October, and while his prognosis for a full recovery is good, such procedures always carry the risk of a player not being as good as before. The Colts invested heavily in Richardson after drafting him fourth overall and can't afford for him to be any worse than he was before Week 1.

JAGUARS JACKSONVILLE | Trevor Lawrence is not an elite QB1: It's been almost three full seasons since the Jags ranked Lawrence No. 1, and he has yet to rank among their top 10 quarterbacks. He had good games and showed flashes, but was 11th in completion percentage (66.6), 15th in passing yards (91.2) and 16th in touchdown passes (17) this season. Jacksonville may have to come to terms with the prospect of Lawrence being an above-average, but not elite, QB.

TENNESSEE TITANS | Mike Vrabel wants to leave Tennessee: With head coach Bill Belichick's status in New England uncertain, there will be whispers that Vrabel wants to leave town to coach the team he played for from 2001-08. The Titans seem to be attacking Vrabel, but does he feel the same about them? — Michael Gallagher



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