Evaluating the NFL Playoff Picture: AFC Edition
Evaluating the Playoff Picture: AFC Edition
1.) New England Patriots (9-1): This by far is the worst Patriots offense led by Tom Brady ever. However, the defense in New England is a championship-caliber defense. I like the Patriots even after their outing in D.C. Their schedule is favorable the rest of the way. With games against the Cowboys, Texans, Bills, Bengals, and Dolphins, expect the Patriots to end up with 14 wins.
Prediction: Lock; AFC East Champs (#1 Seed) Bye
2.) Baltimore Ravens (8-2): Lamar Jackson is the front runner for the MVP and the defense in Baltimore resembles the championship defense of the past. Do not be surprised if we see this team in the Super Bowl. Remaining opponents include the Rams, 49ers, Bills, Jets, Browns, Steelers.
Prediction: Lock; AFC North Champs (#2 Seed) Bye
3.) Kansas City Chiefs (7-4) The Chiefs will win their division but will get beat in the Divisional round because their defense is God awful. Remaining opponents include Raiders, Patriots, Broncos, Bears, Chargers.
Prediction: Lock; AFC West Champs (#3 Seed)
4.) Indianapolis Colts (6-4): The Colts beat a bad Jags team but they still have a lot of flaws and most of the roster is banged up. Marlon Mack is going to miss time, Ty Hilton isn’t healthy, and the secondary is down big. Their stretch run isn’t easy as they play the Texans, Titans, Saints, and Panthers.
Prediction: Wildcard (#5 Seed)
5.) Buffalo Bills (7-3): The Bills have been in the mix all season but this team is about to face its stiffest competition. I don’t like their chances with games left against the Broncos, Cowboys (Thanksgiving), Ravens, Steelers, and Patriots.
Patterson: Miss Playoffs
6.) Houston Texans (6-4): They got brought back down to earth on Sunday but a rematch with the Ravens is still very enticing to me. The Titans have a favorable schedule down the stretch including games with the Colts and Titans that I expect them to win.
Patterson: Likely, AFC South (#4 Seed)
Outside Looking In:
7.) Oakland Raiders (6-4): They have far exceeded expectations and I believe they have a very good shot at winning 10 games this year. They are my surprise AFC playoff team and will get that final Wildcard spot (# 6 Seed).
8.) Pittsburgh Steelers (5-5): The Steelers won’t have to worry about relying on chance to make the playoffs this year, their bad play will keep them out.
9.) Tennesse Titans (5-5): No one can seem to figure my Titans out (including myself) realistically if the Titans can win the remaining division games (4) and beat the Raiders they would be primed to grab a wildcard slot but beating the Jags, Colts, Texans is something the Titans haven’t done well in recent years.
10.) Cleveland Browns (4-6): The year of the Dog Pound will have to wait another year.