AFC Playoff Picture Predictions

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[Al Bello/Getty Images]

Week 16 in the NFL provided upsets, thrilling finishes and close games that have shaken up the current playoff picture in the AFC. It has left fans asking, “Who’s in and who’s out?” “What seed is my team?” “How can my team make it? “Can my team not make it?” All those dire questions will be answered below as well as who I think will make it into this year’s addition of the NFL playoffs.

 

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[sportingnews.com]

New England Patriots

The New England Patriots lost a heartbreaker in overtime 26-20 this week to the New York Jets. The Patriots had already locked up a first round bye going into the game Sunday but, would have loved to win to clinch home field advantage. Luckily for them they still have the opportunity as the Bengals lost last night. Now all New England needs to do is win at the struggling Miami Dolphins to lock up the one seed in the AFC.
Prediction: The Patriots will win this week and gain home field advantage throughout the playoffs. The Dolphins have not meet expectations and the Patriot offense will rip apart the 24th ranked pass defense. The Pats in the playoffs will be a tough team to beat especially with offensive weapons Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola coming back from injuries as they add to the already dangerous pass attack lead by Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski. The Patriots defense has played well ranking in the top 10 of the NFL. The Patriots weakness though is their offensive line as it has been continually plagued by injuries throughout the season and can prove to be the missing piece for their run at another Super Bowl ring.

 

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[@NFLonCBS via Twitter]

Cincinnati Bengals

The Bengals had a golden opportunity last night at a chance to secure a first round bye and a chance for home field advantage throughout the playoffs. The Bengals gave up a 14 point lead in a devastating loss to the Denver Broncos. The Bengals now have no hope at becoming the one seed but, will be playing for a must needed first round bye this week at home against the rival Ravens.

Prediction: The Bengals will fall to the three seed and lose their first round bye! I can’t see the Broncos losing to the Chargers this week. The Bengals have had a great season and a 11-4 record is nothing to be disappointed in but, Andy Dalton’s injury may be costly. A Wild card matchup with backup rookie quarterback, AJ Mccarron, against a top ten defense may prove to be fatal for the Bengals chances at a Super bowl run.

 

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[Jack Dempsey/AP]

Denver Broncos

The Broncos clinched a playoff birth last night with a must needed win over the Cincinnati Bengals. Their destiny now lies in their own hands as they could clinch a first round bye with a win and home field advantage with a win and a Patriots loss. They better watch out though as if they lose, they could lose their divisional crown, a first round bye and fall all the way to the six seed!

Prediction: The Broncos last night were a team of two halfs. When the Broncos show up to play they are one of the best teams in the NFL as the boast the number one defense. The Broncos will earn the two seed and a bye this week with a win over their rival, the Chargers. The Broncos have knocked off big opponents this season and have showed their ability to play in big games. Brock Osweiler has to continue to show up in big moments and lead his offense on scoring drives otherwise the Broncos run for a championship could end early.

 

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[wallpapersis.com]

The Houston Texans

The Houston Texans have essentially earned a playoff spot with a win this Sunday and they control their own destiny. The Texans win and they are in to say the very least as the Colts need nine unlikely outcomes to occur to make the playoffs.
Prediction: The Houston Texans will beat the Jaguars and win the division along with a home Wild card game against the five seed. The Houston Texans have a good team and have upset the Bengals and Jets this season. It will be interesting if these underdogs can put together a string of upsets as they have a chance for a deep playoff run. Who knows? As we all know anything can happen when JJ Watt is on your team.

 

Indianapolis Colts

The Colts need 10 teams to win on Sunday to make the playoffs. Making it even tougher for the Colts is that half of teams they need to win are underdogs. All three of their quarterbacks are injured and they are now playing their fourth string quarterback, not exactly an ideal scenario for a must win game. To be brief the Colts chances aren’t good.

Predictions: The Colts have had a disappointing season with the turning point definitely being Andrew Luck’s injury. I can’t see the Colts making the playoffs but, if they do they might want to go buy some lotto tickets as they would be the luckiest team in the NFL. (Link to Article of what the Colts need to make the playoffs. The Colts remain alive! )

 

The Kansas City Chiefs

The Kansas City Chiefs are red hot and have clinched a playoff spot with a win last week. They have a chance to be the three seed with a win and a Broncos loss this weekend. The Chiefs could drop to the six seed though with a loss.

Prediction: The red hot Chiefs will go on to win their 10th in a row against the Raiders and grab the fifth seed. This game was a toss up for me but it seems to me that the Chiefs are firing on all cylinders, especially their defense. The Chiefs are a nightmare opponent for other teams as right now it seems nothing can stop them from winning and making a run for the Super Bowl.

 

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[John Munson/NJ Advance Media for NJ.com]

The New York Jets

The Jets are now control of their own destiny after a thrilling victory over the New England Patriots in overtime and a Pittsburgh Steelers’ loss to the Ravens. The Jets win and they are in and in certain scenarios can even be the fifth seed. The Jets are playing a tough opponent this week in the Bills though and a loss could end their season.

Prediction: The Jets will pull out a close win this against their rival Bills as they play their former head Coach Rex Ryan. The Jets would then extend their winning streak to six games. The Jets are a big threat if they make the playoffs as they can contend with the elite teams as they have a top ten defense and great aerial attack in Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker. I believe that the Jets have a great chance to play for a Super Bowl title this year.

 

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[Gene J. Puskar / LA Times Associated Press]

The Pittsburgh Steelers

The Steelers blew it last week as they were upset by their rivals the Baltimore Ravens giving up their spot to the New York Jets. The Broncos clinching a playoff spot last night eliminated one way for the Steelers to sneak back into the Playoffs. Now it’s much simpler, Pittsburgh needs to beat Cleveland and hope for the Jets to be upset by their rivals the Bills.

Prediction: The Steelers will win but, be on the outside as they will not make the Playoffs. The Steelers had an up and down year with multiple players battling injuries, suspensions, etc. In the end the loss last week to the Ravens will prove to be fatal for their playoff dreams.

Wild Card Match-up Predictions:

Kansas City Chiefs @ Houston Texans

New York Jets @ Cincinnati Bengals

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