With the NFL Playoffs rapidly approaching, CBreezy discusses the AFC playoff hopefuls and labels them as Contenders or Pretenders.
Titans - Contenders
I do not believe in the Houston Texans. The Titans are a better all-around team and have a more consistent offense. They are a run heavy team (great for a young QB) with a solid offensive line and are doing everything they need to in order to succeed. Run heavy and effectively + consistent QB play should be enough to have them take control in the weak AFC South.
Texans - Pretenders
As I mentioned earlier, I do not believe in the Houston Texans. Brock Osweiler was a QB that I was down on coming out of the draft in 2012. I was also not impressed with his brief appearances in Denver. It speaks volumes if the team that let him walk in Free Agency didn't want to sign him while they didn't have a plan at QB. This season has shown his inability to throw the ball accurately and down field. Their J.J. Wattless defense can only take them so far.
Steelers - Contenders
Yea I know Pitt has had their ups and downs. At times they look unstoppable and at times they look like the worst team in the league. I think they string together some wins in the backend of the season with some key divisional games and take the AFC North like most people projected at the beginning of the season.
Ravens - Pretenders
I don’t think they are a bad team by any stretch, but I also don't think they are a great team. There’s nothing sexy about them on either side of the ball, and frankly none of their wins have been sexy either but they keep winning somehow. I think their tough remaining schedule (Patriots, Eagles, Steelers, Bengals) keeps them from just missing the playoffs.
Chiefs - Contenders
I’m usually not a Chiefs supporter, but they put themselves in a great situation win a big OT win over the Broncos. They are now second in the AFC West with games still to be played vs Oakland and SD in the division. Their team is carried by their defense which just got even better with the return of Justin Houston. Every media person uses the term “Game Manager” to describe Alex Smith and to me that’s a perfect fit. He takes care of the football and does not try and force many passes. He won’t win you any games with his arm, but he also won’t lose you any.
Broncos - Contenders
The reigning Super Bowl champs have dug themselves into a hole here at the back end of the season. Their record is still solid at 8-4 but their heartbreaking loss to the Chiefs leave them fighting for a Wild Card spot. Their offense has been struggling but they are able to win games on the backs of the best defense in the league. I think the AFC west claims both wild card spots and the Broncos sneak in as the 6th seed.
Dolphins - Pretenders
Sorry Dolphins fans. Even though you are sitting in a good position to grab the last wild card spot, the most recent blowout to the unappealing Ravens was the nail in the coffin for me. I don't think they can rely on the mediocre play of Ryan Tannehill to secure the last wild card spot in the AFC. They have weak remaining schedule (Cardinals, Jets, and Bills) but I think they lose 2 of those….mainly because I’m a Bills fan and Ryan Tannehill has never won a game in Buffalo.
My AFC Playoff Projection:
- Patriots (AFC East Champs)
- Raiders (AFC West Champs)
- Steelers (AFC North Champs)
- Titans (AFC South Champs)
- Chiefs (Wild Card)
- Broncos (Wild Card)