AFC Playoff Picture: Patriots Still In Drivers Seat
By Cyrus Geller
Here is a look at the updated AFC playoff picture:
1. Patriots (10-1)
2. Bengals (9-2)
3. Broncos (9-2)
4. Colts (6-5)
5. Chiefs (6-5)
6. Texans (6-5)
Things are still looking good for the Patriots, despite a heartbreaking loss in Denver, and just a ridiculous amount of injuries they are dealing with. If New England wins their last five games (very doable), they will have the top seed in the AFC, clinching a first round bye, and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. If they lose one game going down the stretch, they are still guaranteed a first round bye, because either the Bengals and Broncos will have at least three losses, as they meet for a big showdown in week 16 in the mile high city.
Here is a look at the remaining schedules for each team:
Patriots: PHI, @HOU, TEN, @NYJ, @MIA
Bengals: @CLE, PIT, @SF, @DEN, BAL
Broncos: @SD, OAK, @PIT, CIN, SD
Even if Rob Gronkowski is sidelined for a few games, and Dont’a Hightower is out until the playoffs, or at least until week 15 or 16, I really think the Patriots can win out. Danny Amendola and Jamie Collins should be back this week, which will give the defense and offense a big boost, and with how great Tom Brady is playing, I think that should be enough to get them through the last five weeks. Philly sucks, the Texans can’t score enough points to beat Brady, the Titans suck as well, and while the last two are divisional games on the road (always tough), by that point, the Patriots should be getting healthier, and I’m always taking Tom Brady over Ryan Fitzpatrick and Ryan Tannehill.
Looking at the Bengals and Broncos respective schedules, I see a few potential losses for both of them. Obviously one team will lose to the other, but each squad also has to face the Steelers, and they also have divisional contests that are always tough.
At the end of the day, the Patriots will ultimately get the number one seed because of their remaining schedule, the fact that they will be getting players back as the weeks go on, and they already have a one game lead. Cincy and Denver will drop a game or two, and the Pats will take advantage.
Next: Week 13 AFC Power Rankings
Another playoff run that goes through Gillette? With a healthy Patriots team?