AFC Playoffs: Never Too Early For A Glimpse

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Oct 7, 2012; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton (14) and Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill (17) talk after the game at Paul Brown Stadium. The Dolphins won 17-13. Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-US PRESSWIRE

 

The Texans are the only AFC team to stand in the top five of ESPN’s power rankings.  Technically, the top six.  Even number eight and nine in the power rankings feature the Patriots and Broncos, respectively, which are two clear division favorites.  Clearly, the NFC has emerged as the conference to beat during the first half of the season this year, which bodes well for some of the teams that find themselves stuck in the middle on the other side.

Cincinnati fans should at least find a little comfort in that fact.

So let’s take a look at what teams should realistically win the divisions in the AFC.

To start with the AFC North, we have the Ravens leading the division.  However, with key injuries and coming off a beat-down at the hands of the Texans, the Pittsburgh Steelers find themselves in a pretty good position right behind them.  Both meetings between the teams have yet to be played this year.

In the AFC West, let’s be realistic.  I don’t think the Chargers have the ability (offensively or defensively) to compete with the Broncos.  The Broncos have a relatively easy schedule in the second half, and could easily escape the regular season with a 12-4 record.

In the AFC South, we have the Texans.  And I’m going to end the conversation right there.  Sorry Indianapolis.

The AFC East does provide some intriguing competition, probably the closest in the NFL right now.  I have the Patriots winning the division, simply because I can’t picture them losing it at this point.  The Dolphins are keeping them honest, and the Jets always have potential, but look for Tom Brady’s team down the stretch.

So, Ravens, Broncos, Texans, Patriots.  The projected division winners by what we’ve seen so far this season.  Who’s left?

Exactly.

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