Sunday, December 26, 2010

AFC Playoff Preview

The AFC has won 9 of the last 13 title games, and continue to dominate interconference play. It is certainly likely that the eventual World Champion will come from one of these teams:

#1 Seed:
The New England Patriots are as sharp on Offense as any team that's ever played. Pass-first excellence has opened up the run. The no-name Defense surrenders tons of yards and third downs but have a knack for making do-or-die plays. Special Teams are good, not great. They'll be able to rest starters for two weeks. Overall: with a strong O-line, an MVP at QB and 666 at HC, this is an obvious favorite to win it all despite cracks in the young D.

#2 Seed?
(11-4) The Pittsburgh Steelers ought to be leaning even heavier on their run game. Defense remains among the best in the league, with some specific injury concerns. Special Teams are a strength except for punt return. Overall: having weathered a brutal season, the Steelers are hampered by injuries, yet have good reason to believe in themselves. Win & in. Remaining game: at Cleveland.

#3 Seed?
(10-5) I never thought I could like the Kansas City Chiefs. But this team has startlingly improved, and it started with the Offense running the ball behind an excellent O-line. This Patriots-West franchise has a bright young Defense that surrenders more yards than points. Special Teams have no particular strength, but no weakness. Overall: this young team could maybe pull off a smash-and-grab, but more importantly will be serious contenders for years to come. Remaining Game: Oakland.

#4 Seed?

(9-6) The Indianapolis Colts Offense passes nearly four times as often as they run. This hasn't proven quite as effective as in the past, which has played to the weaknesses of the Defense. Special Teams are alarmingly bad, but the K is above average. Overall: the least-dominant Colts team in recent memory is nevertheless still good enough to return to the title game. Win & in. Remaining Game: Tennessee.

* Jacksonville Jaguars are still alive if they beat the Texans and the Colts lose. But this is a team that lost to the DC Racist Losers, so fuck 'em.

#5 seed?
(11-4) The Baltimore Ravens have rare talents on Offense, but don't always put together a complete game. Without question, the Defense has slipped -- they do many things well, but have allowed comebacks. Special Teams are wildly inconsistent. Overall: if they can put it all together, they have a great team ... the big 'if'. Probable Seed: #5. Remaining game: Cincinnati.

#6 Seed?
(10-5) The New York Jets are fun to root for and against, but backing into the playoffs could make for a long ride home. It remains to be seen if the Offense can consistently score. The Defense is top-five but misses leadership in allowing conversions and penalties. Special Teams are tremendous on kickoffs but the punting game is deep in the pack. Overall: this team is dangerous on the road, but it's time to drop the bullshit and play football. Remaining game: Buffalo.

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