As we finish week 11 of this season, the 2016 AFC Playoffs are starting to become clear. With 10 games played and six left to go, we can see the handwriting on the wall. Here’s our look at the postseason at this point.
AFC Division Winners
With Tom Brady back and the offense running on all cylinders, the New England Patriots (8-2) will take the AFC East. Even with the Miami Dolphins (6-4) winning games no one expects them to and the Buffalo Bills (5-5) showing some glimmers of success it’s the Pats who are going to take this division. They also have a good shot at the AFC East top seed.
In the AFC North, the Baltimore Ravens (5-5) are holding onto first place with the Pittsburgh Steelers (5-5) in second. The Ravens are in the top spot due to their conference record. This division is by no means over, and there’s no need to think that the Steelers will simply roll over. These two teams meet at Heinz Field in week 16, and that could be the deciding factor.
It’s true that the Houston Texans (6-3) are in command of the AFC South. As far as the 2016 NFL Playoffs are concerned, their chances look good. But they do have Indianapolis (5-5) with which to contend. They meet the Colts in three weeks. In their first meeting, the Texans won 23-20. When all is said and done we like the Texans’ chances to be the division winners.
The AFC West is a battle royal. The Oakland Raiders (7-2), who play tonight, are in first place. The two second place teams, Kansas City and Denver are tied at 7-3. If the Raiders beat the Texans tonight, they will be in command of the division. They have some premium performers on both sides of the ball, and QB Derek Carr is playing exceptionally well.
AFL Wild Cards
Although the Kansas City Chiefs (7-2) and Denver Broncos (7-2) are currently in the top spots for the two wild card berths, there’s a lot of football to go. The Chiefs, after winning five straight, lost this week while the Broncos enjoyed their bye week. Kansas City and Denver still have to place each other twice. Look for one of them to be eliminated. Which one? We think Denver.
That leaves the door open to Indianapolis, Pittsburgh or Miami. Of those three, we think the Steelers, partly by virtue of their schedule and due to their offensive roster have the best shot at the other wild card.
2016 AFC Playoffs: Final Word
There’s a lot of football left to go. It’s clear that it’s over for some teams, including the Cleveland Browns (0-11), Jacksonville Jaguars (2-8), and San Diego Chargers (4-6). You may as well count out the Cincinnati Bengals (3-6-1) too. They have to win all of their games to get there.