AFC Playoff Projections

Published: Nov 15, 2013 16:46pm EST
By JasonNeal, Sports Writer for Konsume Sports

Please Note: This article was updated Nov 15, 2013 @ 04:46pm EST


Denver Broncos – The Broncos have an opportunity to set themselves apart from the rest of the AFC by handling the next part of their schedule with ease and grace befitting a champion, however, they do have Peyton Manning under center and no one can understate his lacking ‘clutch factor’ late in big games.  The next six games pit the Broncos absurd offense and awful defense against the Kansas City Chiefs twice, the Chargers twice, the Tom Brady’s, and the Tennessee Titans.  Individually these games are not daunting, but there is little to no room for error and the Titans are capable of winning in a trap game setting for the Broncos.  This is where the ‘1-0 each week’ mentality is desperately needed.  I think the Broncos come out of the stretch at 5-1 and take the one seed going into the playoffs.

New England Patriots - Is Tom Brady the best quarterback in the NFL right now?  Stats aside, I say absolutely.  Tom Brady has the led the Patriots to a 7-2 record without Rob Gronkowski, Shane Vereen, and Danny ‘Damn it, stay healthy for a week’ Amendola.  Julian Edelman is the teams leading receiver, Steven Ridley has been more than serviceable, and Tom Brady has been, well, Tom Brady.  A tough road loss to the Bengals and losing to the Jets in overtime are the only blemishes on the Patriots schedule.  The wins on the card for Brady & Co. include a road win against the Buffalo Bills, a last second victory against the New Orleans Saints, and an absolute thrashing of the Pittsburgh Steelers.  The Patriots should enter the playoffs with a record of 13-3 and have a bye week after locking in the two seed.

Indianapolis Colts – Andrew Luck has proven over the past season and a half that he is far and away the better option, long term, for the Indianapolis Colts.  This season has had its WTF? moments for Andrew Luck and the Colts like in week one when they had to hold off the Oakland Raiders and three weeks ago when they lost to the San Diego Chargers 19-9, but the Colts also have banner wins against the San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, and Denver Broncos.  Last weeks come from behind victory over the Houston Texans shows what kind of resolve Luck and the Colts have, and doing so without Reggie Wayne is even more incredible.  The Colts shouldn’t have too many more bumps in the road, but at 12-4, I think the Colts take the third seed.

Cincinnati Bengals - The Bengals haven’t lost at home so far and I think that says a lot about this team.  Home wins against their division rivals, the Pittsburgh Steelers paired with wins over the Green Bay Packers, New England Patriots, and a trouncing of the New York Jets gives me reason to think that this team might be set for a solid postseason run…or at least one that lasts longer than their trip to Houston last year.  The emergence of a solid defense, Giovani Bernard, and the connection between AJ Green and Andy Dalton recently has this team poised to make some noise.  For the record, I did not try and make that rhyme.  I think the Bengals end the season at 11-5 and take the fourth seed.

Kansas City Chiefs – The Chiefs remind me of the Atlanta Falcons team from last year.  There are a couple of close wins against some teams that don’t deserve to be called decent, a good overall record, and are perfectly capable of a tragic collapse.  Their last five games have been against quarterbacks who are first year starters, backups, backups to the backups, or as Scott Van Pelt called them…hat guys.  They have one quality win this season against a very capable Dallas Cowboys squad, but both Denver and San Diego have two tilts left with the Chiefs, then they have to deal with Oakland, Indianapolis, and Washington.  I wonder if Andy Reid and Alex Smith will be members of the Sioux Indian tribe or if they will be thought of more along the lines of great Indian Chiefs like Sitting Bull come the end of the season?  The Chiefs don’t have enough to overtake the Broncos in the AFC West, but they will be in the playoffs as the number one wild card team.

New York Jets – The Jets schedule is completely in their favor the second half of the season. With a couple of huge wins against teams like the Saints and Patriots, it’s clear that Geno Smith believes he can lead the Jets to a win every game. While the Jets have a poor run game, Rex Ryan’s ability to scheme and their tough defense will have them in just about every game.  If the Jets go 3-4 the rest of the way, they will finish at 8-8, taking the sixth seed in the AFC playoffs.

Cleveland Browns – The Browns are a wonderful story and are building a solid franchise, but with New England, Cincinnati, Chicago, and the New York Jets left on the schedule, the Browns are set up to have solid draft position in the 2014 draft.  The defense is on its way to being fantastic, the offense has nice pieces when healthy, but Michael Lombardi has some work to do.  Cleveland should finish 3-4 in their final seven games, leaving them on the outside looking in.

Miami – Miami is a good team, but they are still a year or two away.  They have a good wide receiving corps, a good QB, average defense….but not quite enough pieces to finish the puzzle.  The second half of Miami’s schedule does them no favors. The Richie Incognito/Jonathan Martin fiasco does this team no favors, and with teams like the Patriots, Jets, Chargers, and Panthers left on their schedule, this could be a long second half for T.D., the Dolphins mascot.

Tennessee – The Good: Locker is back.  The Bad: Delanie is his most reliable receiver.  Chris Johnson should no longer be deemed CJ2K…, a more appropriate nickname would be CJ maybe1K. The Titans do have a fairly good defense that should allow Tennessee to be in most games. I see Tennessee going 4-4 the rest of the way, but they are the definition of a bubble team.  The rest of their schedule is not kind, pitting them against the Colts twice, Broncos, and the Texans.  I don’t think they win any of these games, and just miss the playoffs.  Such a shame for a….ahhhhh, who am I kidding, they didn’t have a chance from the beginning.

San Diego – Phillip Rivers tries. Kennan Allen is a stud. Ryan Matthews and Danny Woodhead are key in an average run game.  The Chargers defense is inconsistent and just a tick below average.  The second half of the schedule is ridiculously tough, with the Chargers playing the Broncos and Chiefs twice each and then having to take on Oakland, Cincinnati, Miami, and the Giants.  I can’t see them winning more than 3 of those games. 7-9 doesn’t get it done because this isn’t the NFC West in 2010.  I wonder if the Chargers miss Drew Brees or Darren Sproles yet?


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