Written by: Coleman Bahr – Staff Writer (@ColemanBahr)
| 12 – Houston Texans
Playoff football is won or lost at the quarterback position. Brock Osweiler and Tom Savage are both sorry excuses for quarterbacks, and the only way they can make it past wild card weekend is if the defense plays absolutely lights out.
| 11 – Oakland Raiders
The Raiders quarterback situation seems almost as bad as the Texans, except they have an excuse. The Raiders would be a scary team to face with Derek Carr, but now it’s going to be either Matt McGloin or Connor Cook at the helm. I give the Raiders a slight bump over the Texans because the Texans were only 9-7, and they are one of the worst playoff teams I’ve ever seen.
| 10 – Miami Dolphins
Another case of a fallen quarterback, but is the drop off from Ryan Tannehill to Matt Moore that severe? Anyways, they managed to win eight of their ten games by seven points or less, so they’re really an 8-8 team in disguise. The Steelers should waltz right over them on their way to the divisional round.
| 9 – Detroit Lions
Much like the Dolphins, the Detroit Lions won eight of their nine games by seven points or less, so they inched their way into the playoffs too. The fact that they’re on a three-game losing streak heading in to Seattle doesn’t bode too well for them either.
| 8 – Atlanta Falcons
The Falcons have only lost twice since November, and one of them was on a weird two-point interception return against the Chiefs. Despite their recent run of success, Matt Ryan struggles in the playoffs. He’s 1-4 so far in his career, and a potential matchup with the Seattle Seahawks doesn’t work in his favor. However, his only playoff win was against the Seattle Seahawks, so I guess that counts for something.
| 7 – New York Giants
Eli Manning just has a different switch when the playoffs come around. Their defense has been dominant all year, and if Eli gets hot, they could easily make another Super Bowl run. Their matchup against the Packers looks to be the best on paper heading into the wild card weekend.
| 6 – Seattle Seahawks
The Seahawks haven’t been overly impressive this year, but they’ve been here before. With their season on the line, the Legion of Boom will be in full force from here on out.
| 5 – Green Bay Packers
R-E-L-A-X. Aaron Rodgers is something else, and no one wants to play him right now. The Packers haven’t lost a game since Thanksgiving, and seemingly nothing can stop Rodgers right now. With Jordy Nelson back to full strength, things have opened up offensively, and no defense has been able to hold them under 30 points in the last four games.
| 4 – Pittsburgh Steelers
The Steelers have the best offense in the league, no doubt. Also, Ben Roethlisberger has a little bit of playoff experience under his belt to say the least. With Roethlisberger, Bell, and Brown all in action, this a scary trio for any defense to cope with, and they are one of the two AFC teams who even have a remote chance of stopping Brady.
| 3 – Kansas City Chiefs
Great defense, explosive special teams, and playmakers. The Chiefs are a scary playoff team, and they could easily blow out anyone not named the New England Patriots.
| 2 – Dallas Cowboys
The rookie QB/RB tandem scares me, but home field advantage throughout will be huge for them. The only thing that’s been able to stop them so far is the New York Giants, so as long as they don’t play them, I like their chances to hoist the NFC crown.
| 1 – New England Patriots
Pending a Miami upset win over the Steelers, the Patriots will take on McGloin/Cook or Osweiler/Savage in rout to their sixth straight AFC championship game. Nice job AFC, real nice.