There are six weeks left in the NFL regular season and things are starting to heat up within the AFC. The New England Patriots are ultimately a lock to get a first round bye despite injuries to the offensive line, Danny Amendola, and star tight end, Rob Gronkowski. The second first round bye is up in the air in my opinion between the Denver Broncos and the Cincinnati Bengals. The two teams meet in a pivotal week 16 matchup on Monday Night Football. They faced off last season in week 16 on a Monday night game as Cincinnati prevailed 37-28 with Peyton Manning throwing four interceptions. This season, if I had to pick the winner right now I would say the Bengals will come up with a win in a low scoring, hard fought game. If that’s the case then the Bengals would most likely receive the 2-seed in the AFC.
That leaves us with the AFC West champion and AFC South champion. I dont see the Broncos completely falling apart to lose the division to the Chiefs, so Denver will get the 3-seed. The two teams in the hunt for the AFC South are the Houston Texans and Indianapolis Colts. The Colts beat Houston 27-20 back on October 8th on Thursday night as Matt Hasselbeck stepped in for an injured Andrew Luck and threw for 213 yards and 2 touchdowns with 0 interceptions.
Texans final 5 games: (@ BUF, vs NE which was flexed to a Sunday night game, @ IND, @ TEN, and vs JAX to close out the season.)
Colts final 5 games: (@ PIT, @ JAX, vs HOU, @ MIA, vs TEN.)
The Texans have a slightly harder schedule, and although they have been playing great football as of late winning their last four games and allowing only six points in four of those games I will take the Colts to win the AFC South and get the 4-seed
Now for the Wild Cards…. the two teams that currently hold the spots are the Chiefs and Texans (both 6-5).
Rest of teams in the hunt:
– NY Jets
– Pittsburgh Steelers
– Oakland Raiders
– Buffalo Bills
The long shots include the Dolphins, Jaguars, and Ravens.
At the end of the season I see the Kansas City Chiefs who are red hot right now, holding on to the 5-seed as they have a fairly easy schedule the rest of the way (@ OAK, vs SD, @ BAL, vs CLE, vs OAK.) The Chiefs, who lost Jamaal Charles for the season in October with his second ACL tear of his career have miraculously got back to winning games. I dont think anyone, including me saw the Chiefs owning one of the Wild Cards this late in the season.
The 6-seed in the AFC is extremely wide open. The Pittsburgh Steelers, in the end, will get that final spot. Pittsburgh is coming off a heartbreak loss to Seattle in a game when quarterback Ben Roethlisberger threw for 456 yards, the most this Seahawks has ever let up. The Steelers certainly have the talent to get a wild card spot, as they have been decimated with injuries and suspensions this season. They were without star running back Le’Veon Bell and wide receiver Martavis Bryant for a combined 8 games this season, all due to suspension up until Bell was injured against the Bengals in week 8 and it would later be announced he was out for the season with a gruesome MCL injury. All-pro Center, Maurkice Pouncey is also out for the season with an injury. The Steelers still have a lot of talent and if they had been fully healthy all season I believe they could have won the AFC North.
Buckle up folks, it will be a wild ride in the last month of the 2015 regular season.