AFC Playoff Preview

Playoff Preview

AFC

Chargers (14-2)

  • 7-2 record vs .500+ teams
  • 13 game win streak
  • 10th ranked in Offensive Total Yards
  • 10th ranked in passing offense
  • 8th ranked in rushing offense
  • 2nd ranked in points scored per game (41)
  • 1st ranked in Total Defense
  • 1st ranked in passing defense
  • 1st ranked in rushing defense
  • 1st ranked in fewest points allowed per game (20) 
  • 1st ranked in defensive Interceptions
  • 1st ranked in turnover differential (+47)
  • Key Injuries: RB Austin Ekeler (IR), RE Uchenna Nwosu (IR)
  •  QB Herbert: 4,199 passing yards, 75% completion, 35 TD, 17 INT
  • WR Rico Gafford: 64 receptions for 1547 yards, 17 TD

The Chargers have an unbelievable defense and they also have the offensive firepower to win a super bowl. This defense creates more turnovers than any team has in the history of the NFL, so that always will give them the chance to win. Their offense plays great complimentary football as well, minimizing turnovers and has an efficient passing attack led by the explosive downfield threat Rico Gafford. The running game hasn’t been the same since Ekeler went on IR from a week 13 injury, but this team is good enough to win it all without him.

Patriots (14-2)

  • 5-2 record vs .500+ opponents
  • 5 game win streak
  • 5th ranked in total offense
  • 6th ranked in passing offense
  • 12th ranked in rushing offense
  • 1st ranked in Points scored per game (41)
  • 10th ranked in total defense
  • 19th ranked in passing defense
  • 7th ranked in rushing defense
  • 5th ranked in fewest points allowed per game (24)
  • Injuries: RG Shaq Mason (3), LT Joe Thuney (4)
  • QB Cam Newton: 4,630 yards, 67.7% completion, 45 TD, 27 INT
  • Phillip Lindsay: 229 carries for 1577 yards, 13 TDs
  • Two 1,200+ yard receivers with 12 TDs each

The Patriots are the best coached team in the PML. They might lack some of the crazy weapons that other playoff teams have, but their coach knows how to put his players in a position to maximize their abilities. Defensively, they aren’t flashy but they keep teams out of the endzone. Offensively, they have a great balance on the ground and in the air, and they can put up a lot of points when Cam Newton is on his game. No matter the matchups or the score deficit, you can never count out the Patriots as long as the Natural is the coach.

Ravens (13-3)

  • 6-2 record vs .500+ opponents
  • 1 game losing streak
  • 12th ranked in total offensive yards
  • 18th ranked in passing offense
  • 4th ranked in rushing offense
  • 3rd ranked in points scored per game (39)
  • 2nd ranked in total defense
  • 2nd ranked in passing defense
  • 3rd ranked in rushing defense
  • 2nd ranked in fewest points allowed per game (22)
  • QB Lamar Jackson: 3,555 passing yards and 845 rushing yards, 49 combined TDs,  20 INT, 8 fumbles
  • Edge Von Viller = 10.5 sacks
  • Edge Monty Rice = 12.5 sacks 
  • 4 DBs with 7+ interceptions 
  • 10 defensive TDs

The Ravens are a team that’s boom or bust right now. They are running out of time to bring home the Lombardi trophy before some of their top players retire and Lamar asks for a mega contract. This might be the best chance the Ravens have if assembling the best roster in the league, and the Ravens head coach has done a tremendous job so far of dominating both sides of the ball. With this defense, Lamar Jackson just needs to take care of the ball and the Ravens should contend for the super bowl.

Titans (12-4)

  • 6-2 record vs .500+ opponents
  • 1 game losing streak
  • 22nd ranked in total offensive yards
  • 22nd ranked in passing offense
  • 16th ranked in rushing offense
  • 18th ranked in points scored per game (31)
  • 4th ranked in total defense
  • 11th ranked in passing defense
  • 14th ranked in rushing defense
  • 4th ranked in fewest points allowed per game (24)
  • QB Aaron Rodgers: 3482 yards, 72.5% completion, 31 TD, 19 INT
  • RB Derrick Henry: 301 carries for 1671 yards, 22 TD 
  • TE Jonnu Smith: 70 receptions for 1038 yards, 6 TDs

The Titans have the GOAT at QB and the GOAT at RB. That’s all you need to know. With these 2 tremendous generational talents in the backfield, the Titans can beat anyone. If Henry gets in the zone, you might as well pack it up because there is no stopping him then. And Aaron Rodgers still can fit the ball in windows that nobody else in the league can and he has some weapons to work with. The defense hasn’t been lights out, but they force turnovers and play exceptionally well in the Redzone. I don’t know if the Titans are a super bowl contender, but they can definitely win a playoff game or 2.

Bills (12-4)

  • New coach took over 10 games ago
  • 3-0 record vs .500+ opponents in last 10 games
  • 10 game win streak 
  • +24 point avg scoring differential in last 10 games
  • 1st ranked in total offense
  • 1st ranked in passing offense
  • 30th ranked in rushing offense
  • 5th ranked in points scored per game (38)
  • 3rd ranked in total defense
  • 4th ranked in passing defense
  • 5th ranked in rushing defense
  • 6th ranked in fewest points allowed per game (25)
  • Injuries: LT Dion Dawkins (3)
  • QB Josh Allen: 5,390 yards, 74.2% completions, 45 TD, 34 INT
  • 3 receivers with 1,200+ receiving yards
  • 3 defenders with double digit sacks including 18.5 for the sack leader Kwity Paye
  • Least penalized team in the league

The Bills have taken the league by storm since they hired their new head coach in week 8. Since then, they have won 10 games in a row by an average margin of victory of 24 points. Josh Allen has looked like a future MVP in this new offense and he has 3 receivers who topped 1,200 yards receiving on the season. If that’s not enough to make the Bills scary, their defense hasn’t allowed more than 17 points in 7 of their last 8 games. Their D is lead by their incredible defensive line, featuring 3 guys with double digit sacks with Kwity Paye (18.5 sacks), Jerry Hughes (13.5 sacks), and Ed Oliver (10.5 sacks). Oliver is also the only defender in the league with 10+ sacks and 15+ TFL. If any non-division winner is gonna have a chance at the super bowl, it’s the Bills.

Texans (10-6)

  • 2-4 record vs .500+ opponents
  • 3 game win streak
  • 13th ranked in total offense
  • 24th ranked in passing offense
  • 3rd ranked in rushing offense
  • 9th ranked in points scored per game (34)
  • 18th ranked in total defense
  • 27th ranked in passing defense
  • 6th ranked in rushing defense
  • 13th ranked points allowed per game (30)
  • QB DeShaun Watson: 3,884 yards, 19 TDs, 26 INT
  • RB Javian Hawkins: 344 carries, 2097 yards, 38 TDs, 68 receptions for 723 yards and 2 TDs

The run game is very special, Hawkins is truly a once in a lifetime rookie. However, the Texans defense leaves a lot to be desired and defense wins championships. Watson has also struggled to make more plays than he misses, so I don’t see the Texans making much noise in the playoffs.

Steelers (9-6-1)

  • 2-3 vs .500+ opponents 
  • 1 game losing streak
  • 8th ranked in total offense 
  • 23rd ranked in passing offense
  • 2nd ranked in rushing offense
  • 17th ranked in points scored per game (31)
  • 17th ranked in total defense
  • 29th ranked in passing defense 
  • 2nd ranked in rushing defense
  • 14th ranked in points allowed per game (30)
  • QB Gardner Minshew: 3,871 yards, 25 TDs, 48 INT
  • RB CJ Verdell: 244 carries, 1617 yards, 21 TDs
  • 5 receivers with 500+ receiving yards 
  • MLB Devin Bush: 2 INT, 5 FF
    The Steelers are here because they played 5 teams with a .500+ record. They had an easy schedule, and even with that easy schedule they barely got a playoff spot. They should consider themself lucky and just hope they can go into the offseason without suffering any major injuries in their upcoming loss to the Patriots.

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