The NFL's playoff picture is finally set in stone and each of the six teams has a strong case to make it all the way.
The New England Patriots are runaway favorites to win the AFC. Head Coach Bill Belichick and QB Tom Brady have yet again secured the one seed in the AFC and look to win their sixth Super Bowl together. Even after TE Rob Gronkowski went down for injury, the Patriots have maintained "Next Man Up" mentality. But, history as shown, any team can be upset any given playoff matchup.
"Game Manager" Alex Smith has effectively led his team to a first-round Bye in the AFC. Like the Patriots, the Chiefs suffered a season-ending injury to a star player on offense (RB Jamaal Charles), but just kept on rolling. The Chiefs have a formidable defense, a talented group of players on offense, and a home field advantage rivaled only by the Seattle Seahawks. Then again, the Chiefs lack a superstar playmaker on either side of the ball and have already been the victim of questionable upset losses in the regular season.
Even though the Steelers are the three seed in the AFC, there's actually a case for them to be the second-best team in the AFC. The Steelers have arguably the best QB-RB-WR trio in the NFL in Big Ben, Le'Veon Bell and Antonio Brown. The Steelers have shown they can score on anyone and Big Ben Roesthlisberger definitely has playoff experience, but their defense is far from the Steel Curtain from days of past.
Brock Osweiller was the starting QB. Then Brock was benched in favor of Tom Savage. Then Savage was injured and Brock came back. Neither QB has done anything to deserve a starting role in quarterbacking a playoff team, but surprisingly, the Texans' QB situation is not the worst in the AFC postseason. Even after losing stud DE J.J. Watt, the Texans defense is still incredibly stout, but the question will be if the Texans are able to put up enough points to stay in the game.
The Raiders looked primed to fight for the one seed in the AFC, but MVP candidate QB Derek Carr's injury has dramatically lessened the chances the Raiders are able to make a sustained run this postseason. The Raiders have yet to announce who will lead the team in the huddle this weekend, but the drop-off between whoever it will be and Derek Carr will definitely be felt.
The Dolphins are another team with a questionable QB situation, but there is a chance Ryan Tannehill is able to come back this year. If Tannehill returns, the Dolphins have a young and talented trio like the Steelers in Tannehill, WR Jarvis Landry and RB Jay Ajayi. The Dolphins defense has been making plays and creating turnovers, but the Dolphins will have to win all of their games on the road if they want to make it all the way.
So what says you, you unbiased Saints fans? Who do you think will win the AFC and represent their conference in the Super Bowl? Vote in the poll. Explain your reasoning in the comments. Send me presents.