Will Vince Wilfork and his huge gut miss the playoffs this season? (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
On Tuesday I wrote about how an average of 6 teams are new to the playoffs every season and focused on who the 6 teams in and out in the NFC were. Today I wanted to cover the AFC but then I had a thought. None of these teams will make the playoffs since the world is going to end on Dec 23rd according to the Mayan calander.
I can't believe I'm going to die knowing the Steelers are going to finish with more Super Bowl trophies than the 49ers. But would God really let the world end knowing this horrible injustice? I can't imagine he would so maybe the world won't end after all. I'll hedge my bets and say these are the 3 teams that I think will be in and the 3 that will be out in the AFC in the off chance the Mayans were wrong. As before, if you disagree with one of my logically faultless choices I only ask you say who should take their place.
The 3 Dropouts
When Carson Palmer demanded out Bengals fans were obviously upset and concerned how rookie Andy Dalton would perform being thrown to the wolves. But not only did Dalton exceed expectations, thanks in large part to fellow rookie A.J. Green, it allowed the Bengals to trade Palmer to the Raiders in exchange for 20 first round picks and Al Davis's cryogenically frozen head. The Bengals made the playoffs but got thumped after half the team forgot to show up since no one thought they'd be there in the first place. They also play in the toughest division in football and there must be some concerns if they'll be able to run the ball as well as they did last year. There's reason for optimism in Cincinnati, at least for the football team, but let's be honest, they're still the Bengals.
The rest of who's in and out in the AFC after the jump...
Tim Tebow's gone, their defense struggled frequently last season, and most importantly of all Tim Tebow's gone. Sure they replaced him with some veteran QB who's performed decently in the past but Tebow's gone. If you get rid of the miracles that he performed they may have won only 2 games last year. I also heard the guy they replaced Tebow with at QB had some sort of neck surgery last year so there are still some concerns about how long it will take him to fully recover. When you sell your QB to the devil (Rex Ryan) sometimes there's a price to pay.
I want to say first and foremost I actually think the Texans will reach the playoffs, but I have to choose between the Patriots, Ravens, Steelers, and Texans. I think the Texans are the most likely of the four to miss the playoffs followed by the Steelers and Ravens 2nd and 3rd because of their aging defense, and the Patriots least likely to miss it. The Texans also seem like one of those teams that always disappoints. People have been saying they were going to make the playoffs every season for around the last 4 seasons before they finally broke through last year, kind of like another team I know that rhymes with porty piners. So if there's a team in the four that won't make it, I have to say it's the Texans. Actually, scratch that. The Patriots are going to miss the playoffs. Super Bowl loser's curse strikes again!
The 3 Risers
1) J-E-T-S! Jets! Jets! Jets!
Remember when the Jets were coming off of back-to-back seasons of reaching the AFC Championship game? Remember when head coach Rex Ryan promised the Jets would win the Super Bowl? Remember when Ryan further promised the Jets were going to air it out? Then remember when the Jets did air it out, got away from what they did best which was running the ball and playing fundamentally sound defense, and muddled along to an 8-8 season? I can only assume Ryan has learned his lesson. The Jets have bolstered their defense through free agency and the draft, and the addition of Tim Tebow I see as a sign they're moving away from their airing it out strategy. Now they just need to have Sanchez play for three quarters, put Tebow out there in the 4th and let God do the rest. It worked for the Broncos last season and they got nothing from their QB in the first 3 quarters.
Yes, I do realize they still have Matt Cassel playing QB but he was also there when they went 10-6 and reached the playoffs just two seasons ago so he can do it again. Besides, no division looks more wide open than the AfC West. Three teams finished with 8-8 records and the Chiefs finished just one game behind at 7-9. Since the Broncos are out that leaves the Chiefs, Chargers, or Raiders to take their place. The Chargers have a QB who can lose a game even after they've won it and they still have Norv Turner as their head coach, while the Raiders...well they're the Raiders. Something will go wrong, and if not they'll just hurt themselves. As for the Chiefs they'll get Tony Moeaki, Eric Berry, and Jamaal Charles all back after not having them for most of last season. And let's be honest, Cassel may not be the best QB out there but he's better than having Tyler Palko trying to lead you to victory.
Well, if the Texans aren't in that means someone else has to win the AFC South. Unless Blaine Gabbert makes huge strides, and I mean huge like the size of Vince Wilfork's gut huge, I just don't see how the Jags can get in, and even if Andrew Luck is the second coming of Peyton Manning, Manning didn't win much in his first season. So that leaves the Titans who would have made the playoffs last year if they hadn't lost to the Colts. Jake Locker showed some real promise in his first season and I can't help but wonder if the Titans would have made the playoffs last year if Locker had played instead of Matt Hasselbeck in the afore mentioned Colts loss. I mean, Locker looked pretty good the game before so why not go back to the aging veteran who's coming off an injury. That's right up there with starting Palko over the recently signed Kyle Orton for bad ideas. The Titans will also benefit from having Chris Johnson from the beginning instead of holding out for a new contract like last season. So I'll go with the Titans, although secretly I don't think they will and the
Texans Patriots will be back.