AFC Playoff Preview

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Alex Nannetti and Logan Winser

Six teams in the American Football Conference (AFC) will compete the next three weeks to represent the conference in the Super Bowl. With the Miami Dolphins and Oakland Raiders eliminated, here is a small preview of the rest of the teams in the AFC playoffs.

New England Patriots #1 Seed (14-2)

The New England Patriots are the golden standard on how to be consistently successful football team. They won the AFC East for the ninth straight time, earning them the number one seed in the AFC playoffs with a 14-2 record. Even though Tom Brady missed the first four games of the season with a suspension for his part in deflategate, he is leading in the MVP race. He threw 28 touchdowns and two interceptions in twelve games this season, which broke an NFL record for best TD:INT ratio according to NFL research. Along with an elite offense, the Patriots defense leads the entire league allowing just 15.7 points a game. The Patriots will look to defeat the Houston Texans in the divisional round in Foxboro.

#4 Houston Texans vs #1 New England Patriots – Saturday, January 14th 8:15 ET (NBC)

Kansas City Chiefs #2 Seed (12-4)

Kansas City has had a very weird season, but came away with a bye and the second seed in the AFC playoffs. The Chiefs have been led by their special teams and defence all  year. With allowing the fifth least points in the league, the defense has scored a league high nine touchdowns. Rookie sensation Wide Receiver Tyreek Hill has scored twelve touchdowns this year, four of them on special teams. He is the fastest player in the league with a 4.26 40 time according to NFL research. They will face the hot Pittsburgh Steelers at Kansas City in the divisional round.

#3 Pittsburgh Steelers vs #2 Kansas City Chiefs – Sunday, January 15th 1:05 ET (CBS)

Pittsburgh Steelers #3 Seed (11-5)

The Pittsburgh Steelers came into the playoffs with a current seven game win streak, as one of the hottest teams in football. They are led by the big three on their offence; Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, Wide Receiver Antonio Brown, and running back Le’veon Bell. Bell leads the league in scrimmage yards per game, even though he missed the first three games with a suspension. Roethlisberger comes into the divisional round with a bum ankle after injuring it in a win against the Miami Dolphins in the Wild Card round. If Roethlisberger, can’t play, backup quarterback Landry Jones will lead the team into Kansas City in the Divisional Round.

#3 Pittsburgh Steelers vs #2 Kansas City Chiefs – Sunday, January 15th 1:05 ET (CBS)

Houston Texans #4 Seed (9-7)

According to NFL analyst Elliot Harrison, the Houston Texans are worst team coming into the NFL playoffs. The three time defensive player of the year J.J. Watt got injured in the preseason and has not played a snap this entire season. So the defense has been led by the former number one overall pick Jadeveon Clowney. After struggling in his rookie year, Clowney has become a star in the NFL as one of the best pass rushers in the league. After being benched in week 14, Quarterback Brock Osweiler will have to prove his worth as recent starting quarterback Tom Savage is out with a concussion for this years playoffs. The Texans head into Foxboro as record underdogs, a spread of 16 points for the Texans.

#4 Houston Texans vs #1 New England Patriots – Saturday, January 14th 8:15 ET (NBC)

Oakland Raiders #5 Seed (12-4)

After years of misery, The Oakland Raiders finally make the playoffs since their Super Bowl loss in 2003 according to their official website. Many analysts like Elliot Harrison had them going to the super bowl before week 16. That was until Starting Quarterback and MVP candidate Derek Carr broke his Fibula in a game against the Indianapolis Colts. That brought in Backup quarterback Matt Mcgloin in week 17 where he broke his collarbone. So the 3rd string quarterback Connor Cook made his first career start in the Wild Card round against the Houston Texans where they ended up losing and finishing their season.

Update: Out of the playoffs

Miami Dolphins #6 Seed (10-6)

The Miami Dolphins stormed into the playoffs winning eight of its last nine games. The Dolphins were led by Pro Bowl Running Back Jay Ajayi. Ajayi became only the fourth running back in NFL history with back to back 200 yard rushing games. He had three this season. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill got hurt in week 13 with a knee injury, so back up Matt Moore has being playing quarterback over the past month. The Dolphins lost to the Steelers during the Wild Card Weekend and are out of the playoffs.

Update: Out of the Playoffs