With two teams left to play in the AFC Championship Game, here are my picks for the teams who are likely to make the playoffs and the teams that will be eliminated.1.
Colts (11-3): The Colts should have enough talent to make a run at the division title.
With an offense that will go to the Super Bowl and a defense that could contend with the best in the league, the Colts are a top-five offense and top-three defense this season.2.
Falcons (11.5-5): Falcons coach Dan Quinn will make it to the playoffs again, but he’ll need to be a little more aggressive with his offense and a little less reckless with his defense.3.
Seahawks (9-7): It’ll be difficult for Seahawks coach Pete Carroll to get his team to the NFC Championship Game because of injuries to key players.
The Seahawks have an impressive secondary that will help them win the NFC West and have a good enough offense to be contenders in the NFC.4.
Packers (8-7-1): Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers has shown signs of being a dangerous option in the playoffs.
He’s a top quarterback and a leader who should be able to get this team to another NFC title.5.
Texans (8.5) and Saints (7.5): Texans coach Gary Kubiak and his young team should be the first team to reach the playoffs since the 1990 Super Bowl team.
The NFC South is loaded with talent and the Saints are the best team in the division and a lock for a wild-card berth.6.
Jaguars (6.5)-The Jaguars have won six of their last eight games and look to be in position to make another run at another division title, which would make them a lock to win the Super Football title.7.
Tennessee should be good enough to make it through the wild-cards and has enough talent in the secondary and offensive line to make an impact.8.
Vikings (5-6)-Minnesota has been a top 10 defense for years, but it’s been missing its top receiver in Adrian Peterson and running back Dalvin Cook.
It’ll need some more time to find its groove in the second half.9.
Cowboys (4-7)-It’ll be interesting to see if the Cowboys can be a top contender in the West again.
Dak Prescott will be playing at an elite level after he finished third in the MVP voting last season.10.
Cardinals (4.5), Bengals (3.5)–I don’t think the Bengals can be the team that makes the playoffs, but the Cardinals have been a consistent top-10 team over the last two seasons.11.
Steelers (3-7)–The Steelers will miss their star linebacker and offensive lineman from last year, but they’re still capable of beating the top teams in the NFL in the postseason.12.
I don,t think they’ll make the playoff this year, which could be the reason for this ranking.13.
The Broncos won’t be good, but I like their chances to make some noise in the regular season and could make it into the playoffs in the first round.14.
Panthers (2)—This might be the biggest wild card in the playoff picture.
Carolina needs to find a way to win this game.15.
Jets (1)–The Jets have the best chance of winning the SuperBowl.
If they can win this one, the Jets will have a chance to be the No. 1 seed in the National Championship Game.16.
Steelers –They have the talent, but coach Mike Tomlin’s team is going to be hurt in the early going by injuries.
They’ll have to find some new answers and find a different way to play.17.
Falcons –The Falcons will be the toughest team to figure out in the conference with a quarterback who is just getting going, but this team has a ton of talent.18.
Packers –The Packers’ defense will be tough, but quarterback Aaron Murray will be a major threat for the offense.19.
Rams –The Rams have an offensive line that is the envy of the league.
But they’ll have a tough time stopping Aaron Rodgers and his Packers.20.
Cardinals –The Cardinals should be a contender for the NFC South again, with Arizona playing in a home playoff game for the first time since 2010.21.
Eagles –The Eagles will have to beat the Cowboys and the Steelers, but Chip Kelly should have a winning record and the Eagles should be in the mix for a playoff spot.22.
Lions –It’s tough to predict who will win this year’s NFC title, but Detroit will be one of the toughest teams in this division.23.
Patriots –The Patriots could be a surprising Super Bowl contender this season