Can Anyone Unseat New England
Who has the best shot at representing the AFC in Super Bowl LI?
(6) Oakland Raiders – The Raiders take home the worst odds to head to the Super Bowl on the AFC side due to their quarterback situation. Rookie Connor Cook will get the start for the Raiders and has the full backing of the team and coaching staff. However, it will be his first ever NFL start and that doesn’t bode well for your teams Super Bowl odds. The Raiders have had one of the top defenses in the NFL and will need a big game out of Khalil Mack, Bruce Irvin, and Reggie Nelson to make it out of the Wild Card round. Over all the loss of Derek Carr looks to have cost Oakland a shot at a Super Bowl this year.
(5) Houston Texans -The Texans get the five spot just because they have the better quarterback situation compared to the Raiders. Houston will start Brock Oswieler, who was the starting QB for the majority of the season. However, he is near the bottom of each category for a starting quarterback this season. Talent wise they have a capable defense and weapons on offense, they just don’t have a quarterback that can get the job done.
(4) Miami Dolphins – The fact that Miami has to play the Steelers in the Wild Card round, should have them lower on this list. However, if the Dolphins can win on the road in Pittsburgh they would be the favorite team from the Wild Card round to make a run. The major question for Miami is when or if quarterback Ryan Tannehill will be able to return. It looks like it would not be until the second round, but possibly not even then. So, this means Matt Moore will get the start more than likely. The good news for Miami fans is Moore is a top five to seven back up QB in the NFL, Moore is the guy you trust the most of any of the other backups playing this weekend. Miami also having a three-time 200 yard rushing game running back in Jay Ajayi helps to make Moore’s job easier. Defensively, the talent is there to compete in the playoffs. Names like Ndamukong Suh, Kiko Alonso, and Cameron Wake could and will need to have big impacts to keep the Dolphins playoff hopes alive.
(3) Pittsburgh Steelers – The main reason why the Steelers find themselves with the third best chance to make it to the Super Bowl is Ben Roethlisberger. Along with Smith and Brady, he is the only quarterback in the AFC playoff pitcture with a lot of playoff experience. Pittsburgh also has the best wide receiver in the NFL in Antonio Brown, a top 10 running back in Le’Veon Bell and several other playmakers on the outside. Defensively they have the talent to compete with anyone in the AFC. The big question is can both the offense and defense show up in the same night for Pittsburgh and that is something we will have to wait and see on.
(2) Kansas City Chiefs – The Chiefs have the best shot to keep the Patriots out of the Super Bowl. Why you ask? Their defense. The Chiefs also have a head coach in Andy Reid that knows what it takes to make it to the Super Bowl. Not to mention one of only two quarterbacks beside Brady that is an upper level NFL QB on the AFC side. Alex Smith makes very few mistakes, and as seen recently, has been playing at a very high level. KC tight end Travis Kelce has had a record breaking season and gives anyone a matchup problem as well as a unique weapon in Tyreek Hill, who has proven to be a match up nightmare for some of the league’s best defenses. If KC can keep playing defense at the same level it has the last several weeks they will be a hard out for any team.
(1) New England Patriots – Simply put the Patriots are just the best team in the AFC. There are always plenty of people pulling for them to lose, just like every year. However, people cheering for you to lose hasn’t stopped the Patriots in the past. Once again Tom Brady and Bill Belichick look to be on their way to another Super Bowl.