Because if it did, the Patriots would have an awful road to the Superbowl.

Everyone might be able to agree that the AFC is top heavy. Really, there's only five teams that could potentially win a Superbowl - Texans, Ravens, Patriots, Broncos, Steelers (if they can sneak in and get Big Ben back). Obviously, all of those teams have a good shot at making the playoffs, so there's no way the Patriots can avoid all four of the other top teams. However, if the playoffs ended today, they may just have to face almost all of them.

It would be Steelers in the wild card round. Then with a victory, it'd be at the Ravens in the divisional round. Then if they were to win that it would be either the Broncos, Texans or Colts in the AFC Championship. They would have a home game against any of those teams except the Texans.

The teams I'm most afraid of facing are probably the Broncos and Texans. Just because Peyton Manning is so familiar with the Patriots and the Texans are such a well rounded team.

The probable possibility of having to go back to Baltimore to play a playoff game disgusts me though. As poorly as Baltimore has been playing, they haven't lost. I'd still be confident because the Patriots could have easily won that game in Baltimore. I think the Patriots players know that they can hang with Baltimore and beat them in a close game. Still, going on the road again makes that much tougher.

The reality is that this playoff picture is unlikely to change very much over the next five games anyway. The teams that are likely to drop out are the Steelers or the Colts, but the only team with a winning record trailing them is the Bengals at 6-5. More than likely one of those teams, or both, will remain.

Really, there is no way the Patriots are going to be able to avoid the scenario above unless they can catch up to the Ravens or Texans in the standings. Neither team seems to be able to lose a game though. Over the last five games, both the Ravens or Texans would have to lose at least two games and the Patriots would have to win out to catch them.

So, a lot would have to happen for the Texans or Ravens to drop out of those top two seeds.

The Ravens last five games includes three at home and two on the road - home vs Steelers, at Redskins, home vs Broncos, home vs Giants, at Bengals.

The Texans' last five games includes three on the road and two at home - at Titans, at Patriots, home vs Colts, home vs Vikings, at Colts.

The Broncos last five games has three at home and two on the road - at home vs Buccaneers, at Raiders, at Ravens, home vs Browns, home vs Chiefs.

The Patriots last gives games includes three at home and two on the road - at Dolpins, home vs Texans then 49ers, at Jacksonville and then home vs Dolphins.

So if we look at how one might expect things to go this is how things might end up for those top four teams.

The Ravens probably go 3-2. They might actually have the toughest schedule in this last stretch, other than the Patriots. That is a shame because I wouldn't expect the Patriots to sweep their toughest two games of the season - Texans and 49ers.

The Texans could run the slate but I think they'll lose to the Patriots and go 4-1 down the stretch. That secures the number one seed and ends their season at 14-2.

The Broncos likely also go either 5-0 or 4-1. Tampa Bay or Baltimore has the best chance of giving them a loss, but I don't think they'll lose to both.

Then there's the Patriots. Who would have a very easy road if it weren't for the two juggernauts. As I said above, I think the Patriots could beat Houston but it'll be really tough to beat both Houston and San Francisco back to back. If they do that, you might be able to just book a trip to New Orleans. I think the Patriots go 4-1 down the stretch.

So, this would leave the Texans at 14-2, the Ravens at 12-4, the Patriots at 12-4, and the Broncos at 12-4 or 13-3. Obviously, the Broncos NEED to lose a game. If they win out and go in at 13-3, and everything else plays out as expected above, then the Patriots would move down to the 4th seed.

Anyway, it would be great if the Ravens, Texans and Broncos started losing.

Michael Saver 11/26/2012 03:44:00 PM Edit

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