So the season is over. Well, it is for both the New York teams. (Pause for laughter). The New England Patriots sneaked into the #2 seed in the AFC by virtue of a smoking of the Miami Dolphins, and a little help elsewhere. So, while the players get rested up for their big game on the 13th of January, we can discuss our potential opponents, and who we would prefer to face.
Now, we can't face the Denver Broncos, as they wrapped up the #1 seed (Damn you Kansas City!!), and the Cincinnati Bengals, as the lowest seed always play the highest seed, until the AFC Championship game, so lets look at the 3 potential teams we can play:
How this matchup will occur: HOU beat CIN.
Well, well, well... Since coming to Foxboro in week 14, the Texans have collapsed. Going into week 14, they were 11-1. They finish the season 12-4, and in the 3rd seed. The question is: Did we see what the Texans were in week 14? Before, they had won close ones against really below par teams, but they were winning. But they've lost to 3 play-off opponents in their last four games, their pass coverage seems shaky/terrible, Arian Foster has been locked down, and Andre Johnson couldn't create big plays, due to a great effort by the Pats secondary. If they can recreate that, I don't see the the Texans being too difficult to handle. However, J.J. Watt is still scary, as is their front seven in general. Tom Brady will have to deal with the pressure the same way he did in week 14. The Texans would be pumped, trying to gain revenge for a humiliation. But I think the only way the Texans could beat the pats would be facing them in Texas, so I like the Patriots if this match up happens.
How this matchup will occur: BAL beat IND, CIN beat HOU.
How this matchup will occur: IND beat BAL, CIN beat HOU.
The Colts are definitely the good news story of the NFL. Andrew Luck successfully attempting to fill a certain #18's shoes would be a great story in itself. Add to that Chuck Pagano's successful recovery from Leukemia (him coaching in week 17 against the Texans is a miracle). If we were to play the Colts, they would also be coming off a playoff win in Baltimore. The wave of momentum around this team would be scary. But, if this were to occur, it reminds me exactly of last season, when Tim Tebow was the good story of the NFL, he'd just come off a playoff win against the Pittsburgh Steelers. But, earlier in the season, New England had gone into Denver and destroyed Tebow. In the playoffs, we beat them by an even bigger margin. Now, I'm not saying we'd put up more points than we did in the regular season, but I still think Luck trying to keep up with Tom Brady, it would get messy, and the Patriots would be in the Championship game.
Overall, I think its most likely we'll play the Texans. I can't see them not beating the Bengals. Who do I fear most? Peyton Manning.
Let me know who you think we'll play, and who you fear the most in the comments section below, and on Twitter, @BrendanAnnely