NFL 2016 playoffs: AFC contender or pretender?

The 2016 NFL season has entered it’s third month and things are getting weird and strange and I don’t know how to feel about it. 

In the preseason, you see all the predictions and forecasts for teams in the NFL. Most seasons you can throw those out the window by the end of the season, for 2016 you can just throw them out right now because in one way or another we were wrong. We were all wrong. OK, maybe not wrong about the Cleveland Browns cause even Ray Charles saw that coming.

With the season at the midway point, we’re starting to see teams emerge in the AFC as legit playoff contenders. Of course you have your usual suspects but in this case, some of these usual suspects are coming at us in ways which we never expected. So who’s real and who’s fake as we venture closer to the last half of the 2016 NFL season.

Miami Dolphins 

The Dolphins currently sit in second place in the AFC East behind the New England Patriots and while the division is probably out of the question, an AFC Wildcard spot isn’t. The Dolphins have now won three in a row after a rough start to the season it seems like the offense is now starting to click under new head coach Adam Gase.

While the schedule seems favorable into December I do wonder how they’ll do against the division in their final three contests of 2016. At this point in the season, I’ll pencil the Dolphins as a contender. If the defense can start to come around then look out.

Dolphins: Contender 

Baltimore Ravens 

It’s week 10 of the NFL season and the only undefeated team in the AFC North is the Baltimore Ravens. In my opinion it’s one of the biggest surprises this season, especially when you consider how inconsistent the Ravens offense has been at times this season.

Despite all of that, here they are with a lead on Cincinnati and Pittsburgh midway through the season. I’ve gotta say, I’m not sure Baltimore can keep it going with how inconsistent they’ve been this season and the schedule that’s ahead of them. It’ll be tough keeping pace with two teams like Cincinnati and Pittsburgh.

Ravens: Pretender 

Kansas City Chiefs 

While we knew Kansas City would be among the contenders in the AFC West but into November they now have company in the division. Denver, Oakland and San Diego, yes San Diego have now flanked the Chiefs in the quest for AFC West supremacy. The Chiefs don’t have their full compliment of players and no Jamaal Charles for the rest of the season.

Still, Andy Reid is probably the most effective coach in the division to overcome this type of adversity. It may get ugly at times but somehow someway, the Chiefs will win the AFC West. Denver has too many issues on offense and Oakland has to travel to Arrowhead where the division will be decided. Advantage KC.

Chiefs: Contender 

Houston Texans 

Somebody has to win the AFC South right? Guys? Hello?

Anyway, Indianapolis and Houston look to be the two teams that will be slugging it out. While you know what you’re getting with the Colts, but the Texans seem to be a mystery in some ways. You do have “some” experience with Brock Osweiler but his enormous contract and underwhelming play have soured head coach Bill O’Brien. T

he defense has come alive in the absence of J.J. Watt’s season ending injury. However, I worry the inconsistency of Osweiler will bring the Texans down. Unlike last season, Brock’s play won’t be enough to see the Texas reach the playoffs.

Texans: Contender 

Have more contenders or pretenders? Leave them in the comments below or on social media and watch for the NFC contenders next week.

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