Right now the AFC is very much dominated by two teams, and New England Patriots remain clear favorites for anyone thinking of betting on Super Bowl 2020 online. But there’s still everything to play for and plenty of drama ahead. There could even be a few surprises as the standings of different teams can still shift significantly from one week to the next. It’s still a close-run thing for the wild card slot in the playoffs, and we could yet see an underdog team breaking out and even making it through to the Championship Game.
The current NFL AFC champions are still ahead in the running, but they’re going to have to fight for every victory to stay ahead of the Ravens. Quarterback Tom Brady has been looking exhausted of late, but a decisive win over the Eagles in Philadelphia pegged them as 9-1 favorites. There certainly seems little chance of any other team winning the Eastern Division now, but then the Patriots making the Playoffs was always a foregone conclusion.
Ravens flying high
The Baltimore Ravens lost by 15 points at home to the Browns in week four but followed up with a winning streak of six consecutive victories. Their 41-7 win over Houston puts them at the top of the Northern Division, especially after the Steelers humiliating wipeout by the Broncos. Ravens’ quarterback Lamar Jackson is easily the best player in the AFC this season, and if he retains his current form then the Ravens will definitely give the Patriots a run for their money in the playoffs.
How the west will be won
Kansas City Chiefs made it to the Championship Game last season, and as of week 11 are leading over nearest rivals the Oakland Raiders by one and a half games in the Western Division. That said, the Raiders only need one tiebreaker to be in with a chance of being in the playoffs, and many are rooting for this underdog side to shake up expectations.
The return of Jon Gruden as head coach has paid handsome dividends, and the Raiders could certainly pull the wild card slot away from the Buffalo Bills. Could we see a repeat of Oakland’s 2002 Championship win, or even a return to their 1980s heyday? Just beating the Chiefs to win the west would make the Raiders and their fans very happy indeed.
Colts v Texans
The Indianapolis Colts surged ahead after their 20 point win against the Jacksonville Jaguars, but at the time of writing everything rests on their coming rematch against the Houston Texans. That game will effectively decide who is going to take the Southern Division. When the Texans went down in Baltimore it put a serious dent in their ambitions, but it’s certainly not too late for Houston to get back in the saddle and take their division.
The Buffalo Bills are doing well on paper, but they’ve hardly been challenged this season. They’ve only gone up against teams with losing records, and their true mettle has yet to be tested. The Cleveland Browns were early favorites to win their division, and their victory over the Steelers put them back in the running. Although they’re currently at least two games down they could still be contenders. As for the Pittsburgh Steelers, they were considered a possible dark horse for a while, but that Browns defeat has left them looking decidedly pitiful.
There’s not much to be said about the Jaguars or the Broncos, or at least nothing particularly positive. The Cincinnati Bengals have been decisively eliminated, which just leaves the Titans, the Chargers, the Dolphins and the Jets. Miami Dolphins had a good run for a few weeks but after losing to the Bills in week 11 any chance of a comeback is looking doubtful. New York Jets meanwhile are still scraping along and had an impressive 34-17 victory over the Redskins in week 11.
The Titans are currently the #9 seed for the playoffs and are definitely still in with a wild card chance. The Chargers meanwhile are currently third place in the Western Division and are still hopeful of at least coming through the season with their dignity intact.
In summary then we’re definitely going to see the Patriots and Ravens in the playoffs, joined most likely by the Chiefs and the Colts, but very possibly Texans, Raiders or Browns. The top two may be a certainty, but elsewhere there’s still going to be plenty of jostling before the final picture emerges.