With the NFL season more than three-quarters of the way done it can’t be too early to begin discussing the playoffs. As the NFL expanded the playoff field for this season, only the top seeded team in each conference will receive a first round bye. In the AFC, some of the top contenders are the Kansas City Chiefs, Pittsburgh Steelers, Buffalo Bills and maybe even the Tennessee Titans.
The Steelers who hold the leagues best record, a perfect 10-0, currently hold the coveted one seed, and should the playoffs start today, the all important first round bye. The Steelers have yet to lose a game this season but have some tough games in the weeks ahead. Pittsburgh plays Buffalo, Indianapolis and Cleveland all before the season’s end. All 3 of those teams would be in the playoffs if they started today. Not to mention they also have a date with division rival Baltimore who is still in the hunt for a playoff spot. Should the Steelers lose even a single game, the door is opened for the Kansas City Chiefs to seriously come into the conversation for the 1 seed.
The Chiefs and their explosive offense can score at an unbelievable pace that would give any defense in the league trouble. The Patrick Mahomes led Chiefs are currently 10-1 and are the 2 seed in the AFC if the playoffs started today. Though the Chiefs, especially after their last victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, were seen as arguably the best team in the NFL, they still have some tests ahead of them. Tyreek Hill Chiefs Wide Receiver, made his case for why he is the best pass catcher in the league in the Chiefs game vs Tampa. The quick receiver nicknamed “Cheetah” had over 200 receiving yards just in the first half vs the Buccaneers. But the Chiefs still have so tough games ahead of them. The Chiefs still must travel to New Orleans to play the Saints, play the scrappy Dolphins and Falcons as well as play one of the best young quarterbacks in the league, Justin Herbert and the Los Angeles Chargers. Especially considering how the Chiefs looked against the Buccaneers, I would be quite surprised if they lost to anybody other than the Saints. New Orleans currently holds the NFC’s 1 seed and first round bye with a 9-2 record. But with Drew Brees out due to injury, this Saints team is not the same. I do expect the Chiefs to win vs New Orleans but if any of their remaining matchups was a cause for concern, it would be that one. Though I think the 1 seed will end up going to either of those 2 teams, it is of note that it very well could go to either Tennessee or Buffalo.
The Titans who lead the AFC south, currently have a record of 8-3. Though unlikely, there still is a possibility they end up with the first round bye. Their remaining schedule includes game against Houston, Jacksonville and Detroit. All of whom have losing records. Looking at the Titans remaining games, the only one of concern would probably be the trip to Lambeau Field to play the Packers in week 16. The last team who I would consider a contender for the coveted AFC first round bye, would be the Buffalo Bills. The AFC East leading Bills are led by young superstar Josh Allen. Allen has thrown for just over 3000 yards which is good for 6th in the NFL. The Bills remaining games will certainly not be cake walk, playing multiple teams who could have their entire season’s riding on the outcome of their game vs the Bills. Buffalo plays San Francisco, Denver, New England and Miami. All of whom could have a position in the playoffs in one scenario or another. Not to mention the also play current number 1 AFC seeded Pittsburgh.
Overall, though the Steelers currently have the edge and are in the fast track for the 1 seed, this race is certainly not over. My prediction is the Steelers will slip up, possibly against either the Ravens, Browns or Bills in the coming weeks, giving an opportunity to the Chiefs to take over possession of the number 1 seed. Who do you think will end up with the 1 seed when it’s all said and done?