The Patriots are 3-0, and the revenge tour is off to a terrific start. After a close seven point win against the Pittsburgh Steelers on the NFL's opening night, the Patriots have lit up the scoreboard in consecutive weeks against the Buffalo Bills and Jacksonville Jaguars.
With the way the Patriots are playing, and the underwhelming performances by much of the AFC's "elite", is it fair to say the Patriots will have no competition in the AFC playoffs? It may not be as farfetched as you'd think. Let's look at each AFC team that reached the playoffs last season, and how much of threat they present to our beloved New England Patriots.
Baltimore Ravens: The Ravens won their first game of the season last night, and they now sit at 1-3. The team had high expectations coming into the year, but their best defensive player is out for the year and the team has looked absolutely terrible. On top of that, should the Ravens manage to reach the playoffs, a matchup with the Patriots would be over before kickoff. The Ravens originated the entire "deflategate" nonsense, putting them at the top of New England's hit list. Tom Brady would have a career day, and the Ravens would lose in a blowout.
Cincinnati Bengals: Does this one even warrant discussion. Sure, the Bengals are 3-0, but we have seen this act before. A.J. Green and the Bengal defense is enough to get the Bengals to the playoffs, but Andy Dalton always finds a way to screw up on the big stage. No matter their record, the Bengals present no threat whatsoever to the Patriots' Super Bowl hopes.
Indianapolis Colts: This is nothing more than a good laugh. Let's put aside the fact that the Patriots slaughter the Colts each and every time the two teams play and that New England has added motivation this year. The fact is, the Colts might not even reach the playoffs. Andrew Luck has been turnover prone for years, and it is finally starting to hurt the Colts. The team just won their first game of the season in a COMEBACK win against the TITANS. The defense has looked even worse than last year, which is quite an accomplishment. The Colts have no running game, no defense, and no chance of beating the Patriots should they reach the postseason.
Pittsburgh Steelers: After falling to the Patriots on opening night, the Steelers looked extremely impressive before losing star quarterback Ben Roethlisberger for up to six weeks. The Steelers lost their first game without Roethlisberger last night to the Ravens, and it looks pretty bad for the Steelers. Mike Vick will start for the next five weeks, and the team's playoff hopes are in serious jeopardy. IF the Steelers find a way to reach the postseason, they could make things interesting against the Patriots, but their weak defense will be the difference.
Denver Broncos: The Broncos are the one AFC team that could present a serious threat to the Patriots. The Denver defense is loaded with talent, and their wide receivers are among the best in the league. The problem is, Peyton Manning is not the player he used to be. He may be effective now, but he proved last season he is not able to play nearly as well late in the season due to age and health. A playoff matchup could be a close game, but Tom Brady proves to be too much.
By Jacob Young, @Jacob_BBS