The NFL has been a roller coaster this year. From roughing the passer calls, to upsets and last minute victories, we have seen it all. Especially in the AFC.
Now comes the playoffs, what can we expect? Well in all honesty, anything in my opinion. Every team that made the playoffs from the AFC can compete with the other and that’s what will make it all exciting. The first round is filled with teams that have built massive momentum closing the season. I think it is all going to come down to a few key players for each team to reach the success they crave.
The first round of games starts with the Houston Texans playing the Indianapolis Colts. This game will be closer than what most people think. With the Texans having one of the better rushing defenses in the league, the run heavy Colts will rely on Andrew Luck to pull some magic out. I think this is finally the time to see if Andrew Luck will ever live up to the hype of being one of the possible elite QBs in the league. Interestingly enough, he has something that Deshaun Watson does not have: an offensive line. We all know the excitement that Deshaun Watson brings since coming into the league. With only his second season in the NFL, we have witnessed him rush for hundreds of yards and throw consistently to his beloved Deandre Hopkins. The Texan’s success relies heavily on their offense.
The next game we will see is between the Baltimore Ravens and the LA Chargers. The Ravens, like the Colts, are swinging with momentum creating a massive win streak to close the season. They’re fourth in the NFL against the run, fifth against the pass, and second in the league in points allowed. You could say that defense has been a major source, however the way Jim Harbaugh has implemented their rookie QB has also been enormous. The Chargers on the other hand, have been without Melvin Gordon and Austin Ekeler at full strength the last few games and are hoping to have them back for the playoffs in dangerous fashion. Besides, that the Chargers are a top team in the league in most categories offensively and defensively. I think that this game comes down to two people: Lamar Jackson and Philip Rivers. Both QBs have a lot to show and like Deshaun Watson and Andrew Luck, will be the ones to make or break the game.
All in all, as long as every team’s defense does not completely choke, the first round of the AFC playoffs will prove which QB is the real deal. All 4 of the teams mentioned have gone on outstanding runs this season thanks to their QB’s at the helm. What they produce this weekend, will show fans what to expect for years to come. Andrew Luck and Philip Rivers represent the veterans of the league and have been viewed by many as overrated. Will they muscle it out against their young opposition and prove spectators wrong? If they don’t it is possible that both teams will start to look for someone that will take their franchise to the next level. This is one where you have to sit back, relax and watch the ride as this weekend is crucial for every franchise involved.