AFC Playoff Picture with Futures

With the 2015 National Football League’s regular season in the rear-view mirror, let’s have a look at how the American Football Conference’s playoff landscape is shaping up. Week 17 brought some changes, including the Denver Broncos taking over the number one seed from the New England Patriots, insuring the AFC bracket goes through Mile High.

Week 17 also saw the Pittsburgh Steelers take the 6th and final seed from the New York Jets with a convincing 28-12 victory in Cleveland while Rex Ryan spoiled the Jets shot at making the post season, beating them 22-17. Tell me he didn’t love getting back at his old squad!

Three teams, the Broncos, Patriots and Bengals finished the season at 12-4 and hold the top 3 seeds. Like I said earlier, the AFC playoffs will go through Denver after finishing on top of the AFC after Peyton Manning took over for Brock Osweiler on Sunday and led them to a 27-20 win over the Chargers. The Pats slipped after holding the 1st seed in the AFC for most of the year when they lost to the Miami Dolphins 20-10.

The Bengals are in as the 3rd seed with the Houston Texans holding the 4th seed after winning the AFC South with a 9-7 record. Perhaps the hottest team in the AFC is the Kansas City Chiefs, who closed out the season winning 10 straight games to finish with an 11-5 record.

Rounding out the AFC playoff picture are the Steelers, who as stated, snuck in with a win and a Jets loss in Week 17. Their win sets up a Saturday night game (8:15 PM ET) against divisional rival Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium, one that has Cincinnati hoping QB Andy Dalton will be ready for after having his cast removed on Monday, but his status is still uncertain.

Odds experts at America’s Bookie currently have the Steelers a 3-point road favorite, although that could quickly change if Dalton’s status is changed to see him start. The total is set at 45½.

The other AFC Wild Card game has those red hot Chiefs traveling to Houston to play the Texans (4:20 PM ET) at NRG Stadium. I’ve already told you what KC has done leading up to the playoffs, but the Texans have been playing great football too. They are 7-2 in their last nine, including winning three straight with a decisive 30-6 win versus Jacksonville last Sunday.

The Chiefs beat the Texans 27-20 in Week 1, a game that saw QB Brian Hoyer get pulled in the 4th quarter in favor of Ryan Mallett. Hoyer’s first pass as a Texans was intercepted, leading to a Chief touchdown. Oh how time change; Mallett has since moved on after his immaturity had the Texans questioning his worth (he did get another chance with the Ravens and started their final 2 games) and Hoyer has established himself as the Texans starting QB.

Just like the rest of the Wild Card match-ups, the Chiefs are a road favorite, giving 3½-points with the number at 40. This game has two of the league’s top defenses facing off after Houston finished 3rd in yards allowed (4963) and the Chiefs finishing 7th (5269). Both of these teams allowed their opponents to score less than 20 points/game.

Think you know who’s going to represent the AFC in Super Bowl 50? NFL Futures odds at America’s Bookie have the Patriots the favorite at +150 with the Broncos a close second at +175. The Steelers are next at +275, followed by the Bengals and Chiefs at +650 and the Texans at +2500.

Go to America’s Bookie today before the game spreads and totals change, and make sure you get your futures wager in before this weekend’s action. Enjoy the 11 games remaining in the NFL this year…I know I will. Have a look at the NFC Playoffs with Futures to see the other side of the bracket.

By: Joe Berra

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