Who are the AFC Odds Favorites to win the Division
The 8 teams taking part in the Divisional Round this weekend know that a win will put them just 1 more win away from Super Bowl 50. There have been many teams that have cracked under the weight of that pressure, and you have to wonder if any of the favorites this weekend will fail to take advantage of their home field advantage, and the fact that they are probably a little healthier and better rested than their opponents. Let’s take a quick look at the Divisional Round favorites in the AFC.
— New England Patriots (@Patriots) January 16, 2016
New England Patriots
The Patriots have what many people view to be the toughest assignment this weekend. In order to move on, New England are going to have to dispose of a Kansas City Chiefs team that will be arriving at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro on an 11-game winning streak. Bringing an end to that sort of momentum is never easy, but if any team can do it, you would expect it to be the New England Patriots.
The Patriots are a team that seem to thrive on conflict and adversity, and they were able to put together a 12-4 season despite the fact that they spent most of the offseason focusing on the Deflategate scandal. Tom Brady, the man at the heart of the mess, didn’t miss a beat, and put together another spectacular season. The Patriots managed to go 7-1 on home field this season, which just makes a tough task for the Chiefs seem all the more impossible.
New England did have to deal with a number of injuries this season, and while they managed to overcome them, it did catch up with them a little at the end of the season, as they lost 4 of their last 6 games. The bye week allowed them to get most of their guys rested and healthy, though, and they now look to be in better shape than they have been all year.
The Broncos were able to steal away the #1 seed in the AFC, thanks in large part to the late season collapse by the Patriots. The Broncos will face a horribly banged-up Pittsburgh Steelers team at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on Sunday, January 17. The lines for this one are still up in the air as we await word on the status of a few Steelers players.
Peyton Manning will be back under center for the Broncos this weekend, and while he did not have the best of season’s, he is now healthy and rested after an extended layoff through injury. He has much more playoff experience than backup QB Brock Osweiler, so it almost seems like a no-brainer that he would get the nod.
The Broncos went 6-2 at home this season, and while they lost to the Steelers earlier in the year, that loss came on the road against a much healthier Pittsburgh team. The Denver defense has been outstanding all year long, and we can expect to see them go after a very hurt Ben Roethlisberger in a very big way. If they can get to Big Ben, this thing could get ugly.