NFL 2012 Playoffs AFC Standing predictions: Final Seedings and Matchups

12/26/12 in NFL   |   BrianMaddock   |   1429 respect

FanIQ | Sports Rumors, Gossip, Blogs, News & Discussion ForumsThere nothing more exciting than a high stakes game as the regular season ends with the approaching Week 17. This season had plenty of its drama, the repercussions of which lead us to an exciting week of do-or-die matchups to determine the early playoffs picture. The patterns set by most NFL teams this season have made it easier projecting the playoffs, especially with all six AFC spots secured.
Not all matchups are being played this week on such volatile grounds, but the few that qualify will have serious ramifications on the final playoff seedings and matchups.
The results could set up into final playoffs seedings as follows for AFC:
Cincinnati Bengals (6), New England Patriots (3)
The Cincinnati Bengals are already sitting strong as the sixth seeds, which puts them in a projected matchup with the likely New England Patriots, or Baltimore Ravens, Houston Texans and Denver Broncos.
The New England patriots are currently battling it out as third seed, where they will likely remain following the season finale at home against the Miami Dolphins. The only scenario in New England Patriots’ chances of improving their seeding is if either the Denver Broncos or Houston Texans lose.
The Houston Texans are the team to watch here as their recently struggling offense prepares for a Week 17 matchup against the Indianapolis Colts. However, the Indianapolis Colts don’t pose promising results against AFC’s top teams yet so the New England Patriots could still be set up with the Cincinnati Bengals in a Wildcard game.
The matchup projects NFL’s elite dynasties against a gradually rising team. The Cincinnati Bengals need to prove that their last two playoffs run mattered and they deserve back-to-back playoffs appearances.
Indianapolis Colts (5), Baltimore Ravens (4)
Much like the Cincinnati Bengals, the Baltimore Ravens too are locked in at third seed.
The Baltimore Ravens are to be watched here as they will likely end up as a fourth seed. The Baltimore Ravens could move up to third seed if the New England Patriots lose to the Miami Dolphins but line only suits bets as a passing joke.
So that puts us in a likely viewing of a much anticipated return of Baltimore Ravens wide receivers Ray Lewis’ against Indianapolis Colts’ sensational rookie quarterback Andrew Luck. On the other side of the ball, Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco will try to take it out on former Ravens Tom Zbikowski and Cory Redding.
And to add some drama, a healthy Chuck Pagano will lead the Indianapolis Colts from the sideline against his former team in a gritty full-efforts-invested battle.
First-Round Byes: Denver Broncos (2), Houston Texans (1)
The Houston Texans could land home-field advantage for the playoffs with the Week 17 win. Meanwhile, the Denver Broncos will likely clinch the second seed with a win over the dismal Kansas City Chiefs.
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