In this post, we'll take a quick look at who the Patriots could face as the #1 seed in the Divisional Round of the NFL playoffs. First, here is the final AFC playoff seeding:
- New England Patriots: 13-3
- Baltimore Ravens: 12-4
- Houston Texans: 10-6
- Denver Broncos: 8-8
- Pittsburgh Steelers: 12-4
- Cincinnati Bengals: 9-7
The Patriots, as the top seed in the AFC, will play the lowest remaining seed in the AFC following the wild-card round. Obviously, this means that New England cannot play the Texans - but the fourth, fifth, and sixth seed in the AFC are potential opponents for New England.
New England and Baltimore have the byes. The two AFC wildcard match-ups are as follows:
Cincinnati Bengals at Houston Texans
Pittsburgh Steelers at Denver Broncos
The Patriots can play either Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, or Denver in the Divisional Playoffs. The Patriots have played both Pittsburgh and Denver this season, losing to the Steelers 24-16 and beating the Broncos 41-23.
I think that the Patriots would likely want to avoid playing Pittsburgh again to start a potential playoff run. If Pittsburgh were to go on the road and beat the Broncos, the only way the Patriots could avoid the Steelers is by having Cincinnati beat a banged-up Texans team that ended the regular season on a three game losing streak.
All of this being said, which team do you most want to see the Patriots play in two weeks: the Broncos, Steelers, or Bengals?