AFC Formidable 5: Week 13
Each week on your FAVORITE Midday Radio Program, Just a Bit Outside, Joe Giglio and myself reveal our Top 5 teams in each conference. We call this ground-breaking, highly anticipated feature: THE FORMIDABLE FIVE! I don’t quite know how to title this each week. Is this Formidable Five for Week 12? Week 13? Week 12.5? I don’t quite know. But here’s what I do know…these are the five best teams in the AFC.
5. Houston Texans: Anyone who listens to the show knows of my love for the Moo Cows. All season long this time has triumphed over adversity, battling injuries to Mario Williams, Andre Johnson, and for a little while there, it seemed like Matt Schaub's injury wasn't going to be a season killer. America's Favorite Red Bull and Vodka fan Matt Leinart was looking sharp enough against the Jags, but the injury bug done bit 'em again and the Texans are staring a future wherein TJ Yates starts the franchise's first playoff game. Respect their run game/defense/toughness, but they are the definition of one and done come postseason time.
4. Oakland Raiders: In the midst of the TEBOWMANIA currently going on out in the AFC West, no one seems to notice that the Oakland Raiders are making strides and establishing themselves as the cream of the crop in the division. They are riding a 3 game win streak since their odd 0-2 tilt, and the play of Carson Palmer is the clear reason why. They can control the clock AND make the throws they need to now. Add that to their "eat your lunch" defense, and I wouldn't want to play Oakland any time soon.
3. Pittsburgh Steelers: Well that was quite a scare wasn't it?!?! Something about this team seems "off", and it isn't just the fact that they barely beat a Chiefs team QBed by Tyler Palko. Mike Wallace has gone AWOL, no one wants to admit that Rashard Mendenhall has been kinda mediocre, and Troy Polamalu is nicked up again. Their two losses to Baltimore more or less ensures that they'll have to travel for the grand majority of their playoff run, but we've seen them do it before. I never know what to make of this team. They could win the AFC, they could get bounced in Round 1. I'm done guessing.
2. New England Patriots: We've been (justifiably) dumping on their defense all season long. They still rank near the very bottom of the league in Yards Allowed. But the fact of the matter is...that's still Tom Brady under center. We here in South Jersey know that ALL too well after last Sunday's debacle. You can move the ball on them for sure, but they DO create turnovers and have the right kind of offense to suture the wounds a feast or famine defense inflicts. They aren't the Patriots of old for sure, but as for right now? They are still pretty damn good.
1. Baltimore Ravens: The better football team won Harbaugh Bowl I. Baltimore's offense sputtered against the tough 49ers on Thanksgiving night, but the defense gave everyone flashbacks to Brian Billick's Straw Hat era. Their losses to Seattle and Jacksonville are head scratchers, but like most of the mysteries on LOST, don't expect the answers at the end of the run. What the Ravens have proven is that they can run when they need to, pass when they need to, make stops when they need to, and most importantly...beat the NFL's elite. The AFC is currently steeped in Purple Reign and that may just be the case until Super Bowl Sunday.