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Assessing Each 2015 AFC Playoff Team’s Chances To Return

1. New England Patriots

The questions surrounding the Patriots and Tom Brady with the repercussions of the Deflate Gate scandal, as well as the huge hole at the Cornerback position on this defense move the Patriots from “Highly Probable to Probable”. Also, they might have to actually worry about teams in their division this year. The Dolphins are always going to be dangerous, especially with the addition of Ndamukong Suh to the Defensive Line.

Playoff Possibility: Probable


2. Denver Broncos

The Broncos definitely digressed in the 2015 offseason. They lost a lot of players on both offense and defense, and Peyton Manning having to play more under center in a new style of play-calling could slow this team down. They lost maybe the best tight end in the League (when healthy) to free agency and now will have a much more difficult time scoring in the Red Zone. Any team led by Peyton Manning is a playoff contender, but with a new coach and new players, it is hard to predict how well the Broncos will do.

Playoff Possibility: Slightly Questionable


3. Pittsburgh Steelers


The Steelers are my favorite to win the AFC North once again, especially after their successful offseason. They balanced out the run game by signing former Panther DeAngelo Williams, which will allow for them to be more secure if Le’Veon Bell gets injured again. Make no mistake, the Steelers would have gone to the AFC Championship if Bell hadn’t gone down. With the retiring of the legend Troy Polamalu, the Pittsburgh defense is officially experiencing a youth movement. They are a few years away from being a great defense, but there is definitely reason for optimism. The three-headed monster of an offense (Ben-Bell-Brown) has a great opportunity to lead the Steelers to another AFC North crown.

Playoff Possibility: Probable


4. Indianapolis Colts

Some would say that the Texans are closing the gap on the Colts, but I believe they need a quarterback before they can make that claim. The Colts brought in Andre Johnson and Frank Gore in the offseason to add to a stacked offense heading into 2015. The Colts have a plethora of wide receivers at Andrew Luck’s disposal along with a group of experienced running backs (Frank Gore, Ahmad Bradshaw) that still have a few seasons left in the tank. The Colts also made a big singing this offseason on the defensive side with Kendall Langford as there defense continues to make strides by year. An elite quarterback in a loaded offense with a decent defense in the League’s worst division equals playoffs.

Playoff Possibility: Highly Probable


5. Cincinnati Bengals

The Bengals didn’t have quite the offseason they could have had with their abundance of Salary Cap room, but they made a few really questionable draft picks, drafting two offensive lineman with their first two picks! Their offensive line is among the best in the league, and they really could have upgraded other positions.

They play in one of the toughest divisions in the league, and there are once again going to be a lot of teams involved in the AFC Wild Card race. Most of the teams presumably in this race have made strides in the offseason, and I’m not sure you can say that about the Bengals this year. In a Conference full of elite quarterbacks, Andy Dalton’s inconsistency at the quarterback position is a bit of a problem for this offense. They are a talented team, but this might be the year that they feel to reach the postseason.

Playoff Possibility: Questionable


6. Baltimore Ravens

Justin Forsett is going to be one of the premier running backs of the 2015 season. He will be the driving force behind this offense, as Flacco looks to mesh with new young receivers. Flacco leads the Ravens to the playoffs nearly every year, but the race is always tight. I still think the Ravens are in the best position out of the potential AFC Wild Card teams, alongside the Chargers. The Ravens did let Torrey Smith slip away, but they are still in a great position heading into 2015, despite this rating of “Slightly Questionable”.

Playoff Possibility: Slightly Questionable

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