Falcons, Bears, Eagles, Seahawks, Packers, Saints. Who joins them in the 2009 postseason?
#1 Seed - San Diego Chargers
Be honest. How many games can you see the Chargers losing to the Chiefs, Raiders and Broncos this season? I'm setting the over/under at half-a-game and taking the under. That means Rivers & Co. will only need to go 6-4 over their next ten to finish 12-4.
#2 Seed - New England Patriots
You know what? This team is flawed. I don't put a lot of stock in the preseason but one noticeable trend developed: Tom Brady took shots from both the Bengals and the Redskins. This offensive line is not great and I wouldn't be surprised to see Brady settle for a lot of underneath stuff to Welker and Chris Baker as a result. And I know Belichick is the best but can this defense really lose Bruschi, Vrabel, Seymour...etc. and not miss a beat? Awful lot of a criticism for a two seed, ain't it?
#3 Seed - Pittsburgh Steelers
There's been a surprising amount of media members picking against the Steelers for what feel like arbitrary reasons. "Big Ben had a strange off-season. Post-Super Bowl hangover. Blah, blah, blah." Based purely on the roster, this is the best team in football and I'd pick them to finish at the top of the conferene if they didn't have Baltimore twice, Minnesota, Chicago, Green Bay, Tennessee and San Diego on the schedule.
#4 Seed - Tennessee Titans
Bob Sanders is missing the first five games of the year for the Colts. The Texans are an awkward tackle away from the Rex Grossman era. I'll take the best coach and most reliable defense/rush game in the division.
#5 Seed - Baltimore Ravens
Because the play football the way the Chicago Bears used to...
#6 Seed - Indianapolis Colts
Because I think, overnight, the AFC has no depth.
Pittsburgh Steelers over Indianapolis Colts (Colts lack rush defense...)
Tennessee Titans over Baltimore Ravens (Titans avenge loss in 2008.)
San Diego Chargers over Tennessee Titans (Titans can't keep up...)
Pittsburgh Steelers over New England Patriots (Tom Brady sacked 4 times.)
AFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
Pittsburgh scores a fourth-quarter touchdown to cut San Diego's lead to 27-21 with about 8:14 left on the clock. After a touchback, Phil Rivers leads the Super Chargers on an eleven play, seven minute drive - sealing the game with a short fieldgoal. San Diego 30, Pittsburgh 21.