clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

If not the Patriots, then who?

Someone less evil: that’s a start


With the Denver Broncos rudderless at QB, the Pittsburgh Steelers getting old, the Cleveland Browns a year or five from contention, the AFC South doing typical AFC South things, and the Oakland Raiders/Kansas City Chiefs seemingly a key piece or two away from legitimate contention, the “other” conference appears to be New England’s to lose. Again.

The good thing about running discussion pieces before any of the games take place is that one can posit all sorts of scenarios. In this here hypothetical, the 2017 Patriots go 9-7 and miss the playoffs for the first time since ‘08 and only the second time this millennium.

Who fills the void? If the Pats have a down year, who do you think wins the AFC?

Well, the Chiefs have gone 23-9 the past two seasons combined.

The Raiders were on track to maybe win the 1 seed last season until Derek Carr was lost for the year to an unfortunately timed injury.

The Colts, Texans and Titans could all create a logjam atop their division and easily send a couple teams to the playoffs. But are those teams more hype than substance? Andrew Luck has disappointed for four of his five seasons. The Houston defense is strong but who throws the ball to people? A rookie? Tennessee is the chic pick, which always works out, as the Jaguars from 2005-2015 can attest after ten years in that role.

The Dolphins finished strong with nine wins in their final 11 games. The Bills are due -- for a playoff appearance. It’s been since 1999. But are Ryan Tannehill and Tyrod Taylor capable of either taking a giant step forward in their development or outslugging a better quarterback in the playoffs?

The Bengals made the playoffs five straight times from 2011-2015 before faltering to a not-nice 6-9-1 mark last season. The Ravens do things in the playoffs. Sometimes. Depends.

The Jets and Chargers exist, concretely.

If not the Patriots, then who?


If the New England Patriots fail to make the 2017 playoffs, who wins the conference in their place?

This poll is closed

  • 2%
    Baltimore Ravens
    (32 votes)
  • 0%
    Buffalo Bills
    (13 votes)
  • 1%
    Cincinnati Bengals
    (20 votes)
  • 0%
    Cleveland Browns
    (15 votes)
  • 2%
    Denver Broncos
    (36 votes)
  • 3%
    Houston Texans
    (53 votes)
  • 0%
    Indianapolis Colts
    (13 votes)
  • 0%
    Jacksonville Jaguars
    (8 votes)
  • 7%
    Kansas City Chiefs
    (121 votes)
  • 1%
    Miami Dolphins
    (21 votes)
  • 0%
    New York Jets
    (8 votes)
  • 59%
    Oakland Raiders
    (935 votes)
  • 14%
    Pittsburgh Steelers
    (230 votes)
  • 1%
    San Diego Chargers
    (19 votes)
  • 3%
    Tennessee Titans
    (55 votes)
1579 votes total Vote Now