NFL Season Preview: AFC Wildcard

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New England Patriots (10-6)

The New England Patriots are no longer the dominant team they once were a few years ago, but despite no longer have that intimidation factor that used to scare opposing teams, Tom Brady and company could surprise some people this season as they might fly under the radar with all the attention that the New York Jets are getting in the AFC East division and slowly, but surely turn into Super Bowl title contenders once again.

Houston Texans (9-7)

Being in the shadow of Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC South can be frustrating, but this season people might start to take notice of the Houston Texans as they could be very well on their way to punching their ticket to the playoffs for the first time in franchise history.

Even though they will have to beat out some of the teams on this list and the rest of the AFC Conference, Matt Schaub and arguably the best wide receiver in the game in Andre Johnson might be up to the task.

Tennessee Titans (9-7)

Last season the Tennessee Titans looked like a mess in the first half of the season (0-6) and arguably the worst team in the league, but with the help of one of the best running backs in the NFL in Chris Johnson and the return of quarterback Vince Young, Jeff Fisher’s squad was able to turn things around and threaten to make the playoffs by winning eight of the last 10 games of the regular season.

Unfortunately, the Titans just missed out on the postseason, but this year they will have some much needed confidence and momentum as they charge forward with one of the best running games in the league and a quarterback getting back to Pro Bowl caliber form.

Pittsburgh Steelers (9-7)

A few years ago, the Pittsburgh Steelers were considered to be one of the elite teams in the NFL as they had won two Super Bowl titles and had arguably one of the best leaders under center in quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.

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Even though they still have their championship squad still relatively intact, minus wide receiver Santonio Holmes (New York Jets), the Steelers could be in for another long season of disappointment as they will be without Big Ben for the first four games of the season and will face some stiff competition in the AFC North division, but they will have be a legitimate playoff team.

Cincinnati Bengals (10-6)

Last year the Cincinnati Bengals just dominated the AFC North division as they finished with a perfect 6-0 record in division play, but even though they have added perennial Pro Bowl wide receiver Terrell Owens into the mix, the Baltimore Ravens are looking like Super Bowl title contenders this season which leaves Carson Palmer and company shooting for a playoff spot through the AFC Wildcard.

Even though I think that the Cincinnati Bengals will challenge the Baltimore Ravens within their division, ultimately they will have to settle for a playoff berth through the Wildcard.

Prediction: New England Patriots, Cincinnati Bengals

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