It's NFL playoff time, and with my Detroit Lions watching at home, it's time to figure out who to cheer for while watching the games. Playoff football is exciting and fun even when your team isn't playing, so I certainly want to watch. It's just not the same without having a favorite team in each game, though, so let's see who we have to work with.
(Side note on the Lions: They started out terribly, but finished fairly strong. The future even looks better than it did mid-season. QB Matthew Stafford picked up his game, running backs Ameer Abdullah and Theo Riddick show real promise, and DE Ziggy Ansah was second-team All-Pro this year. Lots to work on, but at least things look better than when the team was 1-7.)
So here are the AFC playoff teams, from those I'd least like to see win, to most.
6. New England Patriots - Is anyone without Boston-area ties not tired of hearing about these guys? Between Deflategate, the Seahawks gifting them the Super Bowl last year, and their fast start this year, there's been no letup of Patriots in the news. Sooner they're out, the better.
5. Houston Texans - Only in the tournament at all because of how the divisions are split up. Other than seeing how badly JJ Watt will terrorize the opposing quarterback, there's not really anything interesting about this Houston team.
4. Pittsburgh Steelers - The Steelers have been up and down all year, and just barely edged out the Jets for a wild card spot. The offense is certainly fun to watch, but it just doesn't seem like a Pittsburgh football team to me without a dominating defense.
3. Cincinnati Bengals - This is a bit of a feel-good story, thanks to Andy Dalton injuring himself a few weeks back and AJ McCarron taking over at quarterback with little experience. I wouldn't mind seeing the Bengals finally manage to win a playoff game, since it's been 25 years.
2. Denver Broncos - I'm almost as tired of hearing about Peyton Manning as I am of Tom Brady, but given the injuries that he's had, it's almost assuredly Peyton's last playoff run. If the Broncos win, it'll be due to their defense, but it will also be a nice story either because Peyton finished up strong, or young Brock Osweiler took over and made it happen. Would be fun either way.
1. Kansas City Chiefs - Kansas City started out terribly, 1-5 through 6 games. Then they buckled down and won 10 in a row, and nearly caught Denver for the division title. If they have a good playoff run, it'll be a great never-say-die team story.