Alex Smith and the Chiefs delivered a huge upset win against the Broncos over the weekend.

Steelers and Chiefs can make run at AFC wildcard spots

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The AFC wildcard spot is as hotly contested this year as any other year.

A number of teams are battling it out to claim those final two playoff spots in order to hopefully extend their season to the Super Bowl.

While the wildcard playoff chase could be won by any of six teams currently in the hunt - the Buffalo Bills, Pittsburgh Steelers, Oakland Raiders, New York Jets, Miami Dolphins and the Kansas City Chiefs - I believe it is the Chiefs and Steelers that have the best shot at the final two spots.

Why, you ask? Let me explain. 


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Kansas City Chiefs:

What? The Chiefs? I know that's what you are all saying right now, but trust me, they can do it.

The Chiefs have arguably the easiest schedule remaining in the entire NFL, and I think they have the potential to win every single one of their remaining games.

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The backend of the Chiefs schedule looks like this; AWAY vs the Chargers, HOME vs the Bills, AWAY vs the Raiders, HOME vs the Chargers, AWAY vs the Ravens, and HOME vs the Browns and Raiders. Only one of those teams has a record above .500, the Bills. 

Kansas City Chiefs v Denver Broncos

You don't think they can win all of those games? I do, the Chiefs are on a three-game win streak, having scored 97 points and only allowed 36 over that span.

The Chiefs defence is getting after the quarterback and forcing takeaways, and the offence has turned a corner since getting DeAnthony Thomas involved in the game more.

Plus, you can say what you want about Alex Smith, but he has thrown an interception since week three. He is quietly finding ways to get it done and to be successful and he is sneakily effective running the ball also.

While the Chiefs might not be favorites for a wildcard spot like the Jets or Bills, I think it's hard to ignore the ease of their remaining schedule and the performances they have put up in the past three weeks.

This team is on the rise, and at such a pivotal moment, it could prove to be rewarding.  

Pittsburgh Steelers:

The Pittsburgh Steelers' road to the playoffs is a lot more challenging, on paper anyway. Closely examining the teams they face late in the year, however, will reveal something that will no doubt propel the Steelers to the playoffs.

Many of the perceived 'tough teams' that the Steelers face coming off their bye-week have notable weaknesses that the Steelers can expose.

The Colts probably won't have Andrew Luck and their defence is average at best.

The Broncos either have a rapidly declining Peyton Manning or Brock Osweiler under center and no semblance of a run game. 

The Seahawks' defense is nowhere near the unit that spread fear across the NFL in seasons past, and their offensive line cannot protect Russell Wilson effectively.

Those kinds of weaknesses work to the Steelers strengths which are, passing the ball on offence & getting after the quarterback on defence.

Now while the Steelers season may have been cursed with a slue of injuries in 2015, they still have Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown - two of the NFL's premier players that are seemingly unstoppable when playing together.

Cleveland Browns v Pittsburgh Steelers

They also boast a defence that is not only outperforming expectations but also getting better each and every week (minus the game versus the Raiders). 

If the Steelers can capitalise on the weaknesses the Colts, Seahawks, and Broncos have, and don't fall victim to playing down to the level of competition when it comes to the Ravens and Browns to close out the season, they'll be poised for a 9-7/10-6 record.

That'd be good enough to take them to the postseason alongside the Chiefs. That is if everyone stays healthy...

In conclusion, I know many people will be laughing at my predictions for the wildcard round, but given my reasoning can you not admit that it is wholly possible?

Yes, the Jets, Bills, and even the Raiders are seemingly the sexy picks this year, especially with new coaches and exciting playmakers, but I think its a couple of veteran teams that get it done.

Mike Tomlin and Andy Reid will take their teams to the postseason, and who knows, maybe they cause some trouble when they get there.

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Pittsburgh Steelers
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