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AFC Wild Card round proves the conference is as wide open as ever

The AFC Wild Card round is in the books, and when you look at the writing on the wall you see just how open the conference is moving forward.

NFL: JAN 04 AFC Wild Card - Titans at Patriots Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

If you hear someone talk about how tough the AFC is in comparison to the NFC, you might want to ask them how they came to such a conclusion. The NFC is riddled with top teams, outside of the NFC East, and you could easily make the argument any one of the teams in the NFC Playoffs could make a legitimate run at a Super Bowl.

On the AFC side of the ledger, the same can’t be said.

In 2019, the Baltimore Ravens are clearly the front runners, but the AFC is so top-heavy with teams like the Ravens and Kansas City Chiefs it makes it difficult to envision a situation where the Buffalo Bills, Houston Texans or even the Tennessee Titans could go on a run and make it to the Super Bowl.

As we all saw on Saturday night, when the Titans went into New England and beat the Patriots, anything can happen, but what I saw was an AFC which is wide open moving forward. Yes, even for a team like the Pittsburgh Steelers. Whether the Patriots’ dynasty is over, or just on a few month hiatus, doesn’t matter. The teams who consider themselves players in the AFC should represent a long list of teams who might be just a few players away from being in the playoff push in 2020.

It wouldn’t be difficult to make a case for any of the following teams to make a run in 2020 and be an impact team in the playoffs:

Pittsburgh Steelers
Indianapolis Colts
Oakland Raiders

...and the case could be made for other teams to bounce back too. So, while the Chiefs, Ravens and maybe even the Patriots will continue to be considered the cream of the crop, it isn’t far fetched to consider the AFC as wide open as ever entering 2020. To give you a simple statistic to illustrate this simple fact, only 6 teams in the AFC finished with records above .500. Talk about top heavy.

If the Steelers can get Ben Roethlisberger back under center playing at a high level next season, and pair that with a dominant defense, there is no doubt the Steelers will be in the conversation for playoff consideration. And as the Titans have proven in this playoffs, sometimes all you need to do is get in...

A lot of ‘ifs’ when talking about the Steelers’ future, but fans should rest a bit easier with the fact the Steelers don’t play in the NFC, but rather the wide open AFC.