A few weeks ago, the Pittsburgh Steelers were said to the team that nobody in the AFC would want to match up against in the playoffs. Since then, that mentality has probably changed. The Steelers got in with a win over Cleveland and got help from the Bills beating the Jets, but they are not the most dangerous AFC team in the playoffs.
It's the Kansas City Chiefs.
The Chiefs, who began the season 1-5, posted ten-straight wins to finish 11-5 and clinch the first wild card. Not only that, if the Broncos didn't come back and beat the Chargers, they would have been AFC West champions.
The other five teams that qualified for the AFC playoffs have their problems. The Patriots and Broncos are having offensive line issues. Tom Brady is dealing with an injury and Peyton Manning made his triumphed return to the Broncos lineup, and many do not know how far he can take Denver in the playoffs. The Bengals have A.J. McCarron at quarterback while searching for their first playoff win since the 1990 season. The Texans won the weak AFC South with a 9-7 record and have had fourth different quarterbacks this year, and the Steelers, who have the best offense in the AFC playoffs, have seen Ben Roethlisberger struggle the past two weeks and the defense has shown some holes as of late.
The Chiefs appear to be the most stable team coming into the playoffs. Kansas City had its own problems, but that was during the first quarter of the year. The other five AFC teams are dealing with issues as the final quarter of the season ends and the second season begins.
In fairness, with these teams dealing with their own problems, the AFC is wide open. The Patriots don't look invincible, the Broncos might be the top seed, but they don't scare anyone. The Bengals have the burden of two decades of playoff failure hanging over them and the Texans will get to host the Chiefs, but you have to like Kansas City as a 3-point favorite.
With a wide open field, it wouldn't be a surprise if the Steelers and Chiefs met in the playoffs, but of those two teams, Kansas City is the team the other teams should have one eye on.