Ranking the Teams of the AFC By Walking Dead Characters
(WARNING: DO NOT READ THIS COLUMN UNLESS YOU ARE FULLY CAUGHT ON THE WALKING DEAD)
You know what people like? The Walking Dead.
You know what else people like, but maybe as not as much as they used to? NFL football.
On Thursday, we ranked the teams of the National Football Conference via divisions named for characters of TWD....and don't worry American Football Conference fans, your teams are about to get the same treatment below! Each team is ranked by how confident I am they'll make the playoffs.
So break out the giant tins of pudding once again here we go....
They rule now. Much like Negan rules Alexandria, and Ezekiel has The Kingdom, these teams have taken control of the conference. They sure can be overthrown, but for now, these teams rule the wasteland.
New England-I think the Patriots can more than recover from a loss to a Seattle team that I stuck in this division on the NFC side. Lord hath mercy on the San Francisco 49ers this week...they're the poor saps who not only have to play the Patriots this week, but also have to play New England after a loss...but they also have to take on Tom Brady, childhood Patriots fan who was rather displeased San Fran passed on him several times during the infamous 2000 NFL Draft. It'll be bloodier than this season's TWD premiere.
Oakland-Isn't football just more fun when the Raiders are good? Oakland, hosting a rare Sunday Night Football game, looked the defending champion Broncos right in the eye a couple of weeks ago and declaring themselves the lords of the AFC West....if not for the loss to Kansas City. If anything, Oakland should provide tremendous thrills week in and week out, as Derek Carr is constantly a threat to break out for 400 yards.
Kansas City-The Chiefs' history is pretty much a Midwestern take on the New York Jets, expect you actually do feel sorry for them. That blowout Sunday night loss to Pittsburgh weeks ago still leaves a bit of a bad taste, but KC has been one of the hottest teams in football since October of last season, as they've won 17 of their past 19 regular season contests. The Chiefs already wrestled the proverbial playoff win money from their back after last season, and played the mighty Patriots fairly well in the Divisional Playoff afterwards. We've seen the Royals end a long championship drought recently. Could their KC counterparts do the same?
At some points, Rick looks like a competent strong leader. Other times, you're think "Hmm what if The Punisher was around to handle this?" These teams are a lot like that. They've had some brilliant moments this year, but there have been too many mishaps to call them true contenders.
Denver-Through four weeks, Broncos fans loudly sang on how they didn't need a quarterbacks, as their defense would handle matters. Now, the chant goes "we're a quarterback away" as Trevor Siemian has fallen back to earth after a hot start, with the Broncos going a pedestrian 3-3 since the undefeated quartet (they very well could've been 2-4 if not for the extra point spectacular on Sunday in New Orleans). They instantly get a chance to regain their composure against KC next week, so they can easily promote themselves to the above category.
Miami-In any other year, the Dolphins would be a really fun story, the story of a team that literally no one believed in, the story of a running back, Jay Ajayi, bursting onto the scene with numerous exclamation points, the story of a darkhorse come playoff time. However, this is the year that the AFC West is taking up half of the AFC playoff spots, and winning the division is pretty much out of the question with an angry Tom Brady leading the Patriots. But I won't rip on the Dolphins too much. These fans need something.
Pittsburgh-The defense may be historically known as the Steel Curtain, but it has resembled more of a shower curtain this season, namely in letting the Dallas Cowboys run all over them on Sunday, complete with a timeout-free 33 second comeback that gave Dallas the lead. However, when you're armed with Ben Roethlisberger, Le'veon Bell and Antonio Brown, there's no way I'm counting them out. Especially when the AFC North leader is...
Baltimore-It feels like the Ravens should be good...right? They won their first three games, beat the Steelers and own the NFL's top-ranked run defense. So why does it feel like the Ravens aren't going anywhere? Maybe it's because they looked completely loss during a four game losing streak...during which they lost to the JETS...or that their best win is probably their opening week win over the Bills. The fact remains that they lead the power AFC North, at least for the time being.
Tennessee-Please, please, please, please, PLEASE win the AFC South Titans. At least with you, your homefield AFC Wild Card game with the Raiders/Broncos/Chiefs would a) be actually competitive for a few minutes and b) mercifully deprive of us of yet another Brock Osweiler national television appearance. It took awhile, but the Titans are slowly getting good again, thanks to the efforts of youngsters like Marcus Mariota and veterans like DeMarco Murray.
Houston-The Texans have been around for over a decade now (feel old yet?), and the fact that Matt Schaub has probably been the best quarterback in franchise history is depressing. To make matters worse, somehow this team has FIVE national television appearances...one of which is coming this week on Monday night in Mexico City. To their credit, they're 6-3 sans JJ Watt, but if the Texans end up making the playoffs again, I can already hear the collective groan coming from America.
Indianapolis-I've been ready to eliminate the Colts on several occasions, but then they rattle off an offensive stunt show like the one they had in Green Bay last week. Suddenly, this Sunday's tilt with the Titans...as well as a holiday showdown with the Steelers on Thursday night...are two of the biggest games on the schedule.
Much like Eugene, they're hanging on. Haven't really done anything too impressive, but they're surviving. Whereas Eugene keeps hope up via his comic relief, which could be keeping him alive despite his lack of survival skills, these teams could very well be dead, but certain factors are keeping them alive.
Cincinnati-Thank your lucky stars Bengals fans that a) you have AJ Green b) you're playing in the suddenly mediocre AFC North. The playoff Bengals showed up several months in advance, as the Bengals have only three wins...but they certainly have a tie...
San Diego-In any other division, the Chargers might've had a shot to move up to the above category. Alas, they're the lone mediocre team in the AFC West, currently sitting at 4-6. The Chargers, sitting in their lame duck home of San Diego, where they came crawling back after telling anyone who would listen that the city was not fit for NFL football, have had chances to build on that record, like last week against Miami, but have blown their opportunities. But hey, at least Los Angeles will be used to mediocre football once the Bolts get over there.
Buffalo-Yes, I do believe that the Bills got badly screwed over in their Monday night defeat to the Seahawks. No, I don't think that a win would've made much difference. It was the Bills, not the Dolphins, who were supposed to be giving the Patriots a run for their money and make a small bit of wild card noise. Instead, they'll likely be continuing a playoff win drought that will become old enough to legally drink if it goes another year.
Yeahhhhhhhh you know what that means.
NY Jets-Of course, this being the Jets and everything, they can't just lose, they have to do so in hilarious fashion. This time, they seem to stubbornly be refusing to hand off project QB Bryce Petty the reigns for the rest of this (lost) season, keeping things to their golden boy Ryan Fitzpatrick. Oh, and this year's second round pick Christian Hackenberg isn't even dressing.
Jacksonville-At the start of the season, I predicted the Cowboys and Raiders would win their respective divisions. I also said the Jaguars would win the AFC South. Welp, a potential two of three ain't bad.
Cleveland-I got nothing.
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