The AFC appears to have fewer contenders beyond the Patriots and Steelers, perhaps Kansas City, Oakland or Jacksonville making the biggest strides. I keep hearing about the return and rise of the Baltimore Ravens but seeing is believing for me. The Colts on paper last year had everyone thinking Superbowl until the rubber hit the road and they actually played. Perhaps this big names team needed another year to gel. Some of those big names were long in the tooth last year and adding another season isn't going to help.

The NFC is loaded. Carolina, Seattle, Green Bay and Arizona are all high caliber contenders. While its tough to name a dark horse surprise that will challenge, I think teams to keep an eye on are The New York Giants, New Orleans and depending on the QB play, Minnesota and Dallas.

2016 Final Records and playoff picks:

AFC

East: New England 12-4, NY Jets 8-8, Buffalo 7-9, Miami 6-10

North: Pittsburgh 11-5, Cincinnati 10-6, Baltimore 6-10, Cleveland 4-12

South: Indianapolis 10-6, Jacksonville 10-6, Houston 8-8, Tennessee 4-12

West: Kansas City 10-6, Denver 10-6, Oakland 9-7, San Diego 5-11

AFC Championship game: Pitt @ NE result: NE 31- Pitt 24

 

New England AFC Champions

 

NFC

East: Giants 9-7, Dallas 7-9, Washington 7-9, Philadelphia 4-12

North: Green Bay 12-4, Minnesota 10-6, Chicago 6-10, Detroit 5-11

South: Carolina: 13-3, New Orleans 10-6, Atlanta 7-9, Tampa Bay 6-10

West: Seattle 11-5. Arizona 11-5, Los Angeles 7-9, San Francisco 3-13

NFC Championship Game: Seattle @ Green Bay

Green Bay NFC Champions

New England 34 Green Bay 27

New England Patriots Superbowl LI Champions