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2016 AFC Championship Futures Update – January 6, 2016

2016 AFC Championship Futures Update – January 6, 2016

Defending Super Bowl champions, the New England Patriots, are back in the playoffs with a first-round bye in tow. They won’t have home-field advantage when it comes to the AFC Championship game; that luxury belongs to the Denver Broncos. But the Patriots are still the odds-on favorites to win the conference due to having arguably the best quarterback in the AFC, Tom Brady.

A couple of teams may also make some waves in the AFC Playoffs. The Pittsburgh Steelers have a very explosive offense that could shred any defense out there on a good day. Meanwhile, the Houston Texans’ defense, powered by J.J. Watt, remains to be a force to be reckoned with.

Don’t miss out on the rest of the playoffs. Check out our NFC Championship and Super Bowl 50 odds updates.

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AFC Championship Odds Update

Can the New England Patriots Make it Two Straight?

The New England Patriots didn’t secure the No. 1 seed in the AFC Playoffs, but they’re the odds on favorites at +165 to win the conference. The Patriots will benefit a lot from the one week break as their injured players will be able to refresh themselves ahead of the playoffs.

[sc:NFL250 ]Tom Brady will be able to rest his injured ankle ahead of the Divisional round of the playoffs. He’s the best quarterback in the AFC by far with a conference-high 35 passing touchdowns. Brady could get even much better in the playoffs as the Patriots may have wide receiver Julian Edelman and offensive lineman Sebastian Vollmer back from their respective injuries.

Edelman has been the Patriots’ best receiver this season, but hasn’t played since Week 10 due to an injured foot. Having Edelman back gives the defending Super Bowl champions a solid deep threat, while drawing defenders away from either tight end Rob Gronkowsi or Danny Amendola. Speaking of Gronkowski, he’s been Brady’s favorite target with team-highs of 1,176 yards and 11 touchdowns.

The Patriots also have their fair share of playmakers on defense. Jamie Collins leads the team with five forced fumbles; Chandler Jones has been destructive on the pass rush with 12.5 sacks; and cornerbacks Malcolm Butler and Logan Ryan have tightened up the Patriots’ secondary.

Don’t mind the Patriots’ horrible 2-4 stretch to end the regular season. They’ll be healthy and ready to go when it’s time for the Divisional round of the playoffs.

Nobody Wants a Piece of the Pittsburgh Steelers


The Pittsburgh Steelers are the team that no AFC team wants to face in the playoffs. They have arguably the most explosive set of offensive playmakers to torch any defense in their way. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger heads this offense, leading the conference with 328 yards per game in the regular season.

Roethlisberger has plenty of options in the receiving corps. There’s the unstoppable Antonio Brown, who went unshackled in the regular season with 1,834 yards and 10 touchdowns despite not having Roethlisberger feeding him the ball for four games.

There’s also one of the best deep threat receivers in the league, Martavis Bryant. But Bryant will need to “toughen up” according to his quarterback. After 48 catches for 759 yards and seven touchdowns in his first nine games, Bryant was held to just six yards on two receptions in his last two outings.

Despite a strong passing game, the Steelers may not have much of a chance to last long in the playoffs with a lack of running back depth. DeAngelo Williams is considered day-to-day ahead of Pittsburgh’s Wild Card game against Cincinnati, leaving the backfield with Fitzgerald Toussaint and journeyman Jordan Todman.

The Steelers will have a greater chance if they can continue forcing turnovers on the other side of the ball. They ranked third in the league with 30 total takeaways during the regular season. Causing turnovers will be crucial for a Pittsburgh defense giving up plenty of yardage. The Steelers allowed 363.1 total yards per game (21st in the league) in the regular season.

It doesn’t matter that the Steelers have the lowest seed in the AFC Playoffs. Roethlisberger won his first Super Bowl (XL) as a sixth seed in 2006.  The Steelers are +275 to win the AFC Championship.

Will Defense Win the Houston Texans the AFC?

NFL AFC Championship Odds Update - January 6, 2016

It’s all defense when it comes to the Houston Texans, making them a long shot to win the AFC. They don’t exactly have the best quarterback with Brian Hoyer directing the offense, but he’s still quite serviceable. They only have one excellent receiver, DeAndre Hopkins, who has team-highs of 1,521 yards and 11 touchdowns. Meanwhile, running backs Chris Polk and Alfred Blue aren’t exactly killing it on the ground averaging just 3.8 and 3.4 yards per carry respectively.

Houston does have plenty of playmakers on the other side of the ball starting with J.J. Watt. Houston’s defensive dynamo led the league with 17.5 sacks in the regular season, three coming in Week 17 alone when the Texans dominated Jacksonville 30-6. Watt isn’t Houston’s only option in the pass rush; Whitney Mercilus was also a force to be reckoned with, finishing the regular season with 12 sacks.

Houston’s pass rushers may have a great run in the playoffs ahead. They face some of the leakiest offensive lines at least in the first two playoff games. Their Wild Card opponents, the Kansas City Chiefs, have allowed the fourth-most sacks (46) in the regular season. Potential Divisional round opponents Denver and New England have allowed the eighth (39) and ninth (38) most sacks in the regular season.

If you believe that defense does win championships, then the Texans are worth a look at +2,000 to win the AFC. Allowing just 14.6 points per game in the past seven weeks also serves as a confidence booster for Houston backers.

Create a betting account now and lay some money down on tasty NFL futures lines as early as today.

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Written by Kevin

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