NFL Playoff Picks: Both AFC Wild Card Winners Will Fall in Divisional Round

Michael Mill@@MikeMill23Senior Analyst IIIJanuary 7, 2012

HOUSTON, TX - JANUARY 07:  (L-R) T.J. Yates #13 and Andre Johnson #80 of the Houston Texans celebrate after Johnson scored a 40-yard touchdown reception throw by Yates in the third quarter against the Cincinnati Bengals during their 2012 AFC Wild Card Playoff game at Reliant Stadium on January 7, 2012 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

The race to the Super Bowl may have started this afternoon, but in the AFC, it really doesn't start for another two weeks in the AFC championship game.

Yes, anything can happen on any given day, but there are two teams that stand out above the rest in the AFC.

As one might expect, neither of those teams are playing this weekend.

No matter who wins the games this weekend in the Wild-Card Round, they will be forced to go through either New England or Baltimore next week.

The Cincinnati Bengals would face off against the New England Patriots if they manage to pull off a victory against the Houston Texans.

The Bengals have made the defense thanks to their stout defensive play against the run. They would have to worry about the pass against New England.

If the Texans win the game, they go on to play the Baltimore Ravens.

There's no defense in the NFL as dangerous as the Ravens. They will have a field day with rookie T.J. Yates, given the opportunity.

The Denver Broncos will need a miracle to survive past this Sunday when they face the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Even if they do pull off the miracle, it's extremely unlikely they could manage the same result two weeks in a row.

The Ravens defense would embarrass Tebow and the Broncos offense. We already saw the result against New England a few weeks ago.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are really the only team that may have a shot in the divisional round of the playoffs.

However, the team is dealing with some major injuries that could set them back. Everybody from Ben Roethlisberger to Troy Polamalu is nursing some sort of injury.

They will likely overcome that against a much lesser team in Denver, but the Patriots and Ravens will take advantage of the situation.

This week really means nothing in the AFC.

A Baltimore Ravens vs. New England Patriots AFC championship game seems to be the only result that makes sense in the AFC.

Anything can happen, but it's unlikely the results will waver.