The AFC isn't nearly as wide open as it seems. Though the Patriots and Steelers may look like they have the potential to gain steam in the playoffs, there isn't a team in the AFC who is going to be able to handle the Ravens in January.
The Ravens beat the Steelers by a combined score of 58-27 in two games. In the matchup between the two most physical teams in the NFL, Baltimore emerged victorious twice and would have no problem taking down the Steelers again come playoff time.
It's hard to find a team that is built for the playoffs like the Ravens are. Defensive superstars like Ray Lewis, Terrell Suggs, Ed Reed and Haloti Ngata have helped give the Ravens the No. 2 run defense and No. 5 pass defense in the NFL.
Some will suggest that the Patriots have what it takes to dismantle the Ravens. Unfortunately for New England, they are the only team in the league that allows over 400 YPG and, as we've seen with the Patriots over the last few years, having an incomplete team makes them vulnerable.
Ray Rice has the power to take over games and Joe Flacco is one of the most underrated quarterbacks in the league.
Everything is coming together for the Ravens and no upstart wild-card team like the Jets is going to come in and shock John Harbaugh's squad.
Baltimore is peaking right now and playing championship-caliber football. They are the team nobody wants to see right now and the only team that could potentially handle the Ravens is the Green Bay Packers in the Super Bowl.
No team in the AFC can go toe-to-toe and survive the Ravens in Baltimore right now. With Lewis returning to the lineup, the Ravens are the only playoff-ready team in the AFC.