2011 NFL Power Rankings: Week 15
Who will represent the AFC in Super Bowl XLVI? Right now it's anyone's guess.
If the playoffs started today, the Texans, fresh off clinching their first division title, would be the AFC's No. 1 seed.
But is Houston, led by a rookie quarterback (T.J. Yates) who was a third-stringer only four weeks ago, really the team to beat? If not, who deserves the distinction? Our voters (ESPN.com's John Clayton, ESPN.com's Ashley Fox, AFC South blogger Paul Kuharsky, NFC West blogger Mike Sando and AFC East blogger James Walker) still hold the Ravens (No. 2) in the highest regard, but the battle for conference supremacy remains extremely tight.
The Ravens, Texans, Patriots and Steelers all boast impressive 10-3 records. Houston, despite having won seven straight games, has the lowest ranking of the four (No. 7). Will that change in the coming weeks? Maybe, maybe not. The Texans' schedule is manageable, but no one in this group faces what could be described as a daunting final stretch.
Could the AFC end up with four 13-3 teams? Crazier things have happened.
No matter how you handicap it, the race for the AFC's No. 1 seed will be exciting down to the wire. Right now, it's in the Texans' hands.