The AFC's Final Four

Mike MeadowsContributor IJanuary 5, 2009

In the crazy AFC who is most suitable to advance to the Super Bowl and represent well. Of the four teams three of them are very similar and the fourth may not be the best of the four by may be playing the best of all of them at the right time.

Tennessee Titans: The Titans are maybe the least talented team of the four ON PAPER. However they run the ball very good and they play excellent defense especially up front. They rank 21st in total offense with just over 313 yds/gm, that is mostly due to theirgame manager style passing game that ranks 27 with only 176.2 yds/gm.

On the flip side theirover achieving rush offense ranks seventh with over 137 yds/gm. LenDale White has just under 800 yds and 15 tds spelling rookie sensation Chris Johnson who has 1228 yds and nine tds averaging just under five yds/car. The biggest asset to this team on the field is their defense mostly their defensive line. Albert Haynsworth is the biggest reason for this teams success if you have to pick one reason.

This defense ranks seventh in the league with under 300 yds per game. A big reason they rank so high is the play of theird-line, more times than not the Titans only pressure with four guys leaving seven guys to drop back and defend the pass. Haynesworth is the biggest reason because every time hesout there the opposing team is forced to use at least two guys sometimes three guys to block him and do the math if it takes two guys to block him everyone else gets one on one.

Finally, the biggest reason for this teams success on or off the field is simple consistency at the head coach position. Jeff Fisher is the longest tenured head coach in the league at 14 years plus. He will always have his team ready to go and they can and will compete with any team in the NFL. Key Victories: Ten def Balt 13-10, Ten def Indy 31-21, Ten def Pitt 31- 14. However they have not played any of the remaining NFC teams.

Pittsburgh Steelers: The Steelers might have fielded the best defense in NFL history this season. This defense only allowed one team this year to surpass 300 total yards in a game this season and they they played arguably the toughest schedule in the league this year. They rank first in points, total yards and passing yds/gm and second in rush yds/gm.

They only allow 13.9 pts/gm and 237 yds/gm that is nothing short of amazing. On the other hand this Steeler offense does nothing more than keep teamsin games that they should have dominated. They are only 22nd in total yards on offense just barely breaking the 300 yd mark themselves. The offensive line cant block ANYBODY and they finishe 23 in the league with only 105.6 yds/gm and a 3.7 yds/car average, that does not sound like steeler football to me.

The passing game is not much better considering they are not considered to be a game manager style and they are expected to win games for the team. They average just over 200 yds/gm. Big Ben Roethlisberger is considered to be an elite quarterback by many people in the football world but he has yet to really prove them right. I know he has a ring but his numbers prove that he is more average than elite.

This season he has 3300 yds 17 tds and 15 ints not all that elite if you ask me. So if this offense can manage to not hurt this team they should be able to beat anybody with that amazing defense. Key Victories: Pitt def Balt 23-20, Pitt def SD 11-10, Pitt def NE 33-10, Pitt def Dal 20-13, Pitt def Balt 13-9. Pittsburgh has lost to two of the four NFC teams N.Y.G and Phil and have not defeated any remaining teams in the NFC.

Baltimore Ravens: The Ravens are a lot like the other two teams in that they play very good defense and like the Titans they run extremely well. They are in the top 3 in all four major defensive catagories. Third in points allowed at 15.2, second in yards at 261.1, second against the pass 179.7 and third against the run with 81.4 yards allowed per game.

The biggest number for the Ravens is the 34 turnovers six of which turned into points before the offense even took the field. They led the league in turnovers and a huge reason is Ed Reed he had nine ints and two tds alone which is simply amazing. In his last seven games including the playoff game Ed Reed has 10 ints.

The biggest thing going for the Ravens compared to the other three teams is thier consistency in the running game they rank fourth in rushing yards per game at just under 150 yds/gm. The downfall however is Joe Flacco and the pass game he has played solid and helped this team go 11-5 but everyone just has to wonder when will a team load up the box and make Flacco beat them much like the Cardinals did to Matt Ryan.

If and when that happens how will he respond that is the one HUGE question for the Ravens if he plays well then they could be unbeatable. Key Victories: Balt def Philly 36-7, Balt def Wash 24-10, Batl def Dal 33-24. Baltimore has defeated one remaining NFC team in Philly and also lost to one N.Y.G 30-10. They are 2-5 vs all playoff teams.

San Diego Chargers: This is a team that has possibly had the worst luck of any team in the league. Unlike the other teams this team has shown all year that thier defese is not very good. It ranks 31st in the league against the pass allowing 247 yds per game. The run defense has been barely above average coming in at 11th with 102.6 yds/gm and they allow 21 pts/gm.

The Chargers have played more close games this year than any team in the league and they have only lost one game by more than one score and it was a nine point loss to the Bills. In thier eight losses they have only lost by 34 total points thats 4.25 points per game but a loss is a loss. The main reason for the chargers defensive woes is the absence of Shawne Merriman and a consistant pass rush.

The offense is also unlike the other three teams the Chargers actually have a passing game. Philip Rivers Threw for over 4,000 yds and a league leading 34 tds and he also led the league in passer rating 105.5. They have four guys that have over five td receptions (Gates, Jackson, Chambers and Sproles) and Malcolm Floyd has four.

They spread the ball around on offense really well. Tomlinson also had 1110 rush yds and 11 Tds but he should not be a factor with his groin injury. The Chargers are a team that finished 8-8 but could have finished way better had refs made good calls and they they get a few good bounces your lookin at 10-6 maybe even better. Now with LT down they have to depend on a 5-6 180 lbs running back to carry the load.

This is the hottest team in the league and owners of the longest active win streak with five in a row. If Sproles can carry the load this team will continue to be VERY scary for anyone. Key Victories: SD def N.Y.J 48-29, SD def NE 30-10, SD def TB 41-24, SD def Indy 23-17. The Chargers have more key losses than they do victories with a one point loss to the Steelers, a three point loss to the Colts, a two point loss to the Panthers, and a one point loss to the Broncos. They did not defeat any playoff team on either side during the regular season.

I dont really know who will represent the best out of the four but with the three excellent defenses and the way the Chargers defense has played during the five game win streak any one of these teams could have a great shot at a super bowl.