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WWY S18W22: 2017 AFC Playoff Teams
By Tim Miller
Special to gzl-football.com

GZL Where Were You?:: S18W22
Where did you go 2017 playoff teams?
Friday, June 19, 2015
Tim Miller, GZL Media Group

Where were you?


In this special edition of Where were you, we look back at the 2017 AFC playoff teams and what happened to them in 2018, with one of the 2017 teams playing for the 2018 Super Bowl, while another 1 ended up with the second worst record in the league.

AFC

We begin in the AFC where we had old stand bys, one new face, and one divisional champ falling from grace.

Tennessee Titans - We start at the top seeded team in the AFC, the Tennessee Titans. In 2017, the Titans went 14-2, earned the first round bye, but ended up losing by 3 to the eventual Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC Championship game. The Titans were back in 2018, winning the AFC South again. But they could only muster a 4th overall seed this time. They did defeat the Raiders in the first round of the 2018 playoffs, but they they had to travel to Miami and lost to the eventual AFC Champion Dolphins. The Titans are proving year in and year out that they will always be a contender and a frustrated AFC South hopes that GM Tim Nissen tinkers a little bit too much one year to let someone else win it.

Pittsburgh Steelers - The Steelers had the #2 overall seed in 2017, but overcame a tough road game at Tennessee to eventually win the AFC. They did not stop there as they defeated the Bears in the Super Bowl to become the 2017 Super Bowl Champs. In 2018, the Steelers managed to make it back into the playoffs, albeit this time as a wild card team. They drew a tough first round opponent in the Denver Broncos and lost. Steelers GM Travis Robbins will have his work cut out for him in 2019 with Roethesberger retiring and some of his older players having to be let go due to salary concerns.

Kansas City Chiefs - The 2017 Chiefs finally broke through the stranglehold in the AFC West and won the division on the last week of the season. Then they hosted the Cleveland Browns in the first round and came away with a resounding victory. But that old Chief killer, Ben Roethesberger was waiting in Pittsburgh in round 2 and the Chiefs would lose in overtime to the eventual Super Bowl champions. 2018 was a different story. The Chiefs seemingly could not handle their sudden success, tinkered with their lineup too much, and ended up going 2-13-1. To add insult to injury, the Chiefs had traded away their 2019 first round pick, so they got no benefit from the losing record. The Chiefs are looking everywhere for answers, but with a high dollar, low skill roster, it may be hard for them to get back to their winning ways.

Miami Dolphins - While the 2017 playoffs may have been short and sweet for the AFC East winning Dolphins, it apparently taught them how to win for the future. The 2017 Dolphins lost to Oakland on their home field by letting the Raiders score 18 unanswered second half points. The 2018 Dolphins apparently had that in the back of their minds as they moved up to the #2 seed, got a first round bye, and then defeated Tennessee and Denver to become the AFC Champions. While they would lose in the Super Bowl to the St Louis Rams, it was another step forward for the Harbinger driven Dolphins and their eventual quest for an elusive GZL Super Bowl ring. They are starting 2019 in excellent shape as they were the ones who ended up with the Chiefs first round draft pick so they have the second overall pick in 2019.

Oakland Raiders - In 2017 the Raiders took a step back so to speak... they were only a Wild Card team instead of the AFC West champ. Tough huh? They did fly cross country and knock out the Dolphins in the first round, but all that cross country flying caught up with them in the second round as they were defeated by the Titans. The Raiders were back in the playoffs again in 2018, again as a Wild Card team, again having to travel to Tennessee to play those pesky Titans. The Titans again were poor hosts and defeated the Raiders 24-17 ending the Raiders playoffs in the first round. The Raiders are at the top or near the top of the AFC West and the AFC every single season. Garth Pearce's "next man up" process really works because they just seem to shift from passing really well, to running really well, or vice versa when they need it. They will be back in 2019.

Cleveland Browns - The 2017 Browns squeaked into the playoffs on a 10-6 record. Their first round game was in KC where the Chiefs seemed to unload on them 41-14. 2018 was not terribly kind to the Browns as they went 4-12, switched GMs mid-season, and fell back to earth. In 2019, new Browns GM Paul Willis has a vested interest in the team and has successful in the past in Houston (of all places).

The 2018 newcomers

- Baltimore Ravens - The Ravens went from 6-10 in 2017 to the top overall seed in 2018. Due to some horrible luck, starting QB Joe Flacco went down in week 17 in a meaningless game against the Chiefs and their 11 game win streak came to an end in the playoffs against the Broncos.

- Denver Broncos - The 2017 Broncos finished at 8-8 but were stuck looking up at the Chiefs and Raiders. Broncos GM Wade Pearce figured some things out for 2018 and moved ahead of both teams to win the AFC West. The Broncos were 7 points away from being the AFC Champs and representing in the Super Bowl, but the Dolphins ultimately prevailed. Those Pearce boys seem to know Madden 08 inside and out, so there is no doubt the Broncos will be back in 2019.

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