Ryan: 'Nobody in AFC is worth being afraid of'

Ryan: 'Nobody in AFC is worth being afraid of'
December 28, 2013, 6:30 am
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With one week left to go in the NFL regular season, a number of potential playoff scenarios are still in play. 

The Patriots are fighting for a first round bye and still have an outside chance at the 1-seed and home field advantage throughout the playoffs. 

Bob Ryan and Paul Perillo join the Uno Sports Tonight crew to consider a number of playoff scenarios:

What if the Patriots don't get a first round bye?

"It's not the preferred scenario," says Ryan. "Of course you want the bye. Of course if they don't get a bye it's going to be a precarious road. It's going to be a precarious road for any team to try to get through, but it's been done. And nobody is fearsome, nobody is epic, nobody in the AFC is worth being afraid of."

What if the Patriots have to go to Denver?

"I think playing in Denver would throw a different dynamic into it," says Perillo. "[Tom Brady] won the two here in Foxboro, [Peyton Manning] won the one in Indianapolis. This would be the fourth one and I think the edge would have to go to Denver."

The report on Manning has always been that he excels in the regular season but struggles in the playoffs (save for his Super Bowl XLI win in February 2007). The latest example of that was last year when the Ravens stunned the Broncos in Denver. 

If the Patriots and Broncos do meet up, the pressure would seem to rest on Manning and the Broncos to buck their labels as postseason choke artists.

"The Patriots are almost playing with house money at that point," says Perillo.

What if the Patriots play the Bengals?

Both Perillo and Ryan are weary of the Bengals, a team that has already taken down the Patriots. 

"It's the team I probably don't want to see more than anyone else," says Ryan.

Although Cincy doesn't have the recent playoff pedigree of other franchises, they do have a number of playmakers and a potent aerial attack that could give the Patriots trouble. 

Which teams would you most like to see the Patriots play?