Experts: Playoff picks, sleepers

The Super Bowl is the ultimate goal, but first teams have to take care of business in the regular season. Three of Insider's NFL experts -- Bill Polian, Herm Edwards and Mel Kiper -- provided their picks and analysis for division and wild-card winners in 2012, plus a few sleeper teams that could surprise by Week 17.


AFC East

Bill Polian: New England Patriots
Brandon Lloyd will make an elite passing attack even more deadly. A manageable schedule makes them the easy favorites in the East. Only injuries could make this pick miss.

Herm Edwards: Patriots
The Bills are improved from last season, but the Patriots are the class of this division. With an upgraded defense and a high-powered offense, they should take the AFC East again.

Mel Kiper: Patriots
The Patriots were a team that aggressively targeted weaknesses in the draft, particularly the pass rush. The offense can be as good as ever.

AFC North

Polian: Baltimore Ravens
A rough schedule won't leave a lot of margin for error, but I see the Ravens snagging the crown ahead of the Bengals. Joe Flacco will make a name for himself this season, and they won't miss Terrell Suggs nearly as much as you would think.