AFC playoff picture: Patriots remain in control

AP

The Patriots’ win in San Diego on Sunday night puts them in prime position: If the Patriots win their last three games, then the road to the Super Bowl in the AFC goes through New England.

But it’s not like the Patriots are a lock: If they slip up once and the Broncos win out, the Patriots would drop down to the No. 2 seed. What seems clear is that the Patriots and Broncos will be the two teams getting first-round byes in the AFC. The only way that won’t happen is if both the Patriots and the Broncos drop two of their last three.

Here’s how the playoff race looks through Week 14:

1. New England Patriots (10-3) Would have home-field advantage if the playoffs started today.

2. Denver Broncos (10-3) Denver loses the head-to-head tiebreaker with New England.

3. Indianapolis Colts (9-4) Indianapolis clinches the AFC South if it beats Houston on Sunday.

4. Cincinnati Bengals (8-4-1) The Bengals’ lead in the AFC North is now just half a game.

5. Pittsburgh Steelers (8-5) The Steelers will win the division if they win out, and Cincinnati visits Pittsburgh in Week 17. The Steelers currently have the tiebreaker over the Ravens (division record) and Chargers (conference record).

6. San Diego Chargers (8-5) The Chargers beat the Ravens and own the head-to-head tiebreaker.

Outside looking in:

7. Baltimore Ravens (8-5) If the Ravens win out they’re guaranteed to leapfrog the Week 17 Bengals-Steelers loser, and make the playoffs.

8. Houston Texans (7-6) The Texans are first among the AFC’s five 7-6 teams thanks to the Texans’ 6-3 conference record.

9. Miami Dolphins (7-6) The Dolphins are 6-4 in the conference.

10. Kansas City Chiefs (7-6) The Chiefs are 5-4 in the conference.

11. Buffalo Bills (7-6) The Bills’ 4-6 conference record could sink them.

12. Cleveland Browns (7-6) The Browns are also 4-6 in the AFC and lost head-to-head to the Bills.

73 responses to “AFC playoff picture: Patriots remain in control

  1. Dolphins and Bills at home should be wins for the Pats. As weird as it is to say, I think the only chance of them dropping a game is in New Jersey in 2 weeks…

  2. For all the talk of the NFC South division winner translating to at least 1 team finishing with at least 10 wins in the conference and being eliminated from the playoffs (and very possibly more than 1), I’m surprised there isn’t that much talk of a very similar outcome in the AFC.

  3. That Patriots defense is legit. Chandler coming back sooner than anyone thought, plus Hightower wasn’t playing. That tells you the depth of this defense, it’s becoming scary! You know the offense isn’t going to have bad outings like that all the time. Woooo! Teams better pray the road to the super bowl isn’t through Foxboro

  4. I think the Patriots have the best team in the AFC. The Broncos are good but they just don’t seem to be playing as well as they did last year and I think the Colts have some serious issues. Believe it or not I think if the Steelers win out they could be a very dangerous team come playoff time.

  5. southpaw2k is right. We are almost sure to end up with a 10-6 team in the AFC North that misses the playoffs unless San Diego goes completely into the tank.

  6. southpaw2k says:
    Dec 8, 2014 8:45 AM
    For all the talk of the NFC South division winner translating to at least 1 team finishing with at least 10 wins in the conference and being eliminated from the playoffs (and very possibly more than 1), I’m surprised there isn’t that much talk of a very similar outcome in the AFC.

    ******************************************

    It’s because they won’t be eliminated by a sub 500 team…

  7. The Patriots last three : Miami, @ NYJ and Buffalo will not be easy. In their previous meetings, they lost to Miami convincingly, escaped the Jets on a last second FG block, and won a tractor pull with the Bills..

    Divisional games seldom go as planned.
    .
    .

  8. As long as my Chargers keep getting out coached, everybody else has a shot at the wildcard spot.

  9. The Ravens “should” win out, but even if they drop one – they should leapfrog the Chargers who have a brutal schedule ahead.

  10. No chance a 10 win team misses the playoffs in the AFC. 7+ teams in the AFC with 10 wins? Not happening. At least 1 team gets in with 9 wins after tiebreakers.

  11. And I thought brady played poorly… And yet his stats say otherwise. Imagine, if you can play poorly, put up good stats and win, that’s a hall of fame QB by definition!

  12. I expect the Pats to win out against the Fins, Jets, and Bills but anything can happen. With the way Peyton has slowed a little bit, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Broncos lost one of their last three games.

    The Pats offense feels like it has slowed down a bit, staggered maybe. Tom needs to play better. His accuracy is questionable. The defense is playing well. Once the offense can return to scoring 40+, especially on neutral or home field, no team in the NFL, including Green Bay, can stop them.

  13. As a Patriots fan, I truly feel they are the most complete team in the NFL. Like look at the roster from top to bottom, it’s deep as ever! We don’t even have Ridley and Mayo, and it’s still a deep, deep team. It’s been far too long since I’ve seen this team have a dominant defence, and they’ve proved that they certainly do now.

    However, I must say that #1 seed in the AFC is so crucial if they plan to book their trip to Arizona. If they slip up, and Denver gets the #1 seed, I see the Broncos as a team that can matchup with the Patriots no problem, especially in Denver.

    Also, really hoping the Ravens don’t make it in. As good as the Patriots have been this year, I’ve seen far too many close games against them that I can handle, and I feel that due to history, they have the swag and confidence to walk into Foxborough to top us. I know they aren’t the same ol’ Ravens, but still, any Patriots fan should be wary of them.

  14. You’d think with all the rocket scientists like Logical who claim the Pats are cheating examining every last thing they do under a microscope, that they might actually, you know, find cheating if it was actually taking place.

    Instead all they can do is lamely claim the Pats are cheating while its clear the Pats are just a great team.

    SMH

  15. There are some fans of some teams that are so illogical in their thought process that they would embrace the dysfunction of one team, (for example the Washington football club), and disparage another( Patriots) solely because they win and win and win and win some more.

  16. Given their decade+ of playoff futility, the Patriots and bengals should just give up their playoff spots for a while.

  17. “Given their decade+ of playoff futility, the Patriots and bengals should just give up their playoff spots for a while.”

    ————————–

    Wow. Putting the Pats in the same boat as the Bengals. In the past decade the Pats were the only team to go 18-0. They also had two last minute SB losses: what history will record as very exciting games for NFL fans. In other seasons, they were not exactly one-and-done either, making it to the AFCCGs.

    But you know this already. You don’t believe your own press. Right?

  18. These Sypgate comments are a joke. Spygate was the most bogus sports non-scandal in the history of sports. EVERY team was ‘videotaping’ because it was LEGAL. The Pats went 17-0 after the bogus Spygate and would have won the Super Bowl if not for a lucky, fluke catch. I’m sure if they were videotaping, David Tyree would never have made that catch and the Pats would have won. What a joke.

  19. Dude….so lame a statement. Since spy gate, they went on to win 17 straight games that year.. (no one beat them in the regular season, so strange no one could beat them) and then lose the super bowl in the last 3 minutes by 3 points…then by 4 points 4 years later. Yeah I see your point…the cheating was their reason they won and now that we can’t cheat we can’t win….lame….if you watched the games you cannot in good conscience say that the inability to film the game and therefore win the game was the reason they loss.
    A helmet catch…and a dropped pass… 2 plays that enabled the other team to win….not the lack of a camera filming …If you know anything about football you know that to be true…
    And name me another team that has been to the superbowl in the last 14 years as much as the Patriots have?? You have to win in the regular season to get there…losing in the big game sucks, but the other team won fair and square…nothing about filming can change that except in your little mind.
    The Patriots have the best win loss record in football SINCE SPYGATE…..explain that

  20. Must be nice to have Miami Buffalo and NYJ to beat every year for a free 6 wins.

    ———————————————————————–

    As opposed to jacksonville, tennesse, and houston? How many top 5 picks have those teams taken in the last ten years? That division is so bad for so long even Matt Shaub looked like a legit starter until he was forced to play a division winner schedule and folded like a chair.

  21. $500,000 fine
    loss of draft pick

    Pretty steep for something apparently everyone was doing.

  22. Name me another dynasty in the SB-era that didn’t crumble into irrelevance.

    The line between winning 3 last minute SBs by 3 points and losong 2 last minute SBs by 3-4 points is fairly thin, last I checked. But if I had to explain this huge drop-off, I’d say it was turnover of the defense. They were aging even during the 2007 season and then they were turned over the next season. Ty Law. Tedy Bruschi. Willie McGinest. Terrell Buckley. Roman Pfifer. Ted Johnson. Mike Vrabel. Richard Seymour. Jarvis Green. Asante Samuel. All gone.

    Also last I checked Spygate was about the taping of defensive signals, which would have benefited Tom Brady’s O. He wasn’t the 4 quarter powerhouse QB until 2007. Before then the Patriits were about his timely 4th quarter drives and the defense.

    Sorry, but you asked for it. Now I support the Washington nickname and logo, but if you want to know why the Skins have not been a good team for a long time, lack of continuity and culture are the culprits. Not videotaping of some club not in your conference.

  23. Ah yes, disparaging the AFC East competition. For you to make that comment you better not to be a fan of:

    (a) Green Bay
    (b) Indianapolis
    (c) any team that lost to Miami, New York, or Buffalo in recent history.

  24. “$500,000 fine
    loss of draft pick
    ———————————-

    New Sheriff in town (Goodell). Goodell’s predecessor would have turned a blind eye and had turned a blind eye to everything, which explains a league where teams resort to all sorts of rule bending to gain imagined competitive advantages. I’ll spare you the list for now.

  25. “The Patriots arent making the superbowl this year. They’ll crack like they normally do.”

    ————————

    Maybe. But not if they face the Steelers. They usually trounce those guys.

  26. Patriots marching towards Lombardi # 4. Don’t you wish you were a fan of the “Endless Dynasty?”

  27. Mike Brown will trade his entire roster to the Redskins for a bevy of 1st round picks if the Texans somehow claim a wildcard spot and proceed to bump the Bengals from the playoffs for the 3rd time in 4 years.

  28. It warms my heart when I see Brady sitting on his butt in the middle of the field after having been dumped by the defense barking the F word over and over again… Such a class act.. He makes Cutler look like a grown up…

  29. SD needs to win two out of their final three to get in with a wicked Week 17 game at KC which, in all likelihood, would be a ‘win or go home’ game.

    BAL should win out and leapfrog CIN as AFCN winner when CIN loses to DEN at home. PIT may sneak in there as well, knocking CIN out of the playoffs with a ‘do or die’ game in Week 17. Before that, they must win at ATL or they’re done.

  30. dirtyferret says:
    Dec 8, 2014 11:35 AM
    As opposed to jacksonville, tennesse, and houston? How many top 5 picks have those teams taken in the last ten years? That division is so bad for so long even Matt Shaub looked like a legit starter until he was forced to play a division winner schedule and folded like a chair.
    —————————————————
    They played that same schedule and went 12-4 the previous year. They may not have won the Super Bowl but they were still a playoff winner.

  31. restorativejusticeprogram says:Dec 8, 2014 9:44 AM

    Andrew Luck is the best player in football. If they improve the team around him the Colts could win multiple superbowls in a row. This year, however, they will not.
    **********************************************

    Andrew Luck, the turn over machine? You must be kidding!!! Have you ever heard of the player “Aaron Rodgers” in Green Bay? Right NOW (Not the 07 Brady), I would rather have him over my Tommy Boy. He’s the reason, my Pats lost to GB last week.

  32. I enjoy “Spygate” whiners . they prove the Pats are still a feared team.

    Inevitably the franchise will falter though, like even the seemingly immortal 49er dynasty did.
    When that day comes I’ll miss being a top dog and it will be sad seeing the bitter crybaby loser type fans whining about whoever the new top teams are. (I just hope there aren’t petulant pat fans among them)

  33. pats know how critical it is to win out. If they play in Denver they will lose. If it’s in New England they will win, I’m almost positive. New England and Denver are too evenly matched to the point where home field may be that deciding factor

  34. Do you think LaGarrette Blount wants to see Pittsburgh in Foxborough in January?

    Yup.

    Be careful what you ask for. I think the last time the Pats played Pitt or Balt, they delivered epic beat-downs.

  35. Great to be a Pats fan. The twelve seasons in a row with at least 10 wins is nice. The 5 AFC championship in the 2000’s is sweet. The 3 superbowl titles is awesome. But the best part? Definitely watching all the hater’s little minds explode waiting for the domination to end! Keep it up haters! You make being a Pats fan more fun than anything else!

  36. Whats it been a decade since the Patriots won a Superbowl? Think you fans of a team so long removed from a Superbowl victory, would close your mouths. Lets slow it waaaay down before your heart gets broken again. Smh.. You would think with all the heart break in the playoffs they endured this generation they would be humble.. Well guess that’s why everybody likes it when they fall flat on their face in the playoffs & when Brady is cursing at himself. The country smiles.

  37. Aaron Rogers is the best QB out there. Only the Patriots fans are thrilled with their performance for the last 12 seasons. Do you honestly think anyone else cares one bit about them, because the answer is “no”. Seeing Brady sitting on the ground swearing at everyone, is the best picture of the whole lot. Be careful what you wish for Patriot fans, you haven’t won anything this year yet!!!

  38. Totally, a team that averages 12 wins a yr for more than a decade, missed the playoffs once in 15 yrs, been to 5 SBs, Won 3, lost 2 by a combined 7 pts and has been 3 straight AFCC games is Sooo hard root for

    My heart is literally broken…

  39. lost 2 SB’s by a combined 7 points. 3 straight AAFC games, a 18-1 season in there to & no championships for it. This decade.. When in your heart you Pats fans thought it was in the bag. Lol, heart was ripped out the chest you Pats fans are beating now! Recent history proves chances are high that will happen.

  40. Stealer fans are still bitter after being TEBOWED! What did Tom and the pats do to The Tebow led broncos the week after? Yinzer’s are scared of the Patriots, and I don’t blame yinz.

  41. tedmurph, do you even look at the records before you make wild claims, there are 3 8-5 teams and 6 7-6 teams. Not totally sure how the schedules line up but there an definitely be 3-4 10 win teams going for 2 wild card spots.

  42. Btw, what is the transition plan for Manning? When he goes down like he did in Indy or retires, are the Donks going to go 1-15 like the Colts?

    Meanwhile, the Pats are developing their future while winning now.

    When BB retires, well, that will be a challenge. Long live BB!

  43. 3 SB wins with the aid of cheating. None since being caught. Modern-day Buf Bills.

    I’ll move on now to a team that’s been relevant.

  44. Ravens should rack up the Jaguars and Browns at home but their remaining tough game will be the Texans at the Texans stadium. Regardless what the offense is doing, anytime you have JJ Watt, whom I dislike very much, on the other side then that is a player you need to double team regardless if he is playing on the defensive line, defensive secondary, offensive backfield, tight end or Wide receiver. The guy has incredible talent and if he was just as smart as he is a talented football player, he probably would come up with a cure for world hunger. Watt may be the best all around player in football since Sanders and Jackson.

  45. Brady is mediocre lately. He needs to improve his game. It takes him forever to find his groove. He needs to see that our defeat against the Packers is what would happen if this keeps up. He can’t always look to the defense to eke out a win. He’s not capitalizing on those opportunities given him by the defense. I love Brady and I would loathe to see him reach the SB and then lose yet again. It’s heartbreaking more so for him than the fans. Somebody ought to tell him he stinks.

  46. I remember the same stories last year. In the closing weeks a defense will pressure him and he’ll fold. Again. They squeaked some wins against mediocre teams and lost big to teams they should’ve trounced. Happy feet will ensure a one and done for super Tom.

  47. denverscott says:
    Dec 8, 2014 4:33 PM

    I remember the same stories last year. In the closing weeks a defense will pressure him and he’ll fold. Again. They squeaked some wins against mediocre teams and lost big to teams they should’ve trounced. Happy feet will ensure a one and done for super forehead.
    ______________________
    There, fixed it for you.

  48. Of course I looked at the records. I also looked at the remaining schedules.I think the Steelers and Ravens get to 10 wins. Along with Pats, Broncos and Colts that makes five 10 win teams. Any 7-6 team would have to run the table to get to 10. Houston, the best of them, has @Colts, Ravens, Jags. Don’t see a sweep for them. Cincy has @Browns, Broncos, @ Steelers. See 2 wins there? I don’t. Chargers have Denver, @ 49ers, @ Chiefs. See 2 wins there? Sorry. A lot of these teams play each other still. Five 10 win teams, tops. We’ll see.

  49. “Also, really hoping the Ravens don’t make it in. As good as the Patriots have been this year, I’ve seen far too many close games against them that I can handle, and I feel that due to history, they have the swag and confidence to walk into Foxborough to top us. I know they aren’t the same ol’ Ravens, but still, any Patriots fan should be wary of them.” Lol I knew that was in the back of the mind of all you patriots fans. At least somebody can speak the truth. Because truth is your exact right , if anybody can go into foxborough and beat Brady and bellechek it’s Baltimore. They know each other well, would be a hell of a game regardless of the outcome and that’s a guarentee.

  50. Bolts need to win 2 out of their last 3 to get in. I expect them to come out with their hair on fire this weekend against Denver, they’ll treat this like a must win game and we’ll see what they got. If the Chargers don’t make the playoffs there will be quite a few missed opportunities that’ll sting until next season. Go Chargers! Beat the Donkeys!

  51. Why ppl hate the patriots so much? be a good sportmanship How can a team cheat on the game? Give recognition to the players that its getting hurt to give us a great game every single week.. #patsnation #everygameisspecial #allteamaregreat #nextyearyallmakeit #yagoingreallyhardonus #donthatetheplayersortheteamshatethegame #enoughsaid

  52. Steelers and Ravens are legit. I like them right behind New England. Peyton just looks weird right now and the Colts don’t have the defense. And Cincy is soft.

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