Here are the three things you need to know about the AFC playoff race: The Patriots are in. Five good teams are vying for four other playoff spots. And someone has to win the AFC South.
This is the way the playoff race shapes up through Week 13:
1. Patriots (11-2): New England has clinched a playoff berth and has the inside track for home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs.
2. Bengals (10-3): For now Cincinnati has the tiebreaker over Denver, but that will be decided when the teams meet in Week 16.
3. Broncos (10-3): If Denver wins out it gets a first-round bye.
4. Colts (6-7): Someone has to win the AFC South, and right now that “someone” looks like the Colts — potentially with third-stringer Charlie Whitehurst at quarterback.
5. Chiefs (8-5): Kansas City owns the conference record tiebreaker over the Jets and Steelers
6. Jets (8-5): New York currently owns the AFC record tiebreaker over Pittsburgh.
OUTSIDE LOOKING IN
7. Steelers (8-5): If Pittsburgh wins out it’s in the playoffs, even if the Jets and Chiefs win out, too.
AFC SOUTH CONTENDERS
Texans (6-7): Houston can move into first place with a win in Indianapolis on Sunday.
Jaguars (5-8): Jacksonville is a long shot, but if the Jaguars can get to 8-8, that may be enough to win their terrible division.