AFC playoff picture: Chiefs and Patriots have the lead

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As we head into Week 10 of the NFL season, we’re taking our first look at the playoff picture, and the top two teams have separated themselves from the pack.

The Chiefs are the top team in the conference, but the Patriots are only a game behind and have the head-to-head tiebreaker. The Chiefs also have the Chargers to contend with in the AFC West, so Kansas City can’t get complacent.

Here’s how the race looks before Week 10:

LEADERS
1. Kansas City (8-1): Owns a one-game lead in the conference and a 1.5-game lead in the division.

2. New England (7-2): The Patriots appear destined to get their usual bye week.

3. Pittsburgh (5-2-1): After a sluggish start, the Steelers now control the AFC North.

4. Houston (6-3): The Texans are threatening to run away with the AFC South.

5. L.A. Chargers (6-2): They’d be a dangerous wild card.

6. Cincinnati (5-3): Marvin Lewis is on pace to save his job by getting the Bengals back to the playoffs.

OUTSIDE LOOKING IN
7. Miami (5-4): They won’t catch the Patriots, but the Dolphins are very much alive in wild card contention.

8. Tennessee (4-4): : The Titans won a playoff game last season and fired Mike Mularkey anyway. Will they even get to the playoffs with Mike Vrabel?

9. Baltimore (4-5): John Harbaugh may need a winning streak and a playoff berth to save his job.

10. Jacksonville (3-5): The Jaguars currently own the tiebreaker over the Colts, based on having a better record in common games.

11. Indianapolis (3-5): The Colts look like they could go on a run over the second half of the season, but will it be enough to catch the Texans?

12. N.Y. Jets (3-6): The Jets have the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Broncos.

13. Denver (3-6): Two straight losing seasons could cost Vance Joseph his job.

14. Cleveland (2-6-1): The Browns are a little better. They need to get a lot better.

15. Buffalo (2-7): They keep losing no matter which of their three quarterbacks play.

16. Oakland (1-7): Jon Gruden won’t be making the playoffs in his first year back in Oakland.

50 responses to “AFC playoff picture: Chiefs and Patriots have the lead

  1. 6. Cincinnati (5-3): Marvin Lewis is on pace to save his job by getting the Bengals back to the playoffs.
    ——————————

    You guys just never have good news for long suffering Bengals fans.

  2. I am not sold on the Chiefs as a serious contender to win the AFC and get to the Super-Bowl due to their defense. KC has a very weak defense that teams will exploit in January when the post-season rolls around. KC needs to beef up their defense this off-season, signing Earl Thomas to pair up with Eric Berry would be huge & a great start & they need to draft a couple edge rushers and maybe sign one in free agency. If KC could somehow build a defense that on AVG only gave up 19-20 points per game and was a very solid above average defense they would be big time Super-Bowl contenders next year.

  3. The Chargers have only faced 2 teams with a winning record this year and have lost both times. Maybe the love affair for Chargers should actually be with the people who make the schedule

  4. Wow… who knew when the league was striving for parity they would ultimately achieve their goal but it would be because so many teams are mediocre…. You take the Chiefs and the Patriots out and all the rest of the teams are interchangeable.

  5. The Steelers have won more games than the rest of the AFCN and will likely win the division, but they aren’t in control of anything, least of all themselves.

  6. Pats need to win out….. that poor performance against the Lions earlier may really come back to haunt them for homefield……Chiefs still got Rams & Chargers as only real threats left……
    Go Pats!!!!!

  7. I would bet on the Pats to be at the top at season’s end. Just don’t see the Chiefs running the table. AFC South is still wide open despite the Texan’s lead, even though the Texans have home field against all of their division rivals.

  8. At this point we need to change the Super Bowl to 2 NFC Teams if we want a game. The Patriots have the usual cakewalk as the only 2 teams with a winning record they played were in Foxboro (funny how that works?). The Texans are a fluke in a bad division and while KC has a dynamic Offense, their Defense gives up almost as many points, but enough to win. The Rams and Saints are clearly the best teams in the league and it ain’t close.

  9. laxcoach37 says:
    November 8, 2018 at 9:21 am
    At this point we need to change the Super Bowl to 2 NFC Teams if we want a game.
    ———————————
    Uhhh…Chiefs/Pats was every bit as entertaining as Rams/Saints so your point is moot.

  10. I agree with laxcoach37 that Chiefs/Pats was every bit as entertaining as Rams/Saint – even if I do believe the NFC (at the top) is the stronger conference. But…I also say there is a lot of football left. Pats have something like the 29th most difficult schedule so yeah should make it and get that bye. But they barely beat the Chiefs and have beat up on some dogs. Chiefs defense is improving and that offense is explosive. Not counting out a resurgent Steelers team either. Houston or Chargers either.

    Still think the teams to beat are the Rams or the Saints. And I don’t really think it is even that close. Talib comes back and I think Rams D comes back. And Saints are just playing lights out.

    That said…it’s what…week 10? Let’s see what happens.

  11. NE fans can’t understand how the Chiefs control such a commanding lead over the AFC while Mahomes’ cell phone is still in one piece. Free hint to Patriots fans: qualities such as integrity and honesty are boss.

  12. laxcoach37 says:
    November 8, 2018 at 9:21 am

    The Patriots have the usual cakewalk as the only 2 teams with a winning record they played were in Foxboro (funny how that works?).
    —————————

    The Bears are 5-3 and the Patriots beat them in Chicago. They’ve also played 3 teams with a winning record in Foxboro: KC, MIA and HOU.

  13. laxcoach37 says:
    November 8, 2018 at 9:21 am
    At this point we need to change the Super Bowl to 2 NFC Teams if we want a game. The Patriots have the usual cakewalk as the only 2 teams with a winning record they played were in Foxboro (funny how that works?). blah blah
    —————————————-

    Ahh the schedule argument, there’s not a weaker one to make and you still had to lie to make it (funny how that works?). New England has played 4 teams that currently sport winning records and handed the NFC North leading Bears their only home loss.

  14. bannedfromchoirpractice says:
    November 8, 2018 at 9:41 am
    NE fans can’t understand how the Chiefs control such a commanding lead over the AFC…
    ———————–

    One game with the Pats owning the head to head tiebreaker is far from commanding chip

  15. My Ravens are in trouble. We play the Bengals next week, in a MUST WIN game. Then we need to win 4 of the last 7 to even have a pipe dream of making the playoffs. AND…we’ll need help from other teams. This si what Harbaugh/Ozzy and Co. have turned this franchise into.

  16. Also worth noting that with one more win, Tom Brady will ensure his team has their 18th straight season without a losing record.

  17. Jon Griffen career coaching achievements:

    1. Took over a talented Tampa Bay team and was carried to a super bowl in 2002 (Then went 45-51 for a winning percentage of 46.8% over the next 6 seasons).
    2. ???

  18. New England fans can’t understand how anyone thinks upgrading to an iPhone & destroying the old one , (especially since the owner is a celebrity & married to a super model) isn’t common practice!
    Besides , Wells already told Tom he didn’t need the phone, and he wasn’t entitled to it per the CBA!
    What difference does any of this make any way? science has already proven there was no tampering , it’s funny how someone can’t understand cold-weather causes footballs to lose pressure !!

  19. laxcoach37 says:
    November 8, 2018 at 9:21 am
    At this point we need to change the Super Bowl to 2 NFC Teams if we want a game.

    So the fact the NE beat an NFC team in SB49, 51 and dammed near took 52, lest we forget how close it was in the 4th qtr, with 9:44 to play NE was in the lead.

    The NFC is a fake tough guy. Lots of bluster in his own yard, not so much outside the fence.

  20. How have the Dolphins won 5 games…? Everyone blames Gase and says he’s on the hot seat but I think he may actually be the reason that were in the position we’re in at 5-4. Every news outlet I saw had us winning like 4 games total for the year and being one of the worst teams in football before the season started. Now we’re in the playoff hunt and everyone wants to jump off a bridge.

  21. patriotmaleorgy says:
    November 8, 2018 at 11:16 am
    Belichick should of been kicked out the league the first time he was caught cheating. And Brady would had been soon after.

    —-

    Hahaha….

    Two things: 1.), someone has clearly suffered GREATLY at the Patriots hand whereby they’d feel the need to create that screen name to communicate. We feel your pain.

    And 2.), No. because that’s foolish.

    Sorry.

  22. laxcoach37 says:
    November 8, 2018 at 9:21 am
    At this point we need to change the Super Bowl to 2 NFC Teams if we want a game. The Patriots have the usual cakewalk as the only 2 teams with a winning record they played were in Foxboro (funny how that works?). The Texans are a fluke in a bad division and while KC has a dynamic Offense, their Defense gives up almost as many points, but enough to win. The Rams and Saints are clearly the best teams in the league and it ain’t close.

    =========================================================================================

    As it stands right now, New England has beaten 3 current division leads. Houston and Kansas City from the AFC and Chicago from the NFC North.

  23. TruFBFan says:
    November 8, 2018 at 9:39 am
    I agree with laxcoach37 that Chiefs/Pats was every bit as entertaining as Rams/Saint – even if I do believe the NFC (at the top) is the stronger conference. But…I also say there is a lot of football left. Pats have something like the 29th most difficult schedule so yeah should make it and get that bye. But they barely beat the Chiefs and have beat up on some dogs. Chiefs defense is improving and that offense is explosive. Not counting out a resurgent Steelers team either. Houston or Chargers either.

    Still think the teams to beat are the Rams or the Saints. And I don’t really think it is even that close. Talib comes back and I think Rams D comes back. And Saints are just playing lights out.

    That said…it’s what…week 10? Let’s see what happens.

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

    The Saints barely beat the Browns, played the giants, lost to Tampa Bay, beat a schizo Washington team that is being exposed, barely beat the Falcons, barely beat the Ravens….c’mon…. but you have to play the games on your schedule.

    The Rams beat the Raiders, barely beat the Broncos, beat up on the Cardinals and 49ers…barely beat Green Bay (one of the dogs the Patriots beat up on right?)…the Rams should have lost two in a row and could have lost to Seattle.

    It’s true San Diego’s schedule hasn’t been killer but they appear to be on the upswing and if you’ve watched those big receivers and their running game, you can see how they would be a very tough out in a one game winner take all scenario. Beating Seattle in Seattle is no easy chore. Unfortunately, the Chargers have lost 9 straight to KC and their second game this season will be in KC so I don’t see them winning that division, or knocking KC off in a wild card game. But they will be tough for other teams.

    I think when the season started, the NFC looked a lot better at the top, but that is changing. I think the Pat’s, KC, and possibly Pittsburgh can play with any team in the NFC. I think Carolina will have something to say in the NFC and may determine the path to the Super Bowl, but their schedule is brutal. The visit Pittsburgh this weekend, host Seattle two weeks later, then close the season vs Saints, vs Falcons, @Saints. That three week stretch will likely decide that division, and if Carolina can beat Pittsburgh and Seattle, will decide whether the Saints, Rams, or Carolina get bye’s and home field in the playoffs.

    The Patriots are on their annual improvement schedule. Not perfect but getting better and better. The trend is up. The same goes for the Saints. The Chiefs are dynamic, but we’ve seen this before with high flying offenses and less than average defenses. The Rams are looking vulnerable. The Steelers and Panthers are quiet sleepers, but this weekends game will be telling. Not sure the Vikings, Bears, Texans, Bengals, or Chargers can go all the way….The Redskins are not reliable….and then there are the .500 teams like Seattle, Atlanta, Tennessee and Philly that all seem to have issues, though Tennessee and Seattle both have good defenses and good running games, and could potentially do some damage in a playoff game if they made it, depending on the opponent. If Carolina doesn’t edge out the Saints, I think it will be a Saints vs Pats or KC in the Super Bowl, but don’t discount the NFL’s desire to have LA in the Super Bowl to capture that fragmented TV market. Pat’s vs LA would likely get the highest ratings.

    By the way, you keep harping on the Patriots strength of schedule, but 8 of the 16 games on their schedule are currently .500 or better, and another, Green Bay, is sub .500 because they just lost to the Patriots. 5 of their games are vs division leaders, and a sixth was against a division leader when they played. Where do you get your stats? 29th ranked strength of schedule? Fake News!!!

  24. Anyone paying attention the last few weeks realize that the Steelers > Chiefs > Pats
    _________________________________________________________________________________________________________

    Anyone paying attention the last 18 years knows there is no universe in which the Steelers > Pats. Brady is 11-2 against the Steelers all-time. The Steelers can not beat the Pats and usually end up getting embarrassed.

  25. ikeclanton says:
    November 8, 2018 at 8:16 am
    That Patriots/Steelers game could have huge implications.
    ——————————————————
    True, but if Tomlin rolls out the same old, tired game plan he has every other time they’ve met under his management, then this will be a foregone conclusion.

  26. blessedunliketherest says:
    November 8, 2018 at 12:30 pm
    Anyone paying attention the last few weeks realize that the Steelers > Chiefs > Pats

    Guess we’ll find out in a few weeks. NE has played Pit 14 times in the Brady Era and won a whopping 3 including 5 consecutive losses over the 5 games. Eventually they will stumble upon a W but you might want to cool your jets since NE has sent Pit teams better than this one home early and often.

  27. KC has yet to demonstrate that home field advantage helps them in the playoffs

    Playing the AFC Championship in Arrowhead against this years Chiefs would be undesirable. They kill you with noise in a close game.

  28. Someone pointed out that all of the teams the Chargers have beaten have losing records. It is unlikely that they will threaten the Chiefs for the division championship. I am counting on the Chiefs to beat Seattle this season. They better stay hot. LOL

  29. crownofthehelmet says:
    November 8, 2018 at 11:13 am

    Anyone paying attention the last few weeks realize that the Steelers > Chiefs > Pats.
    —————————————————————————————————————————————
    The Chiefs embarrassed the Steelers in Pitt, so it seems like you have no idea what you’re talking about.

  30. itsalwaysabout says:
    …since NE has sent Pit teams better than this one home early and often
    ————————————
    Brady has more SB losses than playoff wins against Ben.

  31. TheWizard says:
    November 8, 2018 at 12:48 pm
    KC has yet to demonstrate that home field advantage helps them in the playoffs

    Playing the AFC Championship in Arrowhead against this years Chiefs would be undesirable. They kill you with noise in a close game.
    ————————-
    Good teams aren’t bothered by noise and noise hasn’t helped the Chiefs much in the past.

  32. Seeing lots of “the Chiefs are going to flame out like they always do” in this thread. Newsflash to those who are spouting this stuff but clearly haven’t seen the 2018 Chiefs, this team is seriously different. They’re a contender. Dismiss them at your peril.

  33. We’ll see what happens in Mexico City against the Rams. I think the Chiefs would’ve handled NE we’re it not for a jittery first half by Mahomes.

  34. My Ravens’season ended on Sunday, they just won’t admit it. They needed both of those home games against the Steelers and the Bengals next weekend to be back in thick of things. If they looked that awful against a Steelers team they have owned 2 out of 3 times the last few seasons, they have no shot against a Bengals team that has owned them for years. If they lose next weekend, it’s time to get the young players across the board more playing time and see if Jackson can do anything under center besides the read option for their future’s sake.

  35. artvandelay222 says:
    November 8, 2018 at 1:03 pm
    Jacksonville has to be the biggest disappointment of the season so far.
    ————————————————–
    I’ll add the Ravens to the list

  36. crownofthehelmet says:
    November 8, 2018 at 5:20 pm
    itsalwaysabout says:
    …since NE has sent Pit teams better than this one home early and often
    ————————————
    Brady has more SB losses than playoff wins against Ben.

    —————-
    That Tom Brady sure goes to a lot of Super Bowls. He’s pretty good.

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