AFC playoff picture: Top teams getting separation from the pack

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It was a good week for the top teams in the AFC playoff race, which means it was a bad week for everyone giving chase.

With five winners among the six teams that were in playoff position heading into Week 13 (the only loss coming on Sunday night, when two playoff teams met in Pittsburgh), the top teams this week are the same as the top teams last week. And they’re getting more separation from the teams on the outside looking in.

Here’s how the race looks after Week 13:

LEADERS
1. Kansas City (10-2): The Chiefs appear to be marching toward home-field advantage.

2. New England (9-3): Owns the head-to-head tiebreaker over both Kansas City and Houston.

3. Houston (9-3): A three-game lead in the AFC South with four games to play.

4. Pittsburgh (7-4-1): Still leading the division, but a first-round playoff bye is probably unrealistic at this point.

5. L.A. Chargers (9-3): The overwhelming favorites in the wild card race, but can they catch the Chiefs in the AFC West?

6. Baltimore (7-5): Now 3-0 since Joe Flacco got hurt.

OUTSIDE LOOKING IN
7. Miami (6-6): Owns the AFC record tiebreaker over Indianapolis and Denver based on AFC record.

8. Indianapolis (6-6): Losing to the Jaguars was a big blow to their playoff hopes

9. Denver (6-6): They’ll probably have to win out to make the playoffs, but the way they’ve been playing lately, that’s entirely possible.

10. Tennessee (6-6): The tiebreaker scenarios aren’t kind to the Titans.

11. Cincinnati (5-7): With Andy Dalton out for the season, their playoff hopes have gone from slim to none.

12. Cleveland (4-7-1): They’re making progress, but not playoff contenders yet.

13. Buffalo (4-8): Certainly not a playoff team, but the Bills are playing better than most expected.

14. Jacksonville (4-8): Last year’s defense finally showed up again.

15. N.Y. Jets (3-9): Todd Bowles is coaching out the string now.

16. Oakland (2-10): Gruden’s guys are playing for the first pick in the draft.

20 responses to “AFC playoff picture: Top teams getting separation from the pack

  1. .
    There’s not a whole lot of difference between 1-6. KC is still the lead dog in the pack, but the other 5 are not far behind. It wouldn’t be difficult to envision a scenario where any one of the 6 emerged as the eventual AFC champ.
    .

  2. Steelers are falling faster than the stock market in 1929. They hold only a half game lead in the AFCN and they’re losing playmakers every week to injuries.

  3. If the Pats can take care of the Dolphins and the Steelers, it will be a “rest up” game against the Bills with some dinged up guys and a bye.

  4. phinfan says:
    December 3, 2018 at 7:10 am
    Dolphins had that Colts game…. ugh
    ———————-

    and the Bengals game.

    That’s the problem. Good teams don’t lose games like that.
    This team is mediocre.

    Not good enough to make the playoffs and not bad enough to get a top 5 pick.
    This is what we’ve been going through for it seems the last 20 years

  5. 3 tough games now for KC. BAL, LAC, @SEA. We will see how they fare against good teams without Hunt. Allowing OAK to score that many points wasn’t particularly good, but division games are hard to judge.

    If KC win all 3 then they certainly deserve the number 1 standing.

  6. ikeclanton says:
    December 3, 2018 at 9:17 am
    If the Pats can take care of the Dolphins and the Steelers, it will be a “rest up” game against the Bills with some dinged up guys and a bye.

    ————-

    Houston is right there with a decent remaining schedule and KC have 3 tough games. I don’t think the Patriots can take their foot off the gas at all through the end of the year. We are likely to be fighting for the 1 or 2 seed through week 16 at least and probably until the end.

  7. Flash1287 says:
    December 3, 2018 at 7:25 am
    The Patriots have beaten more teams with a winning record this season than any other team
    —-
    Vs Teams with winning record right now:
    Patriots 4-0
    Texans:2-1
    Chiefs: 2-2
    Chargers: 2-2
    Ravens: 1-2
    Steelers: 1-3

    Speaks for itself. 🙂

  8. GoodellMustGo says:

    December 3, 2018 at 11:03 am

    Flash1287 says:
    December 3, 2018 at 7:25 am
    The Patriots have beaten more teams with a winning record this season than any other team
    —-
    Vs Teams with winning record right now:
    Patriots 4-0
    Texans:2-1
    Chiefs: 2-2
    Chargers: 2-2
    Ravens: 1-2
    Steelers: 1-3

    Speaks for itself. 🙂
    ———————————-

    Pats lost against the Lions, Jags and titans.

    Speaks for itself. 😉

  9. guitarkevin says:
    December 3, 2018 at 11:31 am
    GoodellMustGo says:

    December 3, 2018 at 11:03 am

    Flash1287 says:
    December 3, 2018 at 7:25 am
    The Patriots have beaten more teams with a winning record this season than any other team
    —-
    Vs Teams with winning record right now:
    Patriots 4-0
    Texans:2-1
    Chiefs: 2-2
    Chargers: 2-2
    Ravens: 1-2
    Steelers: 1-3

    Speaks for itself. 🙂
    ———————————-

    Pats lost against the Lions, Jags and titans.

    Speaks for itself. 😉

    ————-

    What happened before set the Patriots up nicely, but doesn’t matter much going forward.
    Getting to 9-3 was critical to have a shot at a bye… 1st seed gives you in the 20-25% chance to win a Super Bowl and 2nd Seed 10-15% chance. Less than that the chances drop waaaay down because of the extra game and lack of home field. Got to get the bye.

    Now it’s all about how they play the rest of the way. They’ve struggled on the road this year and they have to go to Miami which is traditionally a problem and then to Pitt which is probably a coin flip. What they do in these next two games will likely decide the season.

  10. guitarkevin says:
    December 3, 2018 at 11:31 am

    Pats lost against the Lions, Jags and titans.

    Speaks for itself.
    ——————————–

    Yep and what it says is 9-3 with a habit of playing to the level of the competition. In the playoffs that usually works out reasonably well.

  11. As long as the Chiefs and Texans keep their foot on the gas, the Pats can’t afford to rest. Unless they are willing to lose the bye week and host a WC game.

  12. Chiefs, Patriots and then the rest.
    Steelers are a ‘weak #4’, I think. They might make the playoffs, but will probably end up needing help; which means they probably won’t get out the first round. Week to week or half to half you can’t figure them out. The’re either lights-out or unwatchable. Either way they’re staring down the barrell of 2 losses, at least, by way of the Saints and Patriots. Raiders and Bengals are winnable, but just saying ‘winnable’ gives me pause for concern. History says ‘winnable’ means ‘probably not’; it just depends on what switch they hit: the ‘lights-out’ or the ‘unwatchable’. oy.

  13. “7. Miami (6-6): Owns the AFC record tiebreaker over Indianapolis and Denver based on AFC record.”

    Incorrect.
    Indy has the tiebreaker over Miami.

  14. crush22 says:
    December 4, 2018 at 11:03 am

    Incorrect.
    Indy has the tiebreaker over Miami.
    ———————————————————————————–
    Wrong. Head to head Indy has it over Miami if those two have the same record, but that’s not true in a 3-way tie.

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