The Chargers’ comeback win over the Chiefs on Thursday night created a tie atop the AFC West.
The bad news for the Chargers is, the Chiefs still own the tiebreaker, and only have to win out to clinch home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs. That would require the Chargers to win on the road three times in January to make it to the Super Bowl.
So the Chargers will be trying to win out, and hoping the Chiefs lose at least one of their last two games. Here’s how the AFC playoff race looks after Thursday night.
1. Chiefs (11-3): Win the tiebreaker with the Chargers based on better AFC West record.
2. Patriots (9-4): They’re still heavy favorites in the AFC East heading into Sunday’s big game in Pittsburgh.
3. Texans (9-4): Could clinch the AFC South as soon as this week, if they win and the Colts and Titans lose.
4. Steelers (7-5-1): A big game at home against the Patriots looms.
5. Chargers (11-3): Tied in the AFC West, but they need to win out while the Chiefs lose or tie one of their last two games.
6. Ravens (7-6): They remain the top wild card team, and have a good chance of catching the Steelers in the division. The Ravens own the tiebreaker over Miami based on common games, and over Indianapolis based on AFC games.
OUTSIDE LOOKING IN
7. Colts (7-6): Win the head-to-head tiebreaker over Miami and Tennessee.
8. Dolphins (7-6): Playoff hopes are still alive.
9. Titans (7-6): Tiebreaker scenarios aren’t great for Tennessee.
10. Broncos (6-7): Their playoff hopes are slim.
11. Browns (5-7-1): It may be too little too late, but give Cleveland credit for getting things in the right direction.
12. Bengals (5-8): Marvin Lewis can do no better than .500 this season.
13. Bills (4-9): After making the playoffs last year, they’re not even close this year.
14. Jaguars (4-9): From the AFC Championship Game to out of contention.
15. Jets (4-9): Todd Bowles’ guys are still playing hard, even though they won’t save his job.
16. Raiders (3-10): Still playing hard, but long out of playoff contention.