The current AFC playoff picture

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With 15 weeks down and only two to go, let’s take a look at where things stands for the teams in, trying to get in, and trying to secure the best possible spot in the AFC playoff tree.

This isn’t completely and totally comprehensive with every possible permutation, but it’s close. Next week, we’ll outline every remaining scenario.

Ravens (12-2): The AFC North champions can clinch the No. 1 seed in the AFC with a single win (at Browns, vs. Steelers) or with one loss by both the Chiefs and the Patriots.

Patriots (11-3): They’ve clinched a playoff berth, and the Patriots would clinch the AFC East for the eleventh straight year with a win (vs. Bills, vs. Dolphins), or with a Week 17 loss by the Bills to the Jets. With two wins or one win and one Chiefs loss, the Patriots would clinch a bye. With two wins and two Ravens losses, the Patriots would secure the No. 1 seed.

Chiefs (10-4): The AFC West Champions can secure the No. 2 seed with two wins and a Patriots loss, with one win and two Patriots losses and a Buffalo loss to the Jets, and one Houston loss. The Chiefs will win the No. 1 seed with two wins and two Ravens losses, plus at least one loss by the Patriots.

Texans (9-5): They’ll clinch the AFC South with a win at the Buccaneers on Saturday, or with a Titans loss on Sunday to the Saints and a Colts loss to the Saints or on Sunday vs. the Panthers. If the Texans lose to the Bucs and the Titans beat the Saints, the Week 17 rematch between Houston and Tennessee would become the AFC South championship.

Bills (10-4): They’ve clinched a playoff berth. They’ll win the AFC East by winning their last two games (at Patriots, vs. Jets), and if the Patriots lose in Week 17 against the Dolphins. The No. 2 seed is also possible.

Steelers (8-6): The Steelers clinch a wild-card berth with wins in the final two weeks of the season, at the Jets and at the Ravens.

Titans (8-6): They win the AFC South by beating the Saints on Sunday and the Texans in Week 17, if the Texans also lose to the Buccaneers on Saturday. A wild-card berth hinges on winning twice and seeing the Steelers lose at least once.

Colts (6-7): They’ll be eliminated with a loss to the Saints on Monday night. Beating the Saints would give the Colts a chance at the No. 6 seed. (We’ll figure out the permutations if they beat the Saints tonight in New Orleans.)

The Browns and Raiders still are mathematically alive, but their chances are currently too remote to map it all out now. If they’re still alive next week, we’ll tell you how they can get in.

UPDATE 11:14 p.m. ET: The Colts are out.

33 responses to “The current AFC playoff picture

  1. Bill’s have care of business vs the cheaters..err I mean the Patriots this week (and then the Jets) and hope that their good buddy can throw some Fitzmagic at the Pat’s next week!!!

  2. I know that most here have already crowned the Ravens as Champions of the AFC. Most here also have Lamar Jackson in the Hall Of Fame.

    I however, still see the Pats or the Chiefs winning the AFC. The Chiefs defense is underrated and Patrick Mahomes is the better QB if you want to have that Jackson vs. Mahomes debate. I also take Andy Reid and Bill Belichick over John Harbaugh all day every day and twice in a playoff game.

  3. The Patriots cheap shot on Allen in the 3rd quarter of their first meeting put him out of the game and stopped the surging Bills. Payback comes Saturday in Gillette at 4:30 pm…..

  4. Anyone that would take Andy Reid over Harbaugh & Belichick in a playoff game isn’t paying attention.

  5. “Anyone that would take Andy Reid over Harbaugh and Belichick in a playoff game isn’t paying attention”

    =====

    I said I would take Andy Reid AND Bill Belichick over John Harbaugh in a playoff game.

    Keep trying though little one.👌

  6. freefromwhatyouare says:
    December 16, 2019 at 5:47 pm
    I know that most here have already crowned the Ravens as Champions of the AFC. Most here also have Lamar Jackson in the Hall Of Fame.

    I however, still see the Pats or the Chiefs winning the AFC. The Chiefs defense is underrated and Patrick Mahomes is the better QB if you want to have that Jackson vs. Mahomes debate. I also take Andy Reid and Bill Belichick over John Harbaugh all day every day and twice in a playoff game.

    -Reid over John Harbaugh in a playoff game? Good luck with that bro.

  7. Josh Allen, like Lamar Jackson, will declare himself as a runner and be subject to the same hard tackling everyone else is. They use the rules protecting QB’s against defenses to take advantage of them. I hate that kind of football. If either of them steps forward with the ball I hope they get smacked like the rest of the players and the Ref’s stay out of it.

  8. Josh Allen, like Lamar Jackson, will declare himself as a runner and be subject to the same hard tackling everyone else is. They use the rules protecting QB’s against defenses to take advantage of them. I hate that kind of football. If either of them steps forward with the ball I hope they get smacked like the rest of the players and the Ref’s stay out of it.

    The same goes for Mahommes.

  9. “Anyone that would take Andy Reid over Harbaugh and Belichick in a playoff game isn’t paying attention”

    =====

    I said I would take Andy Reid AND Bill Belichick over John Harbaugh in a playoff game.

    Keep trying though little one.

    =====

    Career Post season records:
    Belichick 31–11 (.738) + 6 Sb
    Harbaugh 10–6 (.625) + 1 SB
    Reid 12–14 (.462) + 0 SB

    Pay closer attention, little one.

  10. Beyond having the #1 seed locked up, the Ravens appear to be in the driver’s seat even further. Assuming the Pats stay the 2 seed, and the Chiefs stay at 3, KC would go to NE for the divisional round after beating the 6 seed at home. That means the Ravens would get Buffalo or Houston in the divisional round. I respect Buffalo’s defense, but I can’t see Josh Allen winning in Baltimore and I have no confidence in the Texans. In that scenario, the Ravens would not have to face the Chiefs until the AFC Championship. For the Pats, it would be better if the Chiefs fall to the four seed and Houston is the 3 seed. Then, assuming both win in the Wild Card round, Houston would go to Foxboro and the Chiefs would go to Baltimore. I could see the Chiefs being able to score enough against the Ravens to pull the upset. Then, the Chiefs would have to go to Foxboro (assuming NE beats Houston). I think the strength of the Pats’ defense matches up better against KC than it does Baltimore. The NE defense would still have to be lights out for 60 minutes against KC. I’d never count out the Pats, but it’s really hard to see how they can correct their offensive woes at this stage. If they lose to Buffalo Saturday and fall to the 3 seed, it becomes almost impossible for them, IMHO. In any event, as much as I dislike Whinebaugh and the Ravens, it’s hard to see them not getting to the Super Bowl. If they do, a 49ers rematch would be fun to watch.

  11. Andy Reid and Belichick are better coaches than John Harbaugh.

    I stand by my statement that I want them on the sideline in this years playoffs over John Harbaugh.

  12. Stand by your statement all you want. The fact remains that Reid is suspect at best in the playoffs and Harbaugh has won much more often, and many times on the road with lesser talent.

  13. ThinSkinFlorio says:
    December 16, 2019 at 6:02 pm

    Even if the Pats lose to Buffalo, they are still the number two seed. They really only have to beat Miami in the final game to assure it.

    _____________

    They win the division in this scenario, but they don’t keep the 2 seed unless KC loses to the Bears or Chargers. They need to win out to keep the 2 seed if KC also wins out.

  14. Titans don’t need to win twice for a Wild Card berth. We only need to beat the Texans and have the Steelers lose 1 one. LOL

  15. To you kiddies arguing over Belichick, Harbaugh and Reid, you can’t have 2 head coaches. Pick one and shut up.

  16. No matter what else happens Buffalo will be road kill in the playoffs. They are just filler to round out the schedule.

  17. ThinSkinFlorio says:

    December 16, 2019 at 6:02 pm

    Even if the Pats lose to Buffalo, they are still the number two seed. They really only have to beat Miami in the final game to assure it.
    ________________________________________________________
    Incorrect – If the Patriots lose to the Bills and the Chiefs win out. They both have the same record with the Chiefs having the head to head win. The Patriots would fall to possibly a wild card if the Bills win out.

  18. Not only will the Pats not be AFC champs if Buffalo can do their thing with some Fitzmagic thrown in, that could potentially put NE at the 6 seed, traveling to Houston KC, or Buffalo.

  19. Titans would make the playoffs by losing their last 2 games if Pittsburgh also loses their last 2 games. It would go to strength of opponent tiebreaker if that happens and titans win that by a lot

    It’s unlikely but I think it’s more likely than the titans winning their last 2 and Texas loses to the bucs

  20. Brady throws the ball away any time he sees pressure. Pats dynasty is over they will get smoked by BAL or KC. Brady also sits down when he pees

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