AFC Playoff Race



Who would be in

No. 1 seed: Patriots (12-3). The AFC East champions clinched at least a first-round bye and no lower than a second seed by coming back to the beat the Jets on Sunday. They need to either defeat the Bills next week or see the Broncos lose once to lock up the top seed. What’s left: vs. BUF

No. 2 seed: Broncos (11-3). The AFC West champions will clinch at least their bye and this seed with a win or a tie over the Bengals on Monday night, thanks to the Colts’ loss on Sunday. For No. 1, they must win out and hope the Patriots are upset in Week 17. What’s left: at CIN, vs. OAK

No. 3 seed: Bengals (9-4-1). They need to beat the Broncos on Monday night to hold both the North lead, this seed and improve their chances for at least a wild card going into Week 17. A loss on Monday night in Week 16 means they would need to beat the Steelers to win the division or risk falling out of the playoffs with a combination of wins by the Ravens and Chargers. What’s left: vs. DEN, at PIT

No. 4 seed: Colts (10-5). The AFC South champions were injury-riddled and uninterested in the lopsided loss to the Cowboys on Sunday. A first-round bye is out of reach, and now they’ll just try to hold off the North champion to jump back into No. 3. They are just behind the Bengals for now, and lose a head-to-head tiebreaker to the Steelers. What’s left: at TEN

No. 5 seed: Steelers (10-5). They clinched at least a wild-card spot with their win over the Chiefs on Sunday. They will win the North by beating the Bengals at home in Week 17, and with it will come the No. 3, as they beat the Colts earlier in the season. What’s left: vs. CIN

No. 6 seed: Chargers (9-6). They control the second wild card thanks to their big comeback win over the 49ers on Saturday and the Ravens’ loss to the Texans on Sunday. It’s simple now: The Chargers are in with win over the Chiefs in Week 17. A loss, and they’re eliminated. What’s left: at KC

Who’s right behind: Ravens (9-6), Texans (8-7), Chiefs (8-7). The Ravens can no longer win the AFC North. For the wild card, they need to beat the Browns in Week 17, and then need to hope for either the Chargers to lose one or the Bengals to lose two.

The Texans, who just beat the Ravens, would need to beat the Jaguars and hope that both the Ravens and Chargers lose so they can get in. The Chiefs need to beat the Chargers and hope both the Ravens and Texans lose.

Who’s out: Dolphins (8-7), Bills (8-7), Browns (7-8), Jets (3-12), Jaguars (3-12), Raiders (3-12), Titans (2-13). The Dolphins were eliminated when the Steelers won; the Bills were knocked out by their loss to the Raiders. Once again, the AFC East has one playoff team.


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