Who’s In and Who’s Out: AFC Playoffs

The 2017 NFL season saw the NFC loaded with talent as opposed to the AFC who saw the Buffalo Bills sneak into the playoffs. This season, however, the AFC and NFC both seem to be on equal playing ground. Unfiltered Access discussed who is playoff bound in the NFC, but what about the AFC?

New England Patriots

Current Record: 9-3

Projected Finish: 13-3 (1st seed)

The Patriots are a game back on the Kansas City Chiefs but also have the head to head victory which ends up being the tiebreaker as far as seeding is concerned. However, it’s fairly clear that these two teams are the top dogs in the AFC and the only one that could compete is the Houston Texans if they continue their hot streak. However, the Patriots have the head to head advantage against them as well. Everything has been set up perfectly for the Patriots 9th straight first round bye.

 

Kansas City Chiefs

Current Record: 10-2

Projected Finish: 13-3 (2nd seed)

After the Kareem Hunt fiasco, it’s easy to see the Chiefs blow one game in their schedule they likely would have had like the one against the Los Angeles Chargers. Not meaning they’re better, just meaning that those kinds of things can sometimes derail a team a bit. The Chiefs played a close game against the 2-9 Oakland Raiders this past Sunday so it’s not entirely out of the question that they could lose a tough divisional game a couple weeks down the road. Other than that, they should seemingly have no issues locking up the 2nd seed.

Houston Texans

Current Record: 9-3

Projected Finish: 12-4 (3rd seed)

The Texans have been an impressive team this season, starting 0-3 and currently in the midst of a nine-game win streak. This coming week they get an Indianapolis Colts also riding on a hot streak being at 6-6 after starting 1-5. If the Texans lose any other game for the rest of the season, it would likely be this one and they’d find themselves firmly in possession of the highest wild-card position.

Pittsburgh Steelers

Current Record: 7-4-1

Projected Finish: 9-6-1 (4th seed)

The AFC North is the East of the AFC. There’s no clear winner but the Steelers are in a position to win it by a hair because of their tie. The Steelers sit at 7-4-1 while their rivals, the Baltimore Ravens are at 7-5. Both have tough schedules coming up with the Steelers playing against the Patriots and Saints while the Ravens get the Chiefs and Chargers. The outcome of who wins the North will be decided by whether or not either team can pull out a win in those difficult contests.

Los Angeles Chargers

Current Record: 9-3

Projected Finish: 13-3 (5th seed)

The AFC has a hazy wild-card race but the Chargers have almost assured a spot. The only reason they’re a wild card team is that they’re in a division with the Chiefs. They have three games left against teams over .500. They could, in theory, lose at least two of those games and finish 11-5 and still find themselves with the 5th seed.

Indianapolis Colts

Current Record: 6-6

Projected Finish: 10-6 (6th seed)

The 6th seed in the AFC is a really tight race. The Ravens are in the best spot to get it but if the Colts win out which is extremely plausible as long as they can beat an incredibly hot Texans team, they’ll snag the spot. However, it also requires the Tennessee Titans and Denver Broncos to drop a game and the Ravens to drop two but it seems like a very likely scenario for the Colts to sneak in.

On the Outside

Baltimore Ravens 

Current Record: 7-5

Projected Finish: 9-7 

The Ravens could finish the season 2-2 and as long as the Titans, Broncos, and Colts finish worse or tied with the Ravens, the spot will belong to them seeing as the Ravens have tiebreakers over all three. The Ravens play two teams over .500 so all they need to do is win the two games assuming the Titans, Broncos, and Colts all drop one of their remaining games and they’ll land a playoff berth.

Denver Broncos

Current Record: 6-6

Projected Finish: 9-7

The Broncos started the season looking like a really solid team but then they started to fall apart. Case Keenum is too hot and cold to hold the team together and they have one of the easiest schedules of any team left in the NFL but if they don’t win that Week 17 matchup against the Chargers which they don’t seem well equipped to do, they’ll find themselves barely missing the playoffs.

Tennessee Titans

Current Record: 6-6

Projected Finish: 9-7

The Titans, since starting 3-1 have lost 5 games and now find themselves at .500 and fighting for that coveted sixth seed. They may find themselves in the same situation as the Ravens and Broncos, falling just one game short because they can’t win their final game.

Miami Dolphins

Current Record: 6-6

Projected Finish: 8-8

The Dolphins are a weird team this year. It doesn’t even feel like they deserve to be 6-6 this year at this point and they play two strong teams in the next two weeks in the Patriots and Minnesota Vikings in which they’ll be exposed and essentially knocked out of the race.

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