AFC playoff picture, Week 15: Chiefs holding firm


The AFC playoff picture is ever-changing except in one spot, the fifth slot. Almost all of the other seedings change on a weekly basis, but the Kansas City Chiefs are holding down the top AFC wild card spot for a third consecutive week.

Here’s how the playoff standings in the AFC look right now:

1. New England Patriots (11-2)*
2. Cincinnati Bengals (10-3)
3. Denver Broncos (10-3)
4. Indianapolis Colts (6-7)
5. Kansas City Chiefs (8-5)
6. New York Jets (8-5)
7. Pittsburgh Steelers (8-5)
8. Oakland Raiders (6-7)
9. Houston Texans (6-7)
10. Buffalo Bills (6-7)
11. Miami Dolphins (5-7)
12. Jacksonville Jaguars (5-8)
13. Baltimore Ravens (4-9)
14. San Diego Chargers (3-10)
15. Tennessee Titans (3-10)
16. Cleveland Browns (3-10)

At this point, we can all but eliminate the teams from the seventh spot down. The Raiders have put forth a terrific season for them, but they would need to win out and get all kinds of help. The same can be said for the Bills and Dolphins, who have just lost too many games to have a real chance.

In the AFC West, it is important to note that Denver lost to Oakland. What does this mean? Well, it means if the Chiefs win out and Denver loses two of its final three games (at Pittsburgh, vs. Cincinnati, vs. San Diego), Kansas City wins the tiebreaker due to divisional record and thus, the division.

Meanwhile, the broken right thumb of Andy Dalton changed everything for the Bengals. Cincinnati only needs to beat the Ravens at home in Week 17 to clinch its division, but that’s beyond the point. The Bengals have no shot of going to the Super Bowl or likely even winning a playoff game with A.J. McCarron at the helm. Should Dalton be out for the season as some reports have him, Cincinnati would be sunk.

Here are the major matchups for the AFC in Week 15:

  • Kansas City at Baltimore
  • Denver at Pittsburgh
  • Houston at Indianapolis
  • Cincinnati at San Francisco
  • Tennessee at New England
  • Dallas at New York (Sat.)