The debate about who the best team in the AFC is has become even murkier after a wild Sunday in Week 11 that saw the playoff race take another dramatic turn, with the AFC’s top two seeds suffering surprising losses.
Top-seeded Tennessee and No. 2 seed Buffalo both had shocking defeats at home, with the Titans losing to the 2-8 Houston Texans by a score of 22-13 and the Bills getting blown out at home by the Indianapolis Colts by a final of 41-15. Tennessee (8-3) remains as the one seed for now, but it was their second embarrassing defeat of the season after they also lost to the New York Jets back in Week 4.
Buffalo’s loss to Indianapolis had a huge impact on their playoff position, with the Bills (6-4) now dropping behind the New England Patriots (7-4) in the AFC East and falling to the number seven seed overall. The first-placed Patriots have flown under the radar this season, but their five-game winning streak now sees them sitting as the third seed.
The Baltimore Ravens (7-3) moved up to the number two seed after narrowly escaping Chicago with a win thanks to some late-game heroics from backup QB Tyler Huntley. It looked like another upset was on the cards when the Bears scored a go-ahead touchdown with 1:41 in the fourth quarter, but Huntley was spectacular as he led the Ravens down the field on a five play, 72-yard drive to score the game-winning touchdown.
Here’s a look at the AFC playoff picture after Week 11
Kansas City’s crucial win over the Dallas Cowboys keeps them atop the AFC West – at least for now – with the Chiefs holding the four seed in the AFC. Just a few weeks ago it seemed as if the number one seed was out of reach for the Chiefs, but four-straight wins coupled with losses by the teams around them – the Bills and Titans on Sunday and by the Ravens and Chargers in Week 10 – means Kansas City are well and truly in the hunt for the AFC’s top spot.
But while the Chiefs are back in contention in the conference, their spot atop the AFC West is under threat. Their division rivals, the Los Angeles Chargers (6-4), survived a late scare against the Pittsburgh Steelers (5-4-1), blowing a 14-point fourth quarter lead before eventually winning 41-37 thanks to a late touchdown. The Chargers are currently the AFC’s six seed, but they currently hold the tiebreaker over the Chiefs, who themselves have a bye in Week 12. L.A.’s win over Pittsburgh means that if they beat the Denver Broncos (5-5) next week, they will move above K.C. and into first place in the division.
Elsewhere, Cincinnati (6-4) moved back into a playoff spot as the number five seed after a win over Las Vegas (5-5). The Bengals dropped out of the playoff positions last week after a blowout loss to Cleveland (6-5) but bounced back this week by beating the Raiders 32-13 and are just one game behind the Ravens in the AFC North.
The Steelers, Colts and Browns are on the outside of the playoff picture looking in, holding the 8, 9, and 10 seeds, respectively. Las Vegas and Denver still have some hope of making the playoffs and are on the outside in positions 11 and 12.
Playoff seeds after Week 11:
- Tennessee Titans (8-3)
- Baltimore Bills (7-3)
- New England Patriots (7-4)
- Kansas City Chiefs (7-4)
- Cincinnati Bengals (6-4)
- L.A. Chargers (6-4)
- Buffalo Bills (6-4)
Fringe playoff contenders:
- Pittsburgh Steelers (5-4-1)
- Indianapolis Colts (6-5)
- Cleveland Browns (6-5)
- Las Vegas Raiders (5-5)
- Denver Broncos (5-5)