There is a new top dog in the AFC as the playoff race took another crazy turn as we edge closer and closer to the postseason.
The Baltimore Ravens are the AFC’s new number one seed after a 16-10 victory over the Cleveland Browns on Sunday night. It was a far from convincing performance from the Ravens, who found a way to win despite four interceptions from Lamar Jackson.
The Ravens have not been playing their best football recently with a shock loss to Miami in Week 10 followed by two ugly wins over the Bears and now the Browns. But despite that Baltimore find themselves holding the top spot in the AFC heading into the back stretch of the regular season.
New England moved up to the number two seed in the playoff standings thanks to a huge 36-13 win over the Titans in Foxborough. The Patriots scored on nine of their 10 possessions against Tennessee, holding the Titans to just 85 yards passing and forcing four turnovers. The Patriots have now won six games in a row, a hot streak that has seen them soar up the playoff standings after they were a lacklustre 2-4 to start the season. New England are in first place in the AFC East, one game ahead of Buffalo.
A look at the AFC Playoff Picture following Week 12 has the Chiefs chasing the Ravens.
Meanwhile, the loss to the Patriots sees Tennessee drop from the number one seed in week 11 down to number three. The Titans have lost back-to-back games for the first time this season, but still hold a two-game lead over the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC South.
The Kansas City Chiefs had their bye in Week 12, but they still hold the AFC’s four seed thanks to some help from a division rival. With the Chiefs out of action, the LA Chargers would have overtaken them in the standings had they won in Week 12, but instead LA suffered a disappointing 28-13 loss at the hands of the Denver Broncos.
L.A.’s loss means the Chiefs remain in first place of the AFC West, heading into a crucial clash in Week 13. Kansas City will face Denver on Sunday Night Football, with the winner claiming top spot in the division.
Cincinnati maintains their hold of the AFC’s fifth seed after thy picked up their second impressive win in as many weeks, toppling division rival Pittsburgh in dominating fashion. The Bengals were up 31-3 against the Steelers at half time, before eventually winning 41-10. After two rough losses to the Jets and Browns in Weeks 8 and 9, the Bengals have bounced back and are just one game behind Baltimore in the AFC North, and would have moved into first place had the Browns managed to beat the Ravens.
Buffalo bounced back from a Week 11 thrashing by Indianapolis with a huge win of their own, demolishing the New Orleans Saints 31-6 on Thanksgiving night. The result means Buffalo now holds the number six seed in the AFC, up one spot from last week. The Bills will have a chance to climb further up the standings and reclaim top spot in the AFC East this weekend when they take on New England in Buffalo.
L.A. holds the seven seed and last spot in the AFC playoff race just ahead of the Las Vegas Raiders and Denver, moving down one spot from last week. L.A. could have moved into first place in the AFC West last weekend, but instead their loss to Denver leaves them narrowly clinging onto a playoff spot. The Chargers, Raiders and Denver are all 6-5, with the Bolts ahead thanks to their higher division win percentage.
The Raiders jumped back into the playoff mix after a surprising 36-33 overtime win against the Dallas Cowboys on Thanksgiving, while Denver’s win over LA also saw them move up in the playoff race. The Colts, Steelers and Browns all dropped in the playoff standings after they each lost in Week 12, but still remain in the hunt for postseason action.
Playoff seeds after Week 12:
- Baltimore Ravens (8-3)
- New England Patriots (8-4)
- Tennessee Titans (8-4)
- Kansas City Chiefs (7-4)
- Cincinnati Bengals (7-4)
- Buffalo Bills (7-4)
- Los Angeles Chargers (6-5)
Fringe playoff contenders:
- Las Vegas Raiders (6-5)
- Denver Broncos (6-5)
- Indianapolis Colts (6-6)
- Pittsburgh Steelers (5-5-1)
- Cleveland Browns (6-6)