AFC playoff picture, Week 14: Where are KC Chiefs after Broncos win?
In Week 14, the Buffalo Bills played host to division rival New York Jets, the Cincinnati Bengals as the Cleveland Browns come to town, the Baltimore Ravens played the Steelers in Pittsburgh, the Kansas City Chiefs played their arch-rival Denver Broncos on the road, and the Los Angeles Chargers and Miami Dolphins squared off in Southern California. The Las Vegas Raiders, Houston Texans, and New England Patriots all went on the road to play NFC teams. The Indianapolis Colts had their bye in Week 14.
Here is what the AFC Standings look like after Week 14:
Before the start of Week 14, the Kansas City Chiefs were the favorites to come out of the AFC and advance to Super Bowl LVII. FiveThirtyEight (QB Adjusted) had the Bills as the team with the best chance to win the Super Bowl out of all teams in the AFC, with an 18% chance to win it all before Week 14. After Buffalo, the Kansas City Chiefs were at 17%; the Cincinnati Bengals were at 6%; the Baltimore Ravens and Tennessee Titans were at 3%, and the Miami Dolphins at 2%.
The Las Vegas Raiders choked against Baker Mayfield and the dreadful Los Angeles Rams on Thursday Night Football. The Jacksonville Jaguars crushed the Tennessee Titans behind their four takeaways. The Buffalo Bills beat the New York Jets in a must-win divisional game for both sides. The Cincinnati Bengals and Joe Burrow have finally beaten the Cleveland Browns for the first time since 2019. The Baltimore Ravens, led by Tyler Huntley, defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers on the road. The Kansas City Chiefs squeaked by the Denver Broncos, despite three interceptions by Patrick Mahomes. The Houston Texans gave the Cowboys a fight but couldn’t quite pull off the upset in Arlington. Justin Herbert and the Los Angeles beat Tua Tagvailoa and the Miami Dolphins on Sunday Night Football. The New England Patriots beat the Arizona Cardinals on Monday Night Football after Kyler Murray left with a significant injury.
Whatever hope the Raiders had before TNF is now officially gone after their embarrassing choke in Los Angeles. The Jaguars may have shown what their future may look like on Sunday, while the Titans may have done the same. The Jets’ dream of a divisional title was crushed and the Bills are now beginning to get hot. The Bengals are now officially in the AFC’s top tier alongside the Bills and Chiefs, while the Browns are now looking ahead to 2023. The Ravens got a much-needed win without Lamar Jackson, and the Steelers’ playoff chances are now very close to zero. The Chiefs won, but their turnover issues have not gone away and the Broncos still couldn’t win after a (relatively) strong performance on offense. The Texans may be looking at their fourth head coach in four seasons in 2023. The Chargers may have found their formula on defense or the Dolphins may have been figured out on offense. After Kyler Murray left the game, it’s difficult to tell whether the Patriots are legitimate or not, but they very likely are not.
After Week 14, seven teams in the AFC have a losing record and nine teams have a winning record. According to FiveThirtyEight, the Buffalo Bills are the team with the best chance to win the Super Bowl in the AFC with an 18% chance to win it all. After Buffalo, the Kansas City Chiefs are at 17%, the Cincinnati Bengals are at 7%, and the Baltimore Ravens are at 5%.
In the race for the #1 seed in the AFC, per FiveThirtyEight, the Bills still have the best chance to finish atop the conference in the regular season standings at 46%, with the Chiefs second at 42%. After Kansas City/Buffalo, the following teams are the Bengals and Ravens at 9% and 2%, respectively.
The AFC playoffs will be very interesting come January. The race is far from over, but it feels like the Chiefs, Bills, and Bengals have separated themselves from the other teams, although the Ravens and Dolphins could be a problem. If Kansas City wants to play in a third Super Bowl in four seasons, they have to clean up the turnovers, or else they’ll get embarrassed, even if they’re at home.