AFC Playoff Picture Gets Clearer Sunday

Raiders try to hold off Chiefs for 2 Seed

AFC Playoff Picture

AFC Playoff Picture v 1.0

With one month remaining in the regular season, the AFC playoff picture became much clearer Sunday. It’s a 2 team race for homefield throughout the playoffs, as both Oakland and New England staged late 4th quarter comeback wins.

1. Patriots (9-2 Overall, 7-1 Conference)

Just how big was Tom Brady’s late touchdown pass to Malcolm Mitchell?

If the Patriots end up locking up homefield and the 1 seed, they can look back and thank their friends the Jets for giving them the edge needed to potentially host the AFC title game.

Remaining Schedule:
12/4 – Rams
12/12 – Ravens
12/18 – at Broncos
12/24 – Jets
1/1 – at Dolphins

New England has two more tough games on the schedule. They head to Denver on what could be the Sunday night tilt that week against a Broncos team who will likely need every win they can get to stay in the wild card. The last week of the season they head to Miami, in a game where the starters would normally get rest, however the Raiders may keep the pressure on Bill Belechek to keep Brady & company in. Miami will also need this game to likely stay in the postseason hunt.

Projected Final Record: 13-3, 10-2 Conference

2. Raiders (9-2 Overall, 6-1 Conference)

Oakland fans saw the best and worst of their team on display Sunday against the Carolina Panthers. The Raiders jumped out to a commanding 24-7 lead, before Cam Newton carved up the secondary, connecting at will to Greg Olsen and anyone else who could get open. They then saw MVP candidate Derek Carr bring his team back with a signature drive down the field, leading to the game winning field goal.

Michael Crabtree talks about his quarterback

The Raiders road down the stretch is a bit tougher than New England’s on paper, with games all against teams still alive for the postseason.

Remaining Schedule:

12/4 – Bills
12/8 – at Chiefs
12/18 – at Chargers
12/24 – Colts
1/1 – at Broncos

We project Oakland will stub their toe and lose 3 of their final 5 games, including 2 in their division.

Projected Final Record: (11-5 Overall, 8-4 Conference)

3. Ravens – (6-5 Overall)

Baltimore can’t beat anyone outside the AFC North. Their 4-0 division mark is the difference right now over the Steelers, and with only 2 games remaining against North foes, they should be able to hold on to this spot and keep the Steelers out.

Remaining Schedule:

12/4 – Dolphins
12/12 – at Patriots
12/18 – Eagles
12/25 – at Steelers
1/1 – at Bengals

Projected Final Record: (9-7 Overall)

4. Texans – (6-5 Overall)

Houston is lucky they play in the weakest division in football. Their up and down play would bury them pretty much anywhere else. Their final five games aren’t a walk in the park, starting with a road trip to Lambaugh to play the Packers. Will 8-8 be enough to win the division and sneak in?

Remaining Schedule:

12/4 – at Packers
12/11 – at Colts
12/18 – Jaguars
12/24 – Bengals
1/1 – at Titans

Projected Final Record: (8-8 Overall)

5. Kansas City Chiefs – (8-3 Overall)

The playoffs began early for the Chiefs, who mounted a huge comback win in overtime Sunday night in Denver. Kansas City now is only one game behind of the Raiders, but more importantly they improved to 3-0 in the division. Denver is 1-3 and will need some help to get in.

Remaining Schedule:

12/4 – at Falcons
12/8 – Raiders
12/18 – Titans
12/25 – Broncos
1/1 – at Chargers

Projected Final Record: (11-5)

6. Miami Dolphins – (7-4 Overall)

The hottest team in the AFC secures the final playoff spot for now. The Dolphins have won six in a row, and hold a tiebreaker over the Broncos due to conference record (5-3 to 4-3). Miami’s final three games are against division foes, which will be the reason they make or miss the postseason.

Remaining Schedule:

12/4 – at Ravens
12/11 – Cardinals
12/17 – at Jets
12/24 – at Bills
1/1 – Patriots

Projected Final Record: (9-7 Overall)

In the hunt: Broncos (7-4 Overall), Bills (6-5 Overall)

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