A Look At The NFL Playoff Race: AFC Edition

I think we’ve come to the point in the NFL season that we can start discussing playoff positioning, right? So today, we’ll go division by division and separate the contenders from pretenders. You ready? Let’s do it.

AFC South

Indianapolis Colts (13-0) – Contender! See, this is easy. Obviously, these guys will be in the playoffs. They’ve already clinched the AFC South, home field advantage, and a first round bye. Going 13-0 will do that for you.

Jacksonville Jacksonville (7-6) – Pretender! Full disclosure: I was born and raised in Jacksonville, Florida and I can easily see that this team aint making the playoffs. You don’t have my attachment, so it should be even easier for you.

For the Jags to actually have a chance to make it in, they need to win at least 2 out of their last 3. You hate to say it will never happen, but it will never happen.

Their final 3 opponents:

  • Indianapolis – Who will play everyone who is healthy 
  • @New England – Belichick aint losing to the Jaguars
  • @Cleveland – A win! Maybe.

Valiant effort, Jacksonville. But no cigar for you.

Tennessee Titans (6-7) – Pretender! A great feel good story though. The Titans just dug themselves in too big of a hole. Even if they win out, which they won’t (Miami, San Diego, @Seattle), 9-7 probably won’t be good enough.

Houston Texans (6-7) – PRE-TEN-DER! You figure it out.

AFC North

Cincinnati Bengals (9-4) – Contender! By default, really. They are beginning to look really shaky. But since they’ve already handled Pittsburgh and Baltimore, they’ll win the division. They’ll probably win their last 2 out of 3 (@San Diego, Kansas City, @N.Y. Jets) and have a 1st round home game.

Baltimore Ravens (7-6) – Contender! It’s simple. The Ravens will win their final 3 games (Chicago, @Pittsburgh, @Oakland) and others won’t. Nothing else matters.

Pittsburgh Steelers (6-7) – Pretender! Yep, the defending champs are pretenders. They need to win out (Green Bay, Baltimore, @Miami) to even have a chance. They won’t. They just have too many issues and too many injuries.

AFC West

San Diego Chargers (10-3) – Contender! They’ll win the AFC West and get a first round bye, as usual. They just have to find a way to finally get to a Super Bowl.

Denver Broncos (8-5) – Contender! Starting the season 6-0 really set this team up for a playoff spot. Though they’ve only won 2 games since, they’re final three games (Oakland, @Philadelphia, Kansas City) set up nicely. They’ll win 2 out of 3 at the least.

AFC East

New England Patriots (8-5) – Contender! I could ramble on about Belichick, Brady, and whoever else that comes to mind about the Pats, but there is no need. Their last 3 opponents are Buffalo, Jacksonville, and Houston. Yep, they’re in.

Miami Dolphins (7-6) – Pretender! They keep fighting. But they’re gonna come up short. Things could get dicey with Baltimore if they run the table (@Tennessee, Houston, Pittsburgh), but luckily they won’t.

New York Jets (7-6) – Pretender! They’ll lose their last 3 (Atlanta, @Indianapolis, Cincinnati). That should temper those playoff dreams.

Buffalo Bills – Don’t laugh. They’re still mathematically alive. In this case though, mathematically alive = dead.

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