AFC playoff picture: Patriots lead, AFC West a tight race
The playoff race in the AFC is wide open, but a familiar face is on top.
As has so often been the case during the Bill Belichick-Tom Brady era, the Patriots are the top team in the AFC this week, as we begin our weekly looks at the NFL’s playoff picture.
But the 7-2 Patriots aren’t ahead by a lot. They have the same record as both the Chiefs and Raiders, and they’re only half a game ahead of the Broncos.
Here’s how the whole conference shapes up:
1. Patriots (7-2): Own tiebreaker over Chiefs based on better record in conference games
2. Chiefs (7-2): Own tiebreaker over Raiders based on head-to-head victory.
3. Texans (6-3): Houston sure doesn’t look like a No. 3 seed in the AFC, but the record says that’s exactly what the Texans are.
4. Ravens (5-4): They lead the AFC North by a game.
5. Raiders (7-2): Their Week 14 game at Kansas City may be the biggest Thursday night game ever.
6. Broncos (7-3): The defending champions are in a tough division but have a big lead in the wild card race.
7. Dolphins (5-4): Miami is the best of the rest, but it’s hard to see a path to the playoffs for Miami.
8. Titans (5-5): They have a better chance of catching the Texans in the South than they do of getting a wild card.
9. Steelers (4-5): They’re a game behind Baltimore and still get to welcome the Ravens to Pittsburgh at Christmas.
10. Colts (4-5): The AFC South is still in their sights, but the Colts are running out of time to get to the top.
11. Bills (4-5): Buffalo may need to run the table to earn a wild card berth.