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What does AFC playoff picture look like after Week 11?

Ryan Hannable
November 20, 2017 - 1:40 pm

Week 11 is in the books for the AFC, and the playoff picture is beginning to take shape.

If the playoffs began Monday, the Patriots would be the No. 2 overall seed as the Steelers have the edge over them when it comes to tiebreakers. The Jaguars would be the No. 3 seed, the Chiefs No. 4, and the Titans and Ravens would be the wild card teams.

Here's a look at the playoff picture as of now.

1. Steelers (8-2)

Remaining schedule: vs. Packers (5-5), at Bengals (4-6), vs. Ravens (5-5), vs. Patriots (8-2), at Texans (4-6), vs. Browns (0-10)

2. Patriots (8-2)

Remaining schedule: vs. Dolphins (4-6), at Bills (5-5), at Dolphins (4-6), at Steelers (8-2), vs. Bills (5-5), vs. Jets (4-6)

3. Jaguars (7-3)

Remaining schedule: at Cardinals (4-6), vs. Colts (3-7), vs. Seahawks (6-3), vs. Texans (4-6), at 49ers (1-9), at Titans (6-4)

4. Chiefs (6-4)

Remaining schedule: vs. Bills (5-5), at Jets (4-6), vs. Raiders (4-6), vs. Chargers (4-6), vs. Dolphins (4-6), at Broncos (3-7)

5. Titans (6-4)

Remaining schedule: at Colts (3-7), vs. Texans (4-6), at Cardinals (4-6), at Niners (1-10), vs. Rams (7-3), vs. Jaguars (7-3)

6. Ravens (5-5)

Remaining schedule: vs. Texans (4-6), vs. Lions (6-4), at Steelers (8-2), at Browns (0-10), vs. Colts (3-7), vs. Bengals (4-6)

Still in the running

Bills (5-5)

Remaining schedule: at Chiefs (6-4), vs. Patriots (8-2), vs. Colts (3-7), vs. Dolphins (4-6), at Patriots (8-2), at Dolphins (4-6)

Dolphins (4-6)

Remaining schedule: at Patriots (8-2), vs. Broncos (3-7), vs. Patriots (8-2), at Bills (5-5), at Chiefs (6-4), vs. Bills (5-5)

Jets (4-6)

Remaining schedule: vs. Carolina (7-3), vs. Chiefs (6-4), at Broncos (3-7), at Saints (8-2), vs. Chargers (4-6), at Patriots (8-2)

Bengals (4-6)

Remaining schedule: vs. Browns (0-9), vs. Steelers (8-2), vs. Bears (3-7), at Vikings (8-2), vs. Lions (6-4), at Ravens (5-5)

Texans (4-6)

Remaining schedule: at Ravens (5-5), at Titans (6-4), vs. 49ers (1-9), at Jaguars (7-3), vs. Steelers (8-2), at Colts (3-7)

Chargers (4-6)

Remaining schedule: at Cowboys (5-5), vs. Browns (0-9), vs. Redskins (4-6), at Chiefs (6-4), at Jets (4-6), vs. Raiders (4-6)

Raiders (4-6)

Remaining schedule: vs. Broncos (3-7), vs. Giants (2-8), at Chiefs (6-4), vs. Cowboys (5-5), at Eagles (9-1), at Chargers (4-6)

ANALYSIS

Starting at the top, the race for the No. 1 overall seed will come down to the Patriots, Steelers and Jaguars, all of which have extremely easy schedules down the stretch, but the Patriots and Steelers have a one-game edge over Jacksonville. It would appear the Dec. 17 showdown in Pittsburgh between the Patriots and Steelers will decide homefield advantage throughout the playoffs in the AFC. The Jaguars close the season with the Titans, which could ultimately decide who wins the AFC South and is the No. 3 seed, and who is the wild card.

With how bad the AFC West is, it would appear the Chiefs aren't going anywhere as the No. 4 seed.

Then things get interesting when it comes to the wild card teams, particularly the No. 6 seed. It would seem the No. 5 seed will be either the Titans or Jaguars, whoever doesn't win the AFC South. Realistically, eight teams are still in the mix, but the Ravens and Bills have the edge as they are 5-5 and the other teams are 4-6. Of the 4-6 teams, the Jets, Texans and Dolphins can be eliminated right off the bat because of injuries or their remaining schedule.

This leaves it coming down to the Chargers, Bills, Raiders, Bengals and Ravens for the last spot in the postseason. From this viewpoint, it will come down to either the Ravers and Chargers, who are playing well at the right time. A win over the Cowboys on Thanksgiving would go a long way for the Chargers, and the Ravens are also playing their best football of the season, and their real only tough game left is against Pittsburgh. 

Overall, the AFC is very mediocre this year, but at the same time it means almost every team is still in playoff contention.

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