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AFC Playoff Picture: Aftermath of Week 13

(Image credit David Butler II/USA Today Sports)

Written by: Nicholas Mullick

Playoffs are getting closer and closer with each week that passes. Now there is plenty of football left to be played but again it is crunch time for some teams. So until the playoffs hit I will continue to update the current playoff picture for both the AFC and NFC Conferences. For this article, I will dive into the AFC conference.

Division Winners (Seed 1-4)

1. New England Patriots (9-4)

I hate to say it but the New England Patriots are back and have reclaimed the number one seed for the playoffs. I still have nightmares of this day coming especially as fast as it did but the Patriots deserve it. Mac Jones is the best rookie QB so far in this draft class and it is not even close. He has fit so well in the Patriots system it is amazing. The Patriots defense has definitely gotten better and I think the Patriots are in good shape for the playoffs.

2. Tennessee Titans (8-4)

The Titans may be dealing with injuries but should be healthier coming off a bye week. This division is still between the Indianapolis Colts vs the Tennessee Titans. Luckily the Titans face the Jaguars, Texans, 49ers, Dolphins, and Steelers. These are all opponents the Titans can beat and hopefully, the Titans play well.

3. Baltimore Ravens (8-4)

What a joke of a performance by the Baltimore Ravens. The Steelers were trying to gift wrap a win to this team and they decided to in film study the Mike Tomlin play down to competition approach. Lamar Jackson has not been good lately and has not been accurate that much. I don't understand why they went for two as they have the best kicker in the NFL and the Steelers are a mess. I think they or the Bengals will take this division but performances like this show us that the Ravens still have many issues they need to solve.

4. Kansas City Chiefs (8-4)

It looks like the Kansas City Chiefs have woken up from their slump. These Chiefs teams have gotten a lot better now than they were earlier in the season. The Chiefs true test is week 15 against the Chargers as that could determine the AFC West division winner for the playoffs. They're on the right track to win the division but the AFC West is very competitive and anyone can win this division. Hopefully, the Chiefs can keep this momentum up and win more games to solidify their spot in the playoffs.

Wildcard Teams (Seed 5-7)

5. Los Angeles Chargers (7-5)

The Chargers really impressed during their victory against the Bengals. I will admit I was a bit nervous and thought the same old chargers when the Bengals were coming back but the Chargers woke up and defeated the Cincinnati Bengals. Justin Herbert is fantastic and the Chargers did an excellent job building this offense around him. The defense is a bit of an issue but they should hold their ground. The Chargers in Week 15 will be a huge one as they face the Kansas City Chiefs in a game that will be huge in winning the AFC West. If the Chargers keep winning they should win this division.

6. Cincinnati Bengals (7-5)

The last game goes to show the negative character traits of the Bengals. Especially with head coach Zac Taylor as he made questionable decisions during that game. The Bengals secondary has been up and down this season and is an issue. I still think the Bengals have an opportunity to with this division with the Browns injuries, Ravens inconsistency, and the Steelers incompetence this season.

7. Buffalo Bills (7-5)

The Bills get a pass as they had a hard-fought battle against the New England Patriots in absolutely terrible weather. That loss is important and it gives the Patriots Leverage when it comes to winning the AFC East division. The Bills defense has not been the same since Tre'Davious White suffered his season-ending injury. The Bills need to win and win now if they want to secure a spot in the playoffs this season. Before I end it has to be noted the Bills need a running back because Devin Singletary he’s terrible. Zack Moss can barely get on the field and Matt Brieda has not been that good this season. Running Back is a huge need for Buffalo in the offseason.

In the hunt

8. Pittsburgh Steelers (6-5-1)

The Steelers got lucky last week as they were trying to hand this win to the Baltimore Ravens with questionable play-calling by Mike Tomlin. Remind me why Mike Tomlin is still the head coach for the Steelers again? I don't understand why the Ravens went for two when Lamar Jackson has struggled lately and they have the best kicker in the league to kick it in. The Steelers offense is not that good and Ben should have had 3 interceptions in this game. I will admit Diontae Johnson is a great receiver. I just wish he got a consistent QB all the time and a competent coaching staff.

9. Indianapolis Colts (7-6)

The Colts have been a team that is a lot better now than they were earlier in the season. The Indianapolis Colts as well have an opportunity to make the playoffs. It will be tough as they have to face the Cardinals, Patriots, Raiders, and Jaguars the rest of the season. Those are difficult opponents excluding the Jaguars of course.

10. Las Vegas Raiders (6-6)

The Raiders have had a very dark season but have had moments of greatness this season. Last week the Raiders were upset by the Washington Football Team. I am rooting for the entire team to make the playoffs as the fanbase and the players deserve it after the mess that happened earlier in the season.

11. Cleveland Browns (6-6)

Imagine if the Browns were a healthy team. I think Cleveland would be a lot better than they are right now. Right now they are the worst team in the AFC North but I am not ruling them out as I think they will be healthier now coming off a bye. The Ravens are inconsistent and the Steelers are incompetent. The division is an all-out war and anyone could win the AFC North.

12. Denver Broncos (6-6)

I don't even know what to think about the Denver Broncos anymore. They have games where they look amazing and other moments where they look like a terrible football team. One thing is for sure the Broncos don't have a long-term starting QB or a head coach that I am confident about. I like Vic Fangio but he is more of a strong defensive coordinator than a good head coach.

Tank Teams

13. Miami Dolphins (6-7)

The Miami Dolphins still have a chance at making the playoffs but the Dolphins have to face the Titans and Patriots at the end of the season. I don't think that they are making the playoffs and should tank the season. That winning streak shows how good of a coach Brian Flores is and again No he should not be fired this season. I wonder what they do during the offseason and if GM Chris Grier will be back for the Dolphins. But next season is a must for the Dolphins to make the playoffs.

Somehow Not Eliminated Mathematically Eliminated

14. New York Jets (3-9)

Not going long here as the New York Jets season is pretty much over now as the Jets will have more losses than wins this season. I am honestly shocked they are not mathematically eliminated still.

15. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-10)

How in the world are the Jaguars not mathematically eliminated from the playoffs? They have the same record as the Texans and for some reason, they are not mathematically eliminated from the playoffs. There is not much to say as the Jaguars are a mess but it is just mind-boggling to me that they have not been eliminated.

Eliminated From Playoff Contention

16. Houston Texans (2-10)

The Texans are unsurprisingly eliminated from the layoffs. The only shock is that they are the first and only team eliminated from the playoffs.

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