(Image credit Denny Medley/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. Kansas City Chiefs (10-4)
They're back as the Chiefs have finally woken from their slump at the beginning of the season. Luckily they fixed their weaknesses and have rebounded from the struggles. This offense looks a lot smoother and the defense is a lot better. If the Chiefs keep this up then they could win the division and keep the #1 seed.
2. New England Patriots (9-5)
New England is still back as they are as of now a division-winning team in the current playoff standings. They need to win against the Bills in order to make leverage for the Patriots to win the AFC East.
3. Tennessee Titans (9-5)
The Tennessee Titans have been dealing with a ton of injuries lately and pulled a Mike Tomlin playing down to competition against the Pittsburgh Steelers. They need to be careful because Indianapolis is sneaking up to them and could steal the AFC South division from them. So the Titans need to win and do it now.
4. Cincinnati Bengals (8-6)
The Bengals as of now are the leaders of the AFC North Division which I never thought would happen earlier in the season. But the Ravens are derailed with injuries and inconsistency, the Browns are dealing with a covid outbreak plus injury reasons, and the Steelers are just incompetent. I would be surprised if the Bengals do not win this division at this point.
Wildcard Teams (Seed 5-7)
5. Indianapolis Colts (8-6)
The Colts have been a lot better now than they were earlier in the season and they face the Arizona Cardinals this week. The Colts have an opportunity to steal the AFC South Division from the Titans due to the inconsistency and injuries. I trust Frank Reich as he has been a great coach.
6. Los Angeles Chargers (8-6)
Tough Loss last week against the Chiefs as that game determined in my opinion who will win the AFC West. Luckily the Chargers face the Texans, Broncos (with Drew Lock at QB), and the Las Vegas Raiders so the Chargers should be in good shape for the playoffs.
7. Buffalo Bills (8-6)
The Bills have been inconsistent but needed to beat Carolina badly. This week is a test as they are facing the New England Patriots which could determine who wins the AFC East in the playoffs. The Bills face the Falcons and the Jets so they should be in the playoffs this season.
In the hunt
8. Baltimore Ravens (8-6)
Quite a Fall from what they were a few weeks ago. Injuries have really derailed this team a lot and look at how weak their secondary is. It has definitely hurt this defense. Lamar Jackson’s injury has also put the Ravens in a tough spot as well on Offense as Tyler Huntley is not that good and made some bad throws when he was in at QB. The Ravens are in deep trouble.
9. Pittsburgh Steelers (7-6-1)
The Steelers are an incompetent team but they played a reverse card where it was the Titans that were playing down to competition. The Steelers should have more wins than they do but they have a QB who should be retired, a terrible culture, and a head coach that should have been fired last season. Remind me why Mike Tomlin is still the head coach of this team again? I am not ruling out playoffs but I doubt it due to the Steelers facing the Chiefs, Ravens, and Browns. They control their own destiny but the habit of playing down to competition still lingers with this team.
10. Las Vegas Raiders (7-7)
The Raiders have had a dark season but they got a much-needed win against the Cleveland Browns. My concern is that the game was as close as it was as the Browns were wrecked with a covid outbreak in this game. The Raiders need to keep winning games if they want to make the playoffs this season.
11. Miami Dolphins (7-7)
Dolphins are coming back as they won the last 6 games. Again this shows you why Brian Flores is a good coach and why he should not be fired at the end of the season. I can see Miami finish strong and win their final games. Don't rule this team out yet.
12. Cleveland Browns (7-7)
The Browns, like the Washington Football Team, got screwed due to the Outbreak and lost to the Las Vegas Raiders. With how competitive the AFC North is and the entire conference they need to win now or else they won't make the playoffs.
13. Denver Broncos (7-7)
The Broncos are in danger if Teddy Bridgewater is done for the rest of the season. Drew Lock is awful and if he is the starting QB then the Broncos will most likely not make the playoffs which would stink.
Eliminated From Playoff Contention
14. New York Jets (3-11)
The Jets season is all but over for them but on the Bright side, they have Seattle's 1st round pick this season.
15. Houston Texans (3-11)
The Texans are a complete mess this season and will not play in the playoffs this season.
16. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-12)
The Jaguars fired Urban Meyer 2 months too late. Well at least they decided to cut ties now but the Jaguars will not be in the playoffs.