(Image credit Christopher Hanewinckel/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. For this article, I will dive into the AFC.
X- Clinched Playoff Spot
Y - Clinched Division
Z- Clinched 1st Round Bye
Division Winners (Seed 1-4)
1. Y- Tennessee Titans (11-5)
The Tennessee Titans have a lot of fight in them after destroying the Miami Dolphins and as a result, they currently have the 1st seed in the AFC. Honestly, the team that needs the first seed badly is the Titans so they can get healthier for the playoffs as they still have a ton of injured players that they need to get healthy.
2. Y - Kansas City Chiefs (11-5)
The Kansas City Chiefs had a hard-fought battle against the Cincinnati Bengals and as a result, they dropped to the 2nd seed. They need to win against the Denver Broncos if they want a shot at getting the 1st seed.
3. Y - Cincinnati Bengals (10-6)
I never thought I would ever say this at the beginning of the year but the Cincinnati Bengals have officially clinched the AFC North division. I want to congratulate the Bengals they deserved it. Especially with the Ravens injuries, Browns inconsistencies, and Steelers incompetence, the Bengals were the more complete and consistent team. Well deserved.
4. X - Buffalo Bills (10-6)
Congratulations to the Buffalo Bills as they have officially clinched a spot for the playoffs. It was concerning as they were losing games they should not have but they can also clinch the division if the Bills defeat the New York Jets next week.
Wildcard Teams (Seed 5-7)
5. X - New England Patriots (10-6)
I hate to say this but the New England Patriots are back in the NFL playoffs. But they could take the AFC East if the Bills don't take care of business against the New York Jets and they beat the Miami Dolphins.
6. Indianapolis Colts (9-7)
Colts have not clinched a playoff spot yet but need to beat the Jacksonville Jaguars in order to secure a spot in the NFL playoffs this season.
7. Los Angeles Chargers (9-7)
The Chargers took care of business against the Denver Broncos in a must-win game after they lost to the Houston Texans. But, the Chargers need to beat the Las Vegas Raiders in order to secure their spot in the playoffs,
In the hunt
8. Las Vegas Raiders (9-7)
Despite the Dark Season that has followed the Las Vegas Raiders earlier in the season they still have a good shot of making the playoffs. I honestly hope they do as the fanbase and the players deserve it after what happened to them this season. However, they have to go through the Los Angeles Chargers in order to do it.
9. Pittsburgh Steelers (8-7-1)
The Steelers may be an incompetent organization but they actually did well against a broken Cleveland Browns team. It is a miracle that they did not play down to competition like they always do. But they need to beat Baltimore next week if they want a shot to even be in the playoffs.
10. Baltimore Ravens (8-8)
This is a gigantic fall from a team that had the division on their hands and then the injuries grew more and more. That resulted in a 5 game winning streak and I am shocked that they are still in the hunt right now. I am not completely ruling them out but it is not looking good.
Eliminated From Playoff Contention
11. Miami Dolphins (8-8)
Now that the Dolphins are eliminated from the playoffs they are now on the Tank for a higher draft pick. Oh, wait their first-round pick is Philadelphia Eagles' property due to the Jaylen Waddle trade. At least they got the 49ers 1st round pick.
12. Cleveland Browns (7-9)
Now that the Browns are eliminated from the playoffs they are now on the Tank for a higher draft pick.
13. Denver Broncos (7-9)
Now that the Broncos are eliminated from the playoffs they are now on the Tank for a higher draft pick.
14. New York Jets (4-12)
The Jets are on the tank for a higher draft pick.
15. Houston Texans (4-12)
The Texans are on the tank for a higher draft pick.
16. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-14)
The Jaguars are on the tank to secure the 1st overall pick in the NFL Draft.