Week 13 AFC Playoff Picture
Will there be another Festivus miracle? Last year the New York Jets were 5-6 heading into Week 13 and had virtually no shot of making the playoffs. But a 4-1 finish coupled with everyone else stumbling allowed the Jets to make the playoffs. Once again the AFC is wide open, even more so than last year, and it should set up a frantic finish.
In Need Of A Festivus Miracle
Denver Broncos (3-8) There's really only one path to the postseason for Denver and that is to end with five straight wins while everyone else in the AFC West collapses. The Broncos benefit from three divisional games down the stretch including a must-win today against Kansas City.
In Need Of Help
Houston Texans (5-7) Despite a losing record and a Thursday night setback to Philadelphia, the Texans are still alive in the AFC South. If Jacksonville and Indianapolis both lose today there will be a three way tie for the division at 6-6 with Houston one game back. Wins over Baltimore and Tennessee in the next two weeks would go a long way for the Texans.
Oakland Raiders (5-6) The Raiders have been competitive all year but a two game losing streak has put the year in doubt. While Oakland is two games behind Kansas City the Raiders have one big advantage and that is a 3-0 record in the division. A road win today against the Chargers would keep the Raiders in the mix.
Tennessee Titans (5-6) Losers of four in a row the Titans are spiraling due to quarterback injuries and issues. However there are two factors at play for Tennessee: the South is weak and four of Tennessee's final five games are divisional matchups. The Titans also end the season at Indianapolis.
Miami Dolphins (6-5) The division is almost out of reach for the Dolphins but Miami can still make some noise in the playoff chase. Miami gets the benefit of playing Cleveland, Buffalo and Detroit at home but road games against both the Patriots and Jets will determine the season.
San Diego Chargers (6-5) Here we go again. San Diego is heating up at the end of the year as they always do (the Chargers have won 19 straight December/January regular season games). The Chargers get Oakland at home this week then welcome Kansas City next week. Two wins there would be enough to vault the Chargers into first place.
Indianapolis Colts (6-5) Yes, if the season were to end today the Colts would be out of the playoffs. Injuries have finally taken their toll on the Colts but with a pair of games against Tennessee and a crucial matchup against Jacksonville there's time for Indy to right the ship.
Controlling Their Destiny
Pittsburgh Steelers (8-3) The Steelers have a huge matchup tonight against Baltimore and if the Steelers lose they lose the head-to-head tiebreaker. However, having won three of four the Steelers are in good position to make the playoffs either as division champs or a wild card.
New England Patriots (9-2) Like Pittsburgh, the Patriots need a win tomorrow night to avoid losing the head-to-head. But win or lose the Patriots would still be playoff-bound if the season ended this week.
Jacksonville Jaguars (6-5) The Jaguars are tied with Indianapolis at 6-5 but currently hold the tiebreaker thanks to a Week 4 win over the Colts. Jacksonville has a huge divisional game today against Tennessee but the season could come down to the Indy rematch in two weeks.
Kansas City Chiefs (7-4) Kansas City is a game up in the West thanks to a two game winning streak but the next two games loom large as the Chiefs play Denver today and then travel to San Diego next week.
Baltimore Ravens (8-3) As noted above the Ravens have a big game against Pittsburgh tonight. But a win doesn't clinch the division just yet as the Ravens play on the road against Houston next week and then get New Orleans at home.
New York Jets (10-2) A win over New England not only puts the Jets in the driver's seat for the division but also gives them an open road to the top seed in the AFC. Nothing is guaranteed as New York still has to play at Chicago and Pittsburgh.