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NFL Playoff Picture: Predicting the AFC playoff bracket heading into Week 16

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USA Today Sports

NFL Playoff Picture: Predicting the AFC playoff bracket heading into Week 16

Well, Week 15 for the AFC was interesting to say the least.

Several teams clinched their division, while others suffered brutal losses.

Let's take a look at the AFC playoff picture heading into Week 16.

Shout out to our guy, Joe Ferreira, for making this a little easier for us. 

READ ALSO: NFC PLAYOFF PICTURE

AFC PLAYOFF BRACKET PROJECTION:

#1 New England Patriots (11-3) vs. lowest winning seed from AFC Wild Card round

#2 Pittsburgh Steelers (11-3) vs. highest winning seed from AFC Wild Card round

#3 Jacksonville Jaguars (10-4) vs. #6 Buffalo Bills (8-6)

#4 Kansas City Chiefs (8-6) vs. #5 Tennessee Titans (8-6)

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (#1 seed)
Record/Division Record:
11-3/3-1
Remaining Games: vs. Bills (8-6), vs. Jets (5-9)
Playoff Scenarios: The Patriots won a thriller Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers that pushed them to the number one seed.

Clinch home field advantage this week:
— Win vs. Bills + a Steelers loss + the Jags to lose or tie.

Clinch a first-round bye:
— Win + a Steelers loss OR
— Win + a Jaguars loss or tie OR
— Win + a Jaguars loss

Gaining home field advantage throughout the playoffs this week seems unlikely. 

PITTSBURGH STEELERS (#2 seed)
Record/Division Record:
11-3/5-0
Remaining Games: @Texans (4-10), vs. Browns (0-14)
Playoff Scenarios: The Steelers are coming off a heartbreaking loss that most definitely has left a bad taste in their mouths.

Clinch a first-round bye:
— Win vs. Texans + a Jaguars loss or tie 
— Steelers tie + a Jaguars loss.

Either way, a win is crucial for the Steelers with the Jaguars on their tails for the number 2 seed.

JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS (#3 seed)
Record/Division Record:
 10-4/4-1
Remaining Games: @49ers (4-10), @Titans (8-6)
Playoff Scenarios: The Jaguars clinched their first playoff berth in 10 years on Sunday with their win over the Texans.

Clinch the AFC South:
— Win or tie OR
— Titans loss or tie.

They're also in the hunt for the No. 2 seed, so keep a look out for that.

KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (#4 seed)
Record/Division Record:
8-6/4-1
Remaining Games: vs. Dolphins (6-8), @Broncos (5-9)
Playoff Scenarios: The Chiefs got a huge win Saturday against the Chargers that helped them secure the fourth seed for a little while longer.

Clinch the AFC West this week:
— Win vs. Dolphins OR
— Tie vs. Dolphins + Chargers loss or tie OR
— Chargers loss.

TENNESSEE TITANS (#5 seed)
Record/Division Record:
8-6/4-1
Remaining Games: vs. Rams (10-4), vs Jaguars (10-4)
Playoff Scenarios: The Titans' loss Sunday did not help them with a tight race for the fifth and sixth seeds in the AFC. With two remaining tough games, things aren't looking good for them. 

Clinch a playoff berth:
— Win vs. Rams + a Ravens loss + a Bills loss.

BUFFALO BILLS (#6 seed)
Record/Division Record:
8-6/2-2
Remaining Games: @Patriots (11-3), @ Dolphins (6-8)
Playoff Scenarios: Not much to worry about this week if you're a Bills fan, besides beating Tom Brady and the Patriots in Gillette Stadium.

They can not clinch a playoff berth or be eliminated from the playoffs this week.

RELATED: LEWIS ONE STEP CLOSER TO HALL OF FAME

STILL IN THE HUNT:

7. BALTIMORE RAVENS
Record/Division Record:
8-6/3-2
Remaining Games: vs. Colts (3-11), vs. Bengals (5-9)
Playoff Scenarios: Just like the Bills, the Ravens can not clinch a playoff berth or be eliminated this week.

However, the Titans loss Sunday to the 49ers did help make the fifth or sixth seed a possibility. In the end, the Ravens need to win their remaining two games and they're in.

8. LOS ANGELES CHARGERS
Record/Division Record:
7-7/2-3
Remaining Games: @Jets (5-9), vs. Raiders (6-8)
Playoff Scenarios: Their loss Saturday to the Chiefs hurt them big time.

Eliminated from the playoffs with:
—  Loss vs. Jets OR
— Chiefs + Titans + Ravens win .

9. OAKLAND RAIDERS
Record/Division Record:
6-8/2-3
Remaining Games: @Eagles (11-2), @Chargers (7-6)
Playoff Scenarios: After a brutal last second loss to the Cowboys, the Raiders now have to travel to Philadelphia to take on the Eagles, who fared well without Carson Wentz.

Eliminated from the playoff picture:
— Loss or tie vs. Eagles OR
— Bills win or tie OR
— Chiefs loss + Titans win or tie OR
— Chiefs win or tie + Ravens win or tie OR
— Titans win or tie + Ravens win or tie.

That was confusing. Basically, they're out of luck.

10. MIAMI DOLPHINS
Record/Division Record:
6-8/2-3
Remaining Games: @Chiefs (8-6), vs. Bills (8-6)
Playoff Scenarios: Miami is running out of luck, and time. 

Eliminated from the playoffs with:
— Bills win or tie + Ravens win or tie OR
— Titans win or tie + Ravens win or tie OR
— Bills win or tie + Titans win or tie.

RELATED: RAVENS HOLIDAY GUIDE 

ELIMINATED: 

New York Jets, Cincinnati Bengals, Denver Broncos, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts and the Cleveland Browns

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Baltimore Ravens' 2018 regular season matchups, dates and times

Baltimore Ravens' 2018 regular season matchups, dates and times

We've known the Ravens' 2018 preseason and regular season opponents for some time now, but the NFL finally released their full schedule with exact dates and times.

As they do every year, the Ravens will be seeing the Bengals, Steelers and Browns twice. 

For the ninth consecutive year, Week 16 and 17 will be divisional games with playoff implications.

They Ravens will also be playing in the Pro Football Hall of Fame preseason game against the Chicago Bears in Canton, Ohio, bringing an extra preseason game to their schedule.

In the regular season, the birds will be flocking south to take on the Panthers, Falcons and Titans. They haven't seen the Panthers or Falcons since 2014 - both ending in wins - and came up just short against the Titans in their 23-20 loss last season.

The Ravens will only have to travel to the west coast once when they take on the Los Angeles Chargers, who they last saw in 2015 and earned a 29-26 win.

Not including AFC North rivals, the last time the Ravens saw their remaining five home opponents they came away with wins. Hopefully history will repeat itself.

Prime-time games, which the Ravens have two of, will kick off at earlier times than in the past. Monday Night Football will now start at 8:15 p.m. while Thursday and Sunday Night Football will start at 8:20 p.m.

Ravens 2018 Regular-Season Schedule:

Week 1: Sunday, 9/9 vs. Bills, 1:00 p.m.

Week 2: Thursday, 9/13 @ Bengals, 8:20 p.m.

Week 3: Sunday, 9/23 vs. Broncos. 1:00 p.m.

Week 4: Sunday, 9/30 @ Steelers, 8:20 p.m.

Week 5: Sunday, 10/7 @ Browns, 1:00 p.m.

Week 6: Sunday 10/14 @ Titans, 4:25 p.m.

Week 7: Sunday, 10/21 vs. Saints, 4:05 p.m.

Week 8: Sunday 10/28 @ Panthers, 1:00 p.m.

Week 9: Sunday 11/4 vs. Steelers, 1:00 p.m.

Week 10:  BYE week

Week 11: Sunday 11/18 vs. Bengals, 1:00 p.m.

Week 12: Sunday 11/25 vs. Raiders, 1:00 p.m.

Week 13: Sunday 12/2 @ Falcons, 1:00 p.m.

Week 14: Sunday 12/9 @ Chiefs, 1:00 p.m.

Week 15: Sunday 12/16 vs. Buccaneers, 1:00 p.m.

Week 16: Saturday 12/22 or Sunday 12/23 @ Chargers, TBD

Week 17: Sunday 12/30 vs. Browns, 1:00 p.m.


PRESEASON 

Hall of Fame Game: Thurs., 8/2, vs. Chicago Bears (Canton, OH), 8:00pm (NBC).

Week 1: Thurs., 8/9, vs. Los Angeles Rams

Week 2: Mon. 8/20,  at Indianapolis Colts (Monday Night Football, ESPN).

Week 3: at Miami Dolphins*

Week 4: Thurs., 8/30 at Washington Redskins

* - Game date and time not yet determined

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As 2018 NFL Draft approaches, Ravens to host QB Lamar Jackson per report

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USA TODAY Sports

As 2018 NFL Draft approaches, Ravens to host QB Lamar Jackson per report

With 10 days until the 2018 NFL Draft, quarterback Lamar Jackson is set to visit the Ravens this week, per Ian Rapoport of NFL Network. 

The former Heisman Trophy winner is a projected first-round pick as he has proven to have success in the air and on the ground. 

While at Louisville, Jackson had 9,043 passing yards and 69 touchdowns. He also rushed for 4,132 yards and 50 touchdowns. His NFL draft profile compares him to Michael Vick. 

RELATED: BEST QUOTES FROM RAVENS PRE-DRAFT PRESS CONFERENCE

The Ravens are in search of Joe Flacco's successor, but spending a first-round pick on a quarterback when there are other glaring needs is up in the air. However, assistant general manager Eric DeCosta isn't ruling out the possibility

"I feel like if there is a guy there that we think is really too good to pass up, we're going to take him," DeCosta told the team's website on the chance of drafting a quarterback in the first-round.

At their pre-draft press conference, GM Ozzie Newsome and DeCosta kept reiterating we could be surprised by who they pick at No. 16, if they do at all. 

While Jackson's numbers are impressive, he continues to be considered a late first-round pick as his build isn't up to typical NFL QB standards and scouts are concerned with his accuracy. What he does have in his favor is speed.

While fans are hoping for an offensive weapon, having Jackson learn under Flacco for a year (and maybe RGIII?) could rev up some excitement. 

RELATED: RGIII READY TO MOVE FORWARD AS NEW, GROWN PLAYER