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28 teams remain alive, with five games left in Week 15

Steve Kornacki takes a look at how the AFC playoff picture has shifted after wins by the Chiefs, Bengals, Colts and Bills in Week 15.

After Tuesday, three weeks will remain in the 2021 regular season. As of now, 28 teams remain alive for playoff berths.

If 28 remain alive once Week 15 concludes, it will be the most ever with three weeks remaining in the regular season.

According to the NFL, the record for the most teams still in Super Bowl contention with three weeks left to play was set in 1982 and matched in 1995 and 2004. (In 1982, the league expanded the postseason to a 16-team tournament after a strike wiped out seven games.)

It helps that the standard postseason field now has 14 games, not 12. With a 17th game, more teams seem to be staying alive longer.

That’s good for everyone. It keeps maximum fan bases engaged. It keeps maximum stadiums full. It keeps maximum eyes on the product. It keeps maximum dollars coming through the cash register.

This year, every fan of every team has reason to remain engaged and interested. Except for the Jets, Texans, Lions, and Jaguars.