Skip navigation
Sign up to follow your favorites on all your devices.
Sign up

AFC playoff picture: Broncos are in, with plenty to play for

DENVER, CO - DECEMBER 28: Tight end Owen Daniels #81 of the Denver Broncos dives forward after a reception as cornerback Shawn Williams #36 and outside linebacker Vincent Rey #57 of the Cincinnati Bengals cover the play at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on December 28, 2015 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)

Getty Images

The Broncos are in the playoffs after Monday night’s win over the Bengals. But they still have a lot to play for with one more game to go.

Denver can earn home-field advantage throughout the playoffs with a Week 17 win and a Patriots loss, but Denver can also lose the division and have to go on the road as a wild card with a loss and a Chiefs win.

Here’s how the AFC playoff race shapes up heading into Week 17:

1. Patriots (12-3): New England will earn home-field advantage with a win over Miami next week, or a Broncos loss.

2. Broncos (11-4): Denver owns the head-to-head tiebreaker with New England, so if the Broncos win and the Patriots lose next week, the Broncos will be the AFC No. 1 seed. But if the Broncos lose and the Chiefs win, the Chiefs will win the AFC West and the Broncos will be a wild card.

3. Bengals (11-4): Cincinnati has clinched the AFC North but would lose the tiebreaker to both Denver and New England, so Cincinnati needs to win and Denver needs to lose next week for the Bengals to earn a bye.

4. Texans (8-7): The AFC South race has technically not yet been clinched, although the Texans will clinch with a win and will almost certainly win the division even with a loss.

5. Chiefs (10-5): The Chiefs have clinched a playoff spot and can still win the AFC West if they win next week and the Broncos lose.

6. Jets (10-5): The Jets are in the playoffs if they beat the Bills next week. They’d also make it if they lose and the Steelers also lose.

7. Steelers (9-6): To make the playoffs, the Steelers have to beat the Browns next week, and the Jets have to lose to the Bills.

Colts (7-8): The Colts need to win next week, have the Texans lose next week, and hope other games break their way so that they earn the strength of victory tiebreaker over the Texans. That’s a tall order.