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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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Ravens cornerback Marcus Peters backs out of Pro Bowl, replaced by Steelers' Joe Haden

Ravens cornerback Marcus Peters backs out of Pro Bowl, replaced by Steelers' Joe Haden

Marcus Peters was named to his third career Pro Bowl in 2019, but the Ravens cornerback has decided to back out of the NFL's All-Star game.

Pittsburgh cornerback Joe Haden will be headed to Orlando in Peters' place, the Steelers announced on Wednesday.

Peters will not participate in the Pro Bowl due to injury, according to the Steelers' release. The terms of his injury have not been disclosed, but Peters did not miss a game for the Ravens since coming over in an October trade.

Upon his arrival in the Charm City, the cornerback made a huge impact in Baltimore. Peters was named to the NFL's All-Pro team, recording three interceptions and two touchdowns in 10 games with the Ravens. The 26-year-old corner re-signed with Baltimore for three years this past December.

But after Baltimore's season came to an unexpectedly early end this past Saturday against Tennessee, the cornerback has chosen not to participate in a relatively meaningless game. It's worth noting that Ravens head coach John Harbaugh and his staff will be coaching the AFC in the Pro Bowl.

Baltimore had an NFL-high 12 players selected to the Pro Bowl this season, but at least one of them won't be in Orlando in two weeks.

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John Harbaugh, Ravens staff to coach AFC in 2020 Pro Bowl

John Harbaugh, Ravens staff to coach AFC in 2020 Pro Bowl

In addition to the 12 Pro Bowl selections for the Ravens, there will be some familiar faces in Orlando next weekend. 

Coach John Harbaugh and the rest of the Ravens' staff will head to Florida to coach the AFC in the Pro Bowl, the team announced Wednesday. They’re awarded the chance by virtue of having the AFC's best record no longer in the playoffs. 

The NFC team will be coached by Sean Payton and the rest of the Saints staff after they finished the regular season 13-3 but were eliminated by the Vikings in the Wild-Card round. 

The Ravens' coaching staff has previously coached the Pro Bowl, once in 2014, and will have the opportunity to coach an NFL-best 12 Ravens during the game.

It still remains to be seen who will play in the Pro Bowl for the Ravens, but Mark Andrews has confirmed he would play. Lamar Jackson was non-committal on Saturday immediately after the loss to the Titans.

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports. Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream Capitals and Wizards games easily from your device.

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