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NFL Playoff Picture: A lot on the line for the Ravens heading into Week 16

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NFL Playoff Picture: A lot on the line for the Ravens heading into Week 16

Week 15 in the AFC was verrrryy interesting.

The Los Angeles Chargers went into Kansas City and handed Patrick Mahomes a loss.

Tom Brady may have to play during Wild Card weekend for just the third time in the Brady-Belichick era, and the sixth a final playoff spot is still up for grabs as the Baltimore Ravens could be eliminated this weekend.

Here's a look at where things stand in the AFC heading into Week 16.

AFC Playoff Standings:

1. Kansas City Chiefs (11-3, 4-1)

The Chiefs have already clinched a playoff berth, but their Thursday night loss to the Chargers made things much more interesting in the AFC West. 

If they win out, the Chiefs will still claim the AFC West and the No. 1 seed. A loss over the next two weeks, however, could shift their seeding around. 

Remaining Games: @Seahawks (8-6), Raiders (3-11)

2. Houston Texans (10-4, 3-2)

The Texans moved up in the standings thanks to the New England Patriots losing to the Pittsburgh Steelers and Deshaun Watson closing out a win against the New York Jets.

The Texans could easily finish 12-4 after their remaining two matchups.

Remaining Games: @Eagles (7-7), Jacksonville (4-10)

3. New England Patriots (9-5, 3-1)

The Patriots' loss to the Steelers Sunday has put them in a sticky situation. 

A first-round bye is potentially in jeopardy, something Tom Brady and Bill Belichick aren't used to, and a road game in the second-round seems plausible. Their remaining games, however, could easily bounce them back from their two-game losing streak.

Remaining Games: Buffalo (5-9), Jets (4-10)

4. Pittsburgh Steelers (8-5-1, 3-1-1)

A win Sunday over the Patriots didn't move the Steelers any in playoff seeding, but did keep them half a game up of the Ravens for the AFC North.

It will be a race to the finish line for Ben Roethlisberger and co. as the AFC is anything but steady and they face Drew Brees and the Saints in Week 16.

Remaining Games: @Saints (12-2), Bengals (6-8)

5. Los Angeles Chargers (11-3, 3-2)

The Chargers secured a spot in the playoffs with their 29-28 win over the Chiefs in unexpected fashion.

They could also ruin the Ravens' season Saturday as a win will knock them out of the playoffs for the fourth year in a row.

Remaining Games: Ravens (8-6), @Denver (6-8)

6. Baltimore Ravens (8-6, 2-3)

There are so many scenarios for the Ravens heading into Saturday's game against the Chargers. One of those includes them taking over the AFC North, and the other involves missing the postseason for the fourth year in a row.

If the Ravens win Sunday and the Steelers lose to the Saints, they will lead the AFC North. But if the Ravens lose and the Steelers, Colts and Titans all win the Ravens head back to Baltimore with nothing to show for their 2018 season. 

Not only do the Ravens have to travel across the country on a shorter week, but it will be the first time Lamar Jackson faces a top-10 defense. It's all in their hands.

Remaining Games: @Chargers (11-3), Browns (6-7-1)

In The Hunt:

7. Indianapolis Colts (8-6, 3-2)

The Colts slowed down the Dallas Cowboys hype train in their shutout win Sunday. 

The Colts will need some help to make it to the playoffs and a Ravens loss on Sunday could do just that.

Remaining Games: Giants (5-9), @Tennessee (8-6)

8. Tennessee Titans (8-6, 3-2)

A shutout win over the New York Giants kept the Titans' playoff hopes alive.

The Colts have the advantage over the Titans at the moment based on their head-to-head record, but that could all change in Week 17 when the two faceoff against one another. 

Remaining Games: Redskins (7-7), Colts (8-6)

9. Miami Dolphins (7-7, 4-1)

Miami has been able to stay in the mix, but their 41-17 loss to the Minnesota Vikings Sunday could have spelled the end.

They now must win out and need a lot of help from other teams to see January football. 

Remaining Games: Jacksonville (4-10), @Bills (5-9)

10. Cleveland Browns (6-7-1, 2-1-1)

The Browns need somewhat of a miracle to make the playoffs, but their season certainly hasn't been boring.

In order to make it to the postseason, the Browns have to win out AND the Titans and Colts both have to lose Week 16 AND the Titans and Colts have to tie in their Week 17 matchup. 

Eliminated: Oakland Raiders (3-11), New York Jets (4-10), Jacksonville Jaguars (4-10), Buffalo Bills (5-9), Cincinnati Bengals (6-8, and the Denver Broncos (6-8). 

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NFL Playoff Picture: Who's currently in and currently out in the AFC heading into Week 15

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NFL Playoff Picture: Who's currently in and currently out in the AFC heading into Week 15

It was a wild Week 14 for the AFC to say the least.

There was the Miami Miracle and the Indianapolis Colts bringing the Houston Texans' nine-game winning streak to a halt.

January football is so close we can almost taste it. Here's where things stand in the AFC as we head into Week 15.

AFC Playoff Standings:

1. Kansas City Chiefs (11-2, 4-0)

The Baltimore Ravens weren't going to make this easy for the Chiefs, but Patrick Mahomes' ridiculous playmaking couldn't be stopped.

The Chiefs clinched a playoff berth in the 27-24 overtime win and can clinch the AFC West with a win over the Los Angeles Chargers Thursday night. 

Remaining Games: Chargers (10-3), @Seahawks (8-5), Raiders (3-10).

2. New England Patriots (9-4, 3-1)

A crazy 69 yard walk off touchdown from Dolphins' Kenyan Drake put the Patriots two games back of the Chiefs for the one seed and without home field advantage if they face them in the postseason.

Now as they head to Pittsburgh to face the Steelers, a bye week in January could be on the line.

Remaining Games: @Steelers (7-5-1), Buffalo (4-9), Jets (4-9)

3. Houston Texans (9-4, 3-2)

The Texans' nine-game win streak came to an end Sunday when Andrew Luck and the Colts earned a 24-21 win in Houston. 

Still two full games up of the Colts and Tennessee Titans in the AFC South, a bye week seems far-fetched as the Patriots hold the head-to-head tiebreaker over them. 

Remaining Games: @Jets (4-9), @Eagles (6-7), Jacksonville (4-9)

4. Pittsburgh Steelers (7-5-1, 3-1-1)

Sunday was a debacle for the Steelers. Big Ben suffered a rib injury but came back in the fourth to lead his team down the field before kicker Chris Boswell's foot slipped out from underneath of him in what would have been the game-winning field goal. 

The 24-21 loss leaves the Steelers just half a game up of the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC North as they host the Patriots Sunday and still have to visit the Saints. The division, and the playoffs, aren't a lock for the Steelers.

Remaining Games: Patriots (9-4), @Saints (11-2), Bengals (5-8)

5. Los Angeles Chargers (10-3, 2-2)

After narrowly beating the Cincinnati Bengals 26-21 Sunday, the Chargers have a short week as they head to Kansas City to face their division rivals on Thursday night.

A win over the Chiefs keeps the AFC West title up for grabs.

Remaining Games: @Chiefs (11-2), Ravens (7-6), @Denver (6-7)

6. Baltimore Ravens (7-6, 2-3)

Ravens-Chiefs was one of the most entertaining games of the 2018 season and proved that Lamar Jackson and the No. 1 overall defense can hang with the best. 

The good news is that they're still half a game back of the Steelers in the AFC North. The bad news is that they're in a four-way race with the Colts, Titans and Dolphins for the final playoff spot.

Three wins to close out the season is crucial. 

Remaining Games: Buccaneers (5-8), @Chargers (10-3), Browns (5-7-1)

In The Hunt:

7. Indianapolis Colts (7-6, 3-2)

Ending the Texans' nine-game win streak on the road is certainly impressive as it kept the Colts' playoff hopes alive.

Their remaining games won't make the road to the playoffs easy, but they do hold the tiebreaker over the Dolphins.

Remaining Games: Cowboys (8-5), Giants (5-8), @Tennessee (7-6)

8. Miami Dolphins (7-6, 4-1)

The Dolphins just continue to surprise us. Their 34-33 win over the Patriots was the highlight of everyone except Patriots fans' Sunday. 

The final playoff spot will be hard to reach as they sit behind the Colts but ahead of the Titans in head-to-head record.

Remaining Games: @Vikings (6-6-1), Jacksonville (4-9), @Bills (4-9)

9. Tennessee Titans (7-6, 3-2)

The Titans earned an AFC win over the Jacksonville Jaguars Sunday, but their playoff hopes aren't within close reach.

They are no longer in the sixth playoff spot tiebreaker as they are behind both the Colts and the Dolphins. 

Remaining Games: @Giants (5-8), Redskins (6-7), Colts (7-6)

10. Denver Broncos (6-7, 2-2)

The Broncos lost to the San Francisco 49ers 20-14 Sunday, which some would say is not great for a team trying to wiggle their way into the playoffs.

Remaining Games: Browns (5-7-1), @Raiders (3-10), Chargers (10-3)

11. Cleveland Browns (5-7-1, 2-1-1)

Browns fans have a lot to be excited about as Baker Mayfield is a force and they earned another home win on Sunday against the spiraling Carolina Panthers.

With two division games still to be played, the Browns have a slight chance at the playoffs. Nonetheless, the 2018 season is hopefully the start of a new era for this organization.

Remaining Games: @Broncos (6-7), Bengals (5-8), @Ravens (7-6)

12. Cincinnati Bengals (5-7, 1-3)

Hue Jackson's bad luck continues with the Bengals as the playoffs are nowhere in sight.

Remaining Games: Raiders (3-10), @Browns (5-7-1), @Steelers (7-5-1)

Eliminated: Oakland Raiders (3-10), New York Jets (3-10), Jacksonville Jaguars (4-9) and the Buffalo Bills (4-9)

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NFL Playoff Picture: Predicting the AFC playoff bracket heading into Week 14

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NFL Playoff Picture: Predicting the AFC playoff bracket heading into Week 14

We're one week closer to January football and the race in the AFC is still hot.

The top spots haven't done much shifting, but the Dolphins and Broncos are creeping their way into the mix.

Ahead of Week 14, here's how the AFC playoff picture is looking.

AFC Playoff Standings:

1. Kansas City Chiefs (10-2, 4-0)

Kansas City had a week they'd like to forget after a video was released of star running back Kareem Hunt assaulting a woman in a hotel earlier this year. The team cut him hours later.

After all of that, they traveled to Oakland and narrowly got a 40-33 win over the 2-10 Raiders. Now they welcome the Ravens' No. 1 total ranked defense in Week 14 with the 9-3 Chargers on their heels in the AFC West. 

Remaining Games: Ravens (7-5), Chargers (9-3), @Seahawks (7-5), Raiders (2-10).

2. New England Patriots (9-3, 3-0)

The Patriots hosted a very good Minnesota Vikings team and easily beat them 24-10.

With a tiebreaker over the red-hot Houston Texans, the Pats' next true test will come Week 15 when they travel to Pittsburgh to face the Steelers as they fight for the first-round bye.

Remaining Games: @Miami (6-6), @Steelers (7-4-1), Buffalo (4-8), Jets (3-9)

3. Houston Texans (9-3, 3-1)

After starting their season 0-3, the Texans have won nine straight after beating the Cleveland Browns 29-13 at home. 

Any team that wins nine straight games in the NFL should scare you, and while their remaining schedule is filled with OK teams, a few of them could bring that streak to a halt. 

Remaining Games: Colts (6-6), @Jets (3-9), @Eagles (6-6), Jacksonville (4-8)

4. Pittsburgh Steelers (7-4-1, 3-1-1)

The Steelers had a bit of a meltdown and allowed the Los Angeles Chargers to score 18 points on them in the fourth quarter of Sunday night's 33-30 loss.

Now the Ravens sit half a game back of the Steelers in the AFC North as Ben Roethlisberger and co. still have to face the Patriots and the Saints.

Remaining Games: @Raiders (2-10), Patriots (9-3), @Saints (10-2), Bengals (5-7)

5. Los Angeles Chargers (9-3, 2-2)

The Chargers made history Sunday night against the Steelers after becoming the first team in NFL history to beat them in Pittsburgh when trailing by 14 points or more.

Now they face three playoff contending teams over the next four weeks as they look to take the top AFC West spot from the Chiefs. 

Remaining Games: Bengals (5-7), @Chiefs (10-2), Ravens (7-5), @Denver (6-6)

6. Baltimore Ravens (7-5, 2-3)

The Ravens have won three straight under rookie quarterback Lamar Jackson and have the No. 1 ranked total defense in the league.

Sitting half a game back of the Steelers in the AFC North, Baltimore truly controls their own destiny as they head into Kansas City this weekend.

Remaining Games: @Chiefs (10-2), Buccaneers (5-7), @Chargers (9-3), Browns (4-7-1)

In The Hunt:

7. Miami Dolphins (6-6, 3-1)

The Dolphins just barely held off the Buffalo Bills Sunday to earn a division win and bump them up in the hunt to the playoffs.

Their next two matchups could throw a wrench in their postseason plans. 

Remaining Games: Patriots (9-3) @Vikings (6-5), Jacksonville (4-8), @Bills (4-8)

8. Indianapolis Colts (6-6, 2-2)

After a pretty surprising loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars Sunday, the Colts are now a full game back of the Ravens for the final wild card spot. Catching up to the Houston Texans as they sit atop of AFC South seems pretty far-fetched as well.

Remaining Games: @Texans (9-3), Cowboys (7-5), Giants (5-8), @Tennessee (6-6)

9. Denver Broncos (6-6, 2-2)

The Broncos are still alive after beating the Cincinnati Bengals 24-10 Sunday. Their remaining schedule and sitting third in the AFC West behind the Chiefs and Chargers doesn't do them any favors, however.

Remaining Games: @Niners (2-10), Browns (4-7-1), @Raiders (2-10), Chargers (9-3)

10. Tennessee Titans (6-6, 2-2)

The Titans barely got a win against the New York Jets in Week 13 and dropped two spots in the playoff picture.

Remaining Games: Jacksonville (4-8), @Giants (4-8), Redskins (5-7), Colts (6-6)

11. Cincinnati Bengals (5-7, 1-3)

The Bengals lost Andy Dalton to a thumb injury and now A.J. Green as the receiver must undergo season-ending toe surgery. They're also sitting third in the AFC North.

Remaining Games: @Chargers (9-3), Raiders (2-10), @Browns (4-7-1), @Steelers (7-4)

12. Cleveland Browns (4-7-1, 2-1-1)

The Browns don't have much hope at making the playoffs, but could rack up some more wins with their remaining schedule.

Remaining Games: Panthers (6-6), @Broncos (6-6), Bengals (5-7), @Ravens (7-5)

13. Buffalo Bills (4-8, 1-2)

Josh Allen was so close to getting a comeback win for the Bills on Sunday in their 21-17 loss. 

Remaining Games: Jets (3-9), Lions (4-8), @Patriots (9-3), Miami (6-6)

14. Jacksonville Jaguars (4-8, 1-3)

It only took two field goals for the Jaguars to beat a decent Colts team in Week 13. Their playoff hopes, however, are very slim.

Remaining Games: @Titans (6-6), Redskins (5-7), @Miami (6-6), @Texans (9-3) 

15. New York Jets (3-9, 0-4)

Being 0-4 in the division does nothing for your playoff chances. 

@Bills (3-9), Texans (9-3), Packers (4-7), @Patriots (9-3)

Eliminated: Oakland Raiders

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