The Playoff Chase

Plenty of teams are still in the playoff hunt as we enter week 16 of the season. The Chargers lost out on a golden opportunity to close in on a playoff berth and tie Oakland atop the AFC West with a loss in Buffalo. They remain at 8-6 and have one of the easier remaining schedules especially considering Priest Holmes is certain to be out. Only six teams will go to the playoffs, 4 of which are division leaders.

If the Chargers lose this week they are essentially out of the playoff hunt. The mantra is simple, win.

"We have to go and beat Kansas City," said strong safety Rodney Harrison. "It's a must-win. No ifs, ands or buts about it. No matter how you want to look at it. It's a 16-week season, but it comes down to one game right now."

Drew Brees stated: "I'm confident. I know we can win these next two games. And we're going to be riding high right at the playoffs and everyone is going to forget all about it."

The NY Jets, Kansas City Chiefs and Cleveland Browns all at 7-7 drop off the playoff map this week. They still have an outside chance but would need a miracle to get back in.

The Titans have the easiest schedule remaining following Miami, Baltimore, Pittsburgh and the Chargers who have lost the honor of easiest schedule from previous weeks.

Three games remain in the quest to make it to the playoffs and the chance to play in the Super Bowl in San Diego come January. Here are the teams still in the race for 6 playoff spots with opponents, (records), and schedule strength of the remaining opponents:

AFC WEST

San Diego Chargers (8-6):

@KC (7-7), Seattle (5-9). 12-16 .429

Oakland Raiders (9-5):

Denver (8-6), KC (7-7) 15-13 .536

Denver Broncos (8-6):

@Oak (9-5), Arizona (5-9). 14-14 .500

AFC EAST

Miami Dolphins (9-5):

@Minnesota (4-10), @NE (8-6). 12-16 .429

New England Patriots (8-6):

Jets (7-7), Miami (9-5). 16-12 .571

AFC NORTH

Pittsburgh Steelers (8-5-1):

@Tampa Bay (11-3), Balt (7-7). 18-10 .643

AFC SOUTH

Indianapolis Colts (9-5):

N.Y. Giants (8-6), J'ville (6-8). 14-14 .500

Tennessee Titans (9-5):

@J'ville (6-8), @Houston (4-10). 10-18 .357

The first criterion for breaking division ties is head-to-head results. Updates will follow every week.

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