AFC playoff race: 12 teams still alive

No team in the AFC has clinched a spot in the playoffs yet, but 12 teams are still fighting for six spots. Here is a look at the AFC playoff race.

With three weeks left in the NFL regular season, 12 of the 16 teams in the AFC are still mathematically alive for the six playoff spots available in the conference.

All six AFC playoff spots are still to be determined, as no team has clinched a postseason berth.

Here are the AFC teams that can clinch something in Week 15:

DENVER BRONCOS (at San Diego)

Denver clinches AFC West division with:
1)
DEN win or tie

Denver clinches a first-round bye with:
1) DEN win + IND loss + CIN loss + PIT loss or tie OR
2) DEN win + IND loss + CIN loss + DEN clinches strength of victory tiebreaker over PIT

Denver clinches a playoff spot with:
1) MIA loss or tie + HOU loss or tie + CIN loss + PIT loss OR
2) MIA loss or tie + HOU loss or tie + BAL loss + CLE loss or tie OR
3) MIA loss or tie + HOU loss or tie + BAL loss + PIT win

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (vs. Miami)
New England clinches AFC East division with:
1) NE win or tie

New England clinches a first round bye with:
1) NE win + IND loss + PIT loss or tie + CIN loss or tie OR
2) NE win + IND loss + PIT loss or tie + DEN loss

New England clinches a playoff spot with:
1) BUF loss or tie + CIN loss + PIT loss + BAL loss + HOU loss or tie OR
2) BUF loss or tie + CIN loss + PIT loss + KC loss or tie + SD loss OR
3) BUF loss or tie + HOU loss or tie + KC loss or tie + SD loss + BAL loss

INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (vs. Houston)
Indianapolis clinches AFC South division with:
1) IND win or tie

The current seeding in the AFC is as follows: New England Patriots (10-3) at No. 1 and Denver Broncos (10-3) and No. 2 – the top two spots at the end of the season will have a first-round bye – followed by the Indianapolis Colts (9-4), Cincinnati Bengals (8-4-1), Pittsburgh Steelers (8-5) and San Diego Chargers (8-5).

The following are the records of AFC playoff contenders, their remaining games and their wins and losses against other AFC playoff hopefuls:

AFC EAST
TEAM/GAMES VS. AFC CONTENDERS OVERALLDIV. CONF.WK. 15 WK. 16WK. 17
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS 10-32-1 7-2Mia at NYJBuf
Wins: Buf, Cin, Den, Ind, SD; Losses: KC, Mia         
 
MIAMI DOLPHINS 7-63-1 6-4at NE MinNYJ
Wins: Buf, NE, SD; Losses: Bal, Buf, Den, KC         
 
BUFFALO BILLS 7-63-2 4-6GB at Oakat NE
Wins: Cle, Mia; Losses: Den, Hou, KC, Mia, NE, SD         
 
AFC NORTH
TEAM/GAMES VS. AFC CONTENDERS OVERALLDIV. CONF.WK. 15 WK. 16WK. 17
CINCINNATI BENGALS 8-4-12-2 5-4at Cle Denat Pit
Wins: Bal (2), Hou; Losses: Cle, Ind, NE, Pit         
 
PITTSBURGH STEELERS 8-53-2 7-3at Atl KCCin
Wins: Bal, Cin, Cle, Hou, Ind; Losses: Bal, Cle         
 
BALTIMORE RAVENS 8-52-3 4-5Jax at HouCle
Wins: Cle, Mia, Pit; Losses: Cin (2), Ind, Pit, SD         
 
CLEVELAND BROWNS 7-62-2 4-6Cin at Carat Bal
Wins: Cin, Pit; Losses: Bal, Buf, Hou, Ind, Pit         
 
AFC SOUTH
TEAM/GAMES VS. AFC CONTENDERS OVERALLDIV. CONF.WK. 15 WK. 16WK. 17
INDIANAPOLIS COLTS 9-44-0 7-3Hou at Dalat Ten
Wins: Bal, Cin, Cle, Hou; Losses: Den, NE, Pit         
 
HOUSTON TEXANS 7-63-1 6-3at Ind BalJax
Wins: Buf, Cle; Losses: Cin, Ind, Pit         
 
AFC WEST
TEAM/GAMES VS. AFC CONTENDERS OVERALLDIV. CONF.WK. 15 WK. 16WK. 17
DENVER BRONCOS 10-34-0 8-1at SD at CinOak
Wins: Buf, Ind, KC (2), Mia, SD; Losses: NE         
 
SAN DIEGO CHARGERS 8-52-2 6-4Den at SFat KC
Wins: Bal, Buf; Losses: Den, KC, Mia, NE         
 
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS 7-61-3 5-4Oak at PitSD
Wins: Buf, Mia, NE, SD; Losses: Den (2)        

To break a tie within a division, the top four tie-breaking factors are:
1. Head-to-head (best won-lost-tied percentage in games between the clubs).
2. Best won-lost-tied percentage in games played within the division.
3. Best won-lost-tied percentage in common games.
4. Best won-lost-tied percentage in games played within the conference.

To break a tie between two clubs for the Wild Card spots, the top tie-breaking factors are:
1. If the tied clubs are from the same division, apply division tie breaker.
2. If the tied clubs are from different divisions, apply the following steps.
a. Head-to-head, if applicable.
b. Best won-lost-tied percentage in games played within the conference.
c. Best won-lost-tied percentage in common games, minimum of four.
d. Strength of victory.

Read NFC Playoff Race: 12 Teams Still Alive here.


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