Snapshot of AFC playoff picture: Top five seeds locked into postseason, but ultimate seeding still to be determined
|12.23.13 at 5:10 pm ET|
With one week to go in the regular season, the top five seeds are locked into the playoffs, but there are still plenty of questions about who might end up where. In addition, there’s a race between four teams for the final playoff spot. Here’s a breakdown of what lies ahead, as well as the odds of who is mostly likely to finish where, per Playoff Status:
1. Broncos (12-3): Clinched first-round bye. Sunday at Raiders (4-11). Denver can clinch the No. 1 seed and home-fleld advantage throughout the playoffs with a win in Oakland or a Patriots’ loss or tie. Playoff Status says the Broncos have an 88 percent chance of taking the top seed, and 12 percent at No. 2.
2. Patriots. (11-4): Clinched AFC East. Sunday vs. Bills (6-9). New England can clinch a first-round bye with a win or a tie against Buffalo; or a Cincinnati loss or a tie or an Indianapolis loss or a tie. The Patriots can clinch the No. 1 seed and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs if they win and the Broncos lose. Playoff Status gives the Patriots a 12 percent chance at landing the top spot, a 73 percent chance at No. 2 and a 5 percent chance at the third seed.
3. Bengals (10-5): Clinched AFC North: Sunday vs. Ravens (8-7). Cincinnati can clinch a first-round bye with a win over the Ravens and a New England loss to Buffalo. Playoff Status has the Bengals at 11 percent for No. 2, 65 percent for No. 3 and 24 percent for No. 4.
4. Colts (10-5): Clinched AFC South: Sunday at Jaguars (4-11). Indy can clinch a first-round bye with a win over the Jaguars, combined with a Patriots loss to the Bills and a Bengals loss or tie against the Ravens. Playoff Status says it’s likely the Colts end up with the four spot (66 percent), while they still have a shot to either go up to No. 2 (4 percent) or No. 3 (31 percent).
5. Chiefs (11-4): Clinched playoff berth: Sunday at Chargers (8-7). Regardless of what happens around them, Kansas City is locked into the five spot as the lead wild card entry.
6. Dolphins (8-7): Currently sixth seed: Sunday vs. Jets (7-8). Miami can clinch a playoff spot with one of the following four scenarios: a win and Baltimore loss or a tie; a win and a San Diego win; a tie, a Baltimore loss and a San Diego loss or tie; or a tie, Baltimore tie and San Diego tie. Playoff Status likes the Dolphins as the best bet to land the final playoff spot, giving them a 58 percent chance at the No. 6 seed.
7. Ravens (8-7): Currently seventh seed: Sunday at Bengals (10-5). Baltimore can clinch a playoff spot with one of the following five scenarios: a win and a San Diego loss or tie; a win and a Miami loss or tie; a tie, Miami loss or San Diego loss or tie; a tie, Miami tie and San Diego loss; or a Miami loss, San Diego loss and Pittsburgh loss or tie. Playoff Status has them at 22 percent to reach the postseason.
8. Chargers (8-7): Currently eighth seed: Sunday vs. Chiefs (11-4). San Diego can clinch a playoff spot with one of the following two scenarios: a win, Miami loss or tie and Baltimore loss or tie; or a tie, Miami loss and Baltimore loss. A ten percent chance at the playoffs, per Playoff Status.
9. Steelers (7-8): Currently ninth seed: Sunday vs. Browns (4-11). Pittsburgh can clinch a playoff spot with the following scenario: a win, Miami loss, Baltimore loss and San Diego loss. Playoff Status has them at 9 percent.