AFC Playoff Picture: three big games in Week 12 will begin to separate contenders

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sport

Sorting out the logjam for the sixth seed in the AFC Playoffs takes a bit of work. Here are the key games in Week 12 for playoff positioning.

The playoff picture will be much less murky by the end of the afternoon games Sunday. For now, here are the key games in the AFC playoff picture - which is jam-packed from 6-14. Only 1.5 games separates the current sixth-seed from 14th place.

Pittsburgh at Cleveland - the Browns and Steelers kick off at 1 p.m. ET from FirstEnergy Stadium. Both teams are 4-6, with the Steelers currently 10th in the AFC, winning tie breakers over Cleveland and Baltimore due to a 1-0 edge over the Ravens in head-to-head, then a better record against common opponents against Cleveland. Since the teams play today, that won't be the reason after the game.

Carolina at Miami - The Dolphins host the league's hottest team, the Panthers. Miami has managed to remain competitive despite the internal turmoil that's engulfing the team. The Steelers have Baltimore on Thanksgiving, then yet another huge AFC game against Miami in Week 14.

Jets at Baltimore - The Jets have the sixth seed right now by virtue of their 5-5 record and a divisional win percentage advantage over Miami, the seventh seed. A Jets win puts them at best one game over the Steelers. A Ravens win brings them to 5-6.

Tennessee at Oakland - The Raiders are the eighth seed heading into Week 12, and own a tiebreaker over the Steelers based on their Week 8 win. The Titans do as well. Conference losses can come back to haunt, but a Steelers win will put them ahead of the loser of this game.

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