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AFC Playoff Picture: Updating the rankings heading into Week 17

Taking a look at the latest AFC Playoff Picture heading into Week 17.

NFL: Cincinnati Bengals at New England Patriots David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

It is hard to believe, but the NFL regular season is winding down. With only 2 weeks left in the regular season, it is time to start looking ahead to the postseason. In other words, taking a look at the latest AFC Playoff Picture.

For some of the teams listed below the word playoffs is not just foreign, but also something which is nothing more than a pipe dream. Nonetheless, until that asterisk resides next to their favorite team’s name, signifying mathematical elimination from the postseason, there is still hope.

Let’s take a look at the latest Playoff Picture for the AFC:

Division Leaders:

1. Buffalo Bills (12-3) *

2. Kansas City Chiefs (12-3) *

3. Cincinnati Bengals (11-4) +

4. Jacksonville Jaguars (7-8)

Wild Cards:

5. Baltimore Ravens (10-5) +

6. Los Angeles Chargers (9-6) +

7. Miami Dolphins (8-7)

*- Clinched Division

+- Clinched Playoff Berth

In the Hunt:

8. New England Patriots (7-8)

9. New York Jets (7-8)

10. Tennessee Titans (7-8)

11. Pittsburgh Steelers (7-8)

12. Las Vegas Raiders (6-9)


Houston Texans

Denver Broncos

Indianapolis Colts

Cleveland Browns

For teams like the Pittsburgh Steelers, a 7-8 record is far from inspiring when it comes to playoff potential. The loss to the Baltimore Ravens in Week 14 was a crippling blow to the team’s hopes of a playoff berth, but back-to-back wins over the Carolina Panthers in Week 15 and the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 16, along with some help around the league, has the team still clinging to hope. While not mathematically eliminated yet, the margin for error is razor thin. To be specific, it seems as if the Steelers need to win out, and help, to stand a chance at getting into postseason play. Nonetheless, a win over the Baltimore Ravens in Week 17 would move their record to 8-8 and would help give the global fan base a little bit of hope, but they’ll still need help before they kickoff on Sunday Night Football.