AFC Playoffs Picture
As the NFL heads into Week 13, this is as good a time as any to look at the AFC playoff picture, especially in light of the Week 12 games. There is little point in talking about the Patriots Odds for AFC Playoffs.
For all their troubles, the Patriots always deliver. Though, it is worth mentioning that New England is sharing that top spot with the Pittsburgh Steelers who are also going into Week 13 with a record of 9-2.
There is quite a gap between the Steelers and the Patriots and every other team trailing behind. 2017 has manifested an interesting blend of good teams and mediocre teams. And there’s still a lot of football to be played, which means there are plenty of predictions that can still be made about the future of this season.
The Steelers were able to keep their hopes for the playoffs burning by beating the Packers on Sunday. Right now, they stand a chance of bringing the AFC North race to an end by beating the Bengals next week.
Of course, that assumes that the Ravens lose their next two games against the Texans and the Lions. It could happen.
The New England Patriots’ victory over the Dolphins cemented their 3-game lead in the East. There are still five games to play but the AFC East race could end next week if New England beats the Bills.
In the South, the Titans made a few gains on the Jaguars, partly because of their own abilities and partly because of the Jaguars missteps. While Tennessee managed to edge the Colts out of the picture, the Jaguars dropped points in Arizona and gave the Titans plenty of room to leapfrog to the top of the AFC South.
The Chiefs are in an interesting position. Their 1-5 slump in the last six games is disturbing but they are still leading the AFC West. But all anyone wants to talk about these days is the imminent promotion of rookie Patrick Mahomes II and for good reason.
QB Alex Smith has struggled for so long that it might be time to bench him. However, with their advantage down to one game over the Chargers and with a Chargers game coming up in Week 15, it might make more sense to stick with a tried commodity like Smith. Smith definitely needs to go but it is a decision the Chiefs must make soon.
People have yet to write the Jaguars off. Sure, their 4-game winning streak was finally ended. And sure, they have been forced into second place in the South. But the team has three consecutive games at home waiting for them. That is the sort of advantage they could use to change the headlines, especially if their game against the Colts pans out as well as they expect.
The Buffalo Bills did well in defeating the Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium. But they are not out of trouble yet. Right now, the Bills are watching the Ravens who could match their 6-5 record if they beat the Texans on Monday Night. More importantly, they will own a tiebreaker.
It is difficult to figure out how things will pan out for the Bills in the long run.

AFC Playoff Picture

1. Pittsburgh Steelers (9-2)
Remaining Games: at Bengals (5-6), vs. Ravens (5-5), vs. Patriots (9-2), at Texans (4-6), vs. Browns (0-11)
2. New England Patriots (9-2)
Remaining Games: at Bills (6-5), at Dolphins (4-7), at Steelers (8-2), vs. Bills (6-5), vs. Jets (4-7)
3. Tennessee Titans (7-4)
Remaining Games: vs. Texans (4-6), at Cardinals (5-6), at 49ers (1-10), vs. Rams (8-3), vs. Jaguars (7-4)
4. Kansas City Chiefs (6-5)
Remaining Games: at Jets (4-7), vs. Raiders (5-6), vs. Chargers (5-6), vs. Dolphins (4-7), at Broncos (3-8)
5. Jacksonville Jaguars (7-4)
Remaining Games: vs. Colts (3-8), vs. Seahawks (7-4), vs. Texans (4-6), at 49ers (1-10), at Titans (7-4)
6. Buffalo Bills (6-5)
Remaining Games: vs. Patriots (9-2), vs. Colts (3-8), vs. Dolphins (4-7), at Patriots (9-2), at Dolphins (4-7)
7. Baltimore Ravens - 5-5
8. Cincinnati Bengals - 5-6
9. Los Angeles Chargers - 5-6
10. Oakland Raiders - 5-6