Here’s a look at the AFC playoff picture heading into the next-to-last week of the regular season (via the NFL):
1. Denver Broncos (11-3): AFC West leader *
2. New England Patriots (10-4): AFC East leader
3. Cincinnati Bengals (9-5): AFC North leader
4. Indianapolis Colts (9-5): AFC South winner *
5. Kansas City Chiefs (11-3): wild card *
6. Baltimore Ravens (8-6): wild card
Teams in the mix: Miami Dolphins (8-6), San Diego Chargers (7-7), Pittsburgh Steelers (6-8)
(* clinched playoff berth)
Denver has the division title and a first-round bye riding on the weekend if it can win and Kansas City loses. If New England also loses, the Broncos would clinch home-field advantage.
New England can clinch the AFC East with a win or tie, or a Miami loss or tie. (A Cincinnati loss would also clinch a playoff spot for the Patriots). The Patriots clinch a first-round bye with a win, Cincinnati loss or tie and an Indianapolis loss or tie; or a tie and losses by Cincinnati and Indianapolis.
Cincinnati would clinch the AFC North with a win plus a Baltimore loss or tie, or a tie and Baltimore loss. The Bengals can secure a playoff spot with a win and a Miami loss or tie, or a tie and a Miami loss.
Baltimore can clinch a playoff spot with a victory plus a Miami loss and a San Diego loss or tie.
Miami is in the playoffs with a victory plus losses by Baltimore and Cincinnati.
San Diego must win and hope the Raven and Dolphins lose.
Pittsburgh, at 6-8, must win and hope for apocalyptic result across the board to stay alive for Week 17.