AFC playoff picture: How things look for Patriots, others following Week 15

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The Off Day. Ep. 203: Takeaways from Patriots' loss to Colts
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Although there are still two games remaining in Week 15, the AFC playoff picture is clear since both games involve NFC teams.

Once again, the standings changed a great deal this week since all the teams are so bunched, including a new No. 1 seed emerging in the Chiefs. They have seemed to have separated themselves a bit from the rest of the conference thanks to their defense continuing to play at a high level, but also the offense getting back on track.

According to FiveThirtyEight, New England currently has a 98% chance of making the playoffs, 67% chance of winning the division, but only a 23% chance of getting a first-round bye.

Here’s how the conference looks following Week 15 action.

1. Kansas City 10-4
Remaining games: vs. Steelers, at Bengals, at Broncos

2. New England 9-5
Remaining games: vs. Bills, vs. Jaguars, at Dolphins

3. Tennessee 9-5
Remaining games: vs. 49ers, vs. Dolphins, at Texans

4. Cincinnati 8-6
Remaining games: vs. Ravens, vs. Chiefs, at Browns

5. Indianapolis 8-6
Remaining games: at Cardinals, vs. Raiders, at Jaguars

6. L.A. Chargers 8-6
Remaining games: at Texans, vs. Broncos, at Raiders

7. Buffalo 8-6
Remaining games: at Patriots, vs. Falcons, vs. Jets

IN THE HUNT

8. Baltimore 8-6
Remaining games: at Bengals, vs. Rams, vs. Steelers

9. Pittsburgh 7-6-1
Remaining games: at Chiefs, vs. Browns, at Ravens

10. Las Vegas 7-7
Remaining games: vs. Broncos, at Colts, vs. Chargers

11. Miami 7-7
Remaining games: at Saints, at Titans, vs. Patriots

12. Cleveland 7-7
Remaining games: at Packers, at Steelers, vs. Bengals

13. Denver 7-7
Remaining games: at Raiders, at Chargers, vs. Chiefs

ANALYSIS

With their loss to the Colts and the Chiefs beating the Chargers, the Patriots have fallen out of first place in the conference. This week’s game against the Bills is pretty much the AFC East championship game. Whichever team wins will control their own destiny the remainder of the season. … Although they lost last week, the Chargers are in a good spot going into the final three weeks of the season with games against the Texans, Broncos and Raiders (all very winnable games). … The AFC North is fascinating as it has the entire conference in the playoff mix, but it’s also possible that just one team ultimately makes the postseason. … In terms of teams outside the playoff picture looking in, every team has a difficult schedule, which will make it tough to sneak back in.

Featured Image Photo Credit: USA Today Sports