A Guide to the Crowded AFC Playoff Picture: Week 11

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Headed into week 11, the AFC playoff picture is about as tight as it could be. Aside from the 8-2 Titans, 11 different teams are currently battling for postseason berths. To help organize the chaos, this article will put the playoff hopefuls into one of three tiers: In the drivers seat, fighting for the division, and in the wild card hunt. With 8 more weeks of chaos to come, multiple teams will surely move up and down the scale on a weekly basis.

Tier 1: In The Drivers Seat

This tier consists of teams who currently have the most control over their own destiny. If they do what they are expected to do throughout the remainder of the season, punching a postseason ticket should be no problem for the teams listed here.

Tennessee Titans: 8-2

The Titans continue to not only survive, but thrive without their star running back Derrick Henry. Tennessee picked up a 23-21 victory over the Saints on Sunday, and now have a solid 3 game division lead. In addition, they managed to win both games over the second place Colts, giving them the tie breaker over the only other true threat in the division. 5 of the Titans 7 remaining opponents currently have a record under .500, so it would take a true collapse for Mike Vrabel’s team to miss the playoffs.

Baltimore Ravens: 6-3

Despite coming off an upset loss to the Dolphins and only a .5 game division lead, the Ravens still control their own destiny. Baltimore has looked liked the most well rounded team in the AFC North, and with the division slowly collapsing around them, it seems like the division crown is theirs to lose. Things will become more clear once they play the Steelers and finish out the rest of their division schedule, but for now, the Ravens stand slightly above the rest of the North.

Tier 2: Fighting for the Division

This tier features teams who are currently locked in a tight division battle where neither team has stood out. Some of these divisions could change hands 3, 4, even 5 times before the season ends, meaning nobody has room for error.

Buffalo Bills: 6-3 and New England Patriots: 6-4

Just 4 weeks ago, it looked as if Buffalo had a chance to run away with the division. But after the Bills shocking upset loss to Jacksonville and a 4 game win streak by the Patriots, the AFC East is now up for grabs. The winner of the division will likely be decided by who wins the two head to head match ups Buffalo and New England have left on the schedule, which sets up an exciting race to the finish.

Las Angles Chargers: 5-4 and Kansas City Chiefs: 6-4

After a dominating win against the Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday, the Chiefs snatched back a half game lead in the AFC West. However, the Chargers won the first head to head match up between these two teams, which gives Las Angles a leg up. The Chiefs do not play a single team under .500 the rest of the way, so this divisional race could remain tight right down to the wire.

Pittsburgh Steelers: 5-3-1

The Steelers sneak into this tier solely because they have two games against the Ravens left to play. While a tie against the winless Lions on Sunday did not do much to inspire confidence, Pittsburgh still has an elite defense and a Hall of Fame QB at the helm. They have a chance to make some noise in the coming weeks, but there are still plenty of problems to figure out.

Wild Card Hunt

This tier is reserved for teams who may have an outside chance of winning the division, but will more likely make the playoffs as a Wild Card.

Las Vegas Raiders: 5-4, Cincinnati Bengals: 5-4, Cleveland Browns: 5-5

All three of these teams are coming off of brutal defeats. The Raiders, Bengals, and Browns have all shown promise at certain points of the season, but have lacked the consistency needed to be true division threats. All three teams play each other in the upcoming weeks, so there is a chance for one team to take charge of the situation and greatly improve their chances of making the playoffs.

Denver Broncos: 5-5 and Indianapolis Colts: 5-5

While there is obviously still hope for these two squads, they have done little to inspire confidence. The Colts have yet to beat a team with a winning record, while the Broncos have a remarkably tough schedule ahead of them. It will take quite a few upsets and a little bit of help for the Colts and/or Broncos to slip into the playoffs, but they are certainly still alive as of now.

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  1. Pingback: NFL Week 11 Schedule/Scores/Standings - Championship Sports Media

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