Dec 15, 2013; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) reacts during the fourth quarter against the Miami Dolphins at Sun Life Stadium. The Dolphins won 24-20. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

AFC Playoff Picture Heading Into Week 16

Dec 16, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; Baltimore Ravens kicker Justin Tucker (9) celebrates after kicking a 61 yard field goal during the fourth quarter against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Baltimore Ravens defeated the Detroit Lions 18-16. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Only two games remain on the NFL schedule, and it finally appears that the AFC playoff picture is settling into form. The three top teams all fell last week, each failing to capitalize on one another’s mistakes. The Broncos lost to the Chargers, opening up an opportunity for the Patriots to slide into the number one spot, but Tom Brady’s Pats fell to the Miami Dolphins. This then gave the Bengals a chance to take over the second slot, but the Steelers topped them on Sunday Night Football. This left us exactly where we started from in week 15, which is great news for Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos (they definitely don’t want to revisit Foxboro after what happened last time).

Here are the current AFC playoff standings.

1. Denver Broncos (11-3)

2. New England Patriots (10-4)

3. Cincinnati Bengals (9-5)

4. Indianapolis Colts (9-5)

5. Kansas City Chiefs (11-3)

6. Baltimore Ravens (8-6)

The Dolphins and Chargers are still in a dogfight with Baltimore for that final playoff spot, as they are both just one game behind the Ravens. Both will be huge Patriot fans next week, as they will need New England to take down the Ravens for them to have any chance at getting into the tournament.

I highly doubt the Broncos will slip up against either the Raiders or Texans, making the one seed just about sealed up. The Patriots control their own destiny for the second spot, although they have a tough task ahead of them in facing the Ravens. The Bengals still have a shot at gaining that two seed, as they own the tiebreaker over New England, but they also could slide all the way down to the sixth slot, if Baltimore manages to win out. The Colts also will be trying to overtake Cincinnati for the third seed, as nobody wants to face the Kansas City Chiefs right now.

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