Editor’s Note: This is the AFC edition of the playoff scenarios. The NFC edition can be found here.
As the fantasy football season winds down, we turn our attention to who’s in and who’s out of the playoffs. Since the NFC still has some moving pieces in tonight’s Monday Night game (preview coming later). Here’s how your team looks headed into week 17. Our picks and preview will come later in the week, but here’s a look at what’s at stake…
1. Patriots: They’ve clinched a playoff spot, the AFC East, and a round 1 bye. If they win at Buffalo they will be the #1 seed and have home-field throughout.
2. Ravens: They’re in the playoffs for sure can can wrap up the AFC North and a bye in the first round by beating Cincinatti.
3. Texans: Houston is the 3 seed regardless of what happens Sunday and will host the #6 in the Wild Card round.
4. Broncos: If Tim Tebow can beat Kyle Orton and the visiting Chiefs in Denver on Sunday they’re in as the 4 see. If they lose and Oakland wins, the Raiders win the West. If both teams lose, Denver backs into the playoffs.
5. Steelers: Pittsburgh is in the playoffs for sure and with a win and a Baltimore loss can take the division and the first round bye. That would be huge for an ailing Big Ben, but they need to win and get help.
6. Bengals: Marvin Lewis’s team controls their own destiny. If they beat the Ravens (who still have plenty to play for) in Cincinnati they’re in. If they lose, the tiebreaker won’t get them in unless the Raiders and Jets lose as well. Andy Dalton-it’s come down to this.
7. Raiders: Oakland is outside looking in right now, but they can get in by winning the division if Denver loses and they win or they can get the wildcard if they win, Denver wins, Cincinnati loses, the Jets win, and the Titans win… in other words, they need Denver to lose.
8. Titans: Tennessee is still in it, but they need to win and have the Bengals lose, the Jets lose, and the Raiders win.
9. Jets: Believe it or not, even after getting trounced by the Giants they Jets still have an outside shot at the wildcard. They need to beat Miami (no easy task) and have the Bengals, Titans, and either the Raiders or Broncos lose. They need a lot of help in other words…
Those are all the teams in the AFC that have a shot at the playoffs. It should be an interesting final week to be sure with plenty still on the line. Tomorrow, we’ll look at the NFC playoff picture and then Thursday and Friday we’ll have our final mega-preview of the regular season where I’ll pick every game against the spread and analyze the matchups to see who’s in and who’s out of the playoffs.