We have a tight race for the NFL playoffs in the AFC with 10 teams notching a .500 or better record heading into Week 14. The Kansas City Chiefs sit alone atop the AFC at 10-2. After that, the New England Patriots, Houston Texans and Los Angeles Chargers are all 9-3. The Patriots hold the edge in the tiebreakers as of now. Even though the Chargers have a better record than the Steelers, Pittsburgh is slotted one spot higher because they are division leaders.
Here’s how the NFL outlines the tiebreakers for two teams tied for a Wild Card spot.
If the tied clubs are from the same division, apply division tie breaker.
If the tied clubs are from different divisions, apply the following steps.
1. Head-to-head, if applicable.
2. Best won-lost-tied percentage in games played within the conference.
3. Best won-lost-tied percentage in common games, minimum of four.
4. Strength of victory.
5. Strength of schedule.
6. Best combined ranking among conference teams in points scored and points allowed.
7. Best combined ranking among all teams in points scored and points allowed.
8. Best net points in conference games.
9. Best net points in all games.
10. Best net touchdowns in all games.
11. Coin toss.
While the majority of AFC games in Week 14 will have some impact on the standings, there are just a couple games that feature two AFC playoff contenders that will have a major impact on the playoff seeding.
The Texans host the Colts as Houston looks to continue their quest in securing a first-round bye. Indianapolis is currently on the outside looking into the postseason but are still very much in the running for a Wild Card spot.
The Chiefs take on the Ravens in what could be a preview of the NFL playoffs. Kansas City is likely to have a first-round bye, while Baltimore is just barely holding on to the final spot. Miami squares off with New England as the Dolphins try to help their postseason chances.
FiveThirtyEight’s projections give these six teams the best chance to make the playoffs: Chiefs, Patriots, Texans, Chargers, Steelers and Ravens.
Football Outsiders provides a detailed breakdown of each team’s playoff chances. For those AFC teams currently outside the playoffs, a few teams are given the best chance to break through the long odds. The Broncos find themselves in a difficult AFC West, but have a 29.8 percent chance of making the playoffs. The Colts have a 16.7 percent chance to make the postseason, while the Dolphins have a 9.6 percent chance.
Here’s a look at the latest AFC playoff standings.
AFC Playoff Standings
|1. Kansas City Chiefs||10||2||0|
|2. New England Patriots||9||3||0|
|3. Houston Texans||9||3||0|
|4. Pittsburgh Steelers||7||4||1|
|5. L.A. Chargers||9||3||0|
|6. Baltimore Ravens||7||5||0|
|7. Miami Dolphins||6||6||0|
|8. Indianapolis Colts||6||6||0|
|9. Denver Broncos||6||6||0|
|10. Tennessee Titans||6||6||0|
|11. Cincinnati Bengals||5||7||0|
|12. Cleveland Browns||4||7||1|
|13. Buffalo Bills||4||8||0|
|14. Jacksonville Jaguars||4||8||0|
|15. New York Jets||3||9||0|
|16. Oakland Raiders||2||10||0|
AFC Playoff Matchups Based on Current Standings
No. 1 Kansas City Chiefs (Bye)
No. 2 New England Patriots (Bye)
No. 6 Baltimore Ravens vs. No. 3 Houston Texans
No. 5 L.A. Chargers vs. No. 4 Pittsburgh Steelers
Source: Heavy Sports