AFC Playoff Picture: Chargers in range to strike, but Baltimore solidify #6 seed

With four weeks left the AFC playoff picture is starting to take shape, except in the AFC West

Pittsburgh claimed a big win in a vicious and violent Monday night affair against the Cincinnati Bengals, but it came at a cost with Ryan Shazier suffering a scary spine injury. New England also picked up another win, beating Buffalo 23-3. The two meet in Week 15 in a game that should end up settling home field advantage in the AFC.

Behind them the Jaguars and Titans both won to keep the AFC South race tight, though Jacksonville’s 30-10 win over Indy was far more convincing than Tennessee’s 24-13 win over Houston. Both sides are 8-4 and face off in Week 17 in Jacksonville.

In the AFC West, Kansas City found a new way to screw up their season, imploding late on against the New York Jets to lose 38-31, while the Chargers and Raiders both won to move into a three-way tie at 6-6. With the Ravens moving to 7-5 in the #6 seed there is only going to be one AFC West team in the playoffs, and the Chiefs are in the worst form imaginable right now.

Playoff standings

SeedTeamRecordWin %Tie Break
1Pittsburgh Steelers10-2.833Win percentage in common games over New England
2New England Patriots10-2.833
3Tennessee Titans8-4.667Head-to-head over Jacksonville
4Kansas City Chiefs6-6.500Win percentage in division games over LA & Oakland
5Jacksonville Jaguars8-4.667
6Baltimore Ravens7-5.583
7Los Angeles Chargers6-6.500Head-to-head over Buffalo & Oakland
8Buffalo Bills6-6.500Head-to-head over Oakland
9Oakland Raiders6-6.500
10New York Jets5-7.417Win percentage in division games over Miami, win percentage in conference games over Cincinnati 
11Miami Dolphins5-7.417Win percentage in conference games over Cincinnati
12Cincinnati Bengals5-7.417
13Houston Texans4-8.333
14Indianapolis Colts3-9.250Win percentage in conference games over Denver
15Denver Broncos3-9.250
16Cleveland Browns0-12.000

Key Week 14 fixtures

With so few games left and several teams separated only by tie breakers this week has several key games in the playoff race.

Oakland Raiders @ Kansas City Chiefs

The Raiders take the worst defense in the NFL into Arrowhead to face a Chiefs team in disarray. While the offense looked somewhat rejuvenated now that offensive coordinator Matt Nagy is calling the plays rather than Andy Reid, the Chiefs defense has been a sieve all year. The Raiders will get Michael Crabtree back for this one, and given the poor play from Darrelle Revis on Sunday it is safe to say that the Chiefs #2 cornerback spot is still a big problem.

Washington Redskins @ Los Angeles Chargers

The other AFC West team at 6-6 is the Chargers, who have gone 6-2 in their last eight games and are on a roll. Keenan Allen has been unstoppable of late, catching 33 passes for 436 yards and four touchdowns in the last three games. However, the Redskins have been a tough team to beat all year, with their losses coming to the likes of Philadelphia, Minnesota, and New Orleans. Kirk Cousins is in fine form and it should be a very close battle between he and Phil Rivers. The tie breaker may be the injuries to the ‘Skins offensive line, which will give Joey Bosa plenty of chances to hit Cousins.

Seattle Seahawks @ Jacksonville Jaguars

The Seahawks defense is rolling despite the loss of Richard Sherman and Kam Chancellor. Bobby Wagner is playing at an incredible level at middle linebacker, while Russell Wilson continues to create magic on the offense. Jacksonville’s defense has been very good, but even they will have their hands full with Wilson. Seattle showed that they can still beat anyone on their day last week, and while a loss wouldn’t knock Jacksonville out of playoff contention it would severely damage their chances of winning the AFC South.

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Toby Durant

Deputy Editor at RealSport. A life-long gamer, I have been with RealSport since 2016 and spent time covering the world of Formula 1, NFL, and football for the site before expanding into esports.


I lead the site's coverage of motorsport titles with a particular focus on Formula 1. I also lead RealSport's Madden content while occasionally dipping my toe into Football Manager and esports coverage of Gfinity Series events.