The New England Patriots and the Baltimore Ravens both clinched spots in the 2011 playoffs this evening as the Patriots beat the Denver Broncos 41-23 in Denver to clinch the AFC East, and the Ravens clinched a playoff spot in addition. There were several scenarios that could have helped the Ravens today and they had their pick of them to choose from as the Broncos, New York Jets, Oakland Raiders and Tennessee Titans all lost today.
Heading into the weekend only the Houston Texans had clinched a playoff spot on the AFC side and they were joined by the Pittsburgh Steelers earlier in the day as the Indianapolis Colts knocked off the Titans. The Cincinnati Bengals climbed back into the AFC wildcard picture today after beating the St. Louis Rams earlier in the day and they now sit tied with the Jets at 8-6 with two weeks remaining in the regular season.
The San Diego Chargers look to try to hang on to their playoff hopes as they host the Ravens tonight at home. A win by the Chargers would put the Steelers in control of their own home-field destiny throughout the playoffs thanks to the loss by the Texans today. The Steelers would likely have to win out against the 49ers, Rams and Cleveland Browns, with the 49ers first up on Monday night out in San Francisco.