AFC Shaping Up As A 9 Team Race For The 6 Playoff Spots With 7 Weeks To Go

Week 10 of the 2012 NFL season will be in the books later on tonight after the Pittsburgh Steelers take on the Kansas City Chiefs, and with 7 weeks of regular season action remaining, it is already shaping up to be a nine team race for the six playoff spots in the mediocre AFC. Regardless of the outcome of the Monday night game, only 6 of the 16 AFC teams will have a winning record entering Week 11.

While no team is yet mathematically eliminated, you have to think that the New York Jets, Oakland Raiders, and the Buffalo Bills now join the likes of the Cleveland Browns, Chiefs, and the Jacksonville Jaguars as teams that will not make the playoffs this year following each getting their 6th loss on Sunday.

The Tennessee Titans and the Cincinnati Bengals both are hanging on by a thread following their decisive victories on Sunday while the San Diego Chargers and the Miami Dolphins are both moving in the wrong direction right now.

The Chargers have a brutal three game stretch coming up that has them facing the Denver Broncos, Baltimore Ravens, and the Bengals. Two losses in those three games would put them with 7 losses on the season and they would then need a lot of help to sneak into a Wild Card spot.

The Dolphins still have to play the New England Patriots twice as well as the San Francisco 49ers and the Seattle Seahawks. Losing two or more of those four games would pretty much end their season as well.

The Titans still have games left against the Houston Texans and the Green Bay Packers, and with 6 losses already on the books, they pretty much need to go 7-1 the rest of the way at worst in order to have a tiny chance at making the playoffs.

That leaves us with Bengals, who currently sit at 4-5 following their impressive victory over the New York Giants on Sunday. They, however, still have to play the Chargers and the Dallas Cowboys before ending the season with games against the Steelers and the Ravens.

Speculating things out, this leaves the Texans, Ravens, Patriots, Broncos, Steelers, Indianapolis Colts, Dolphins, Titans, and the Bengals as the 9 times battling it out for the 6 playoff spots in the AFC. I just can\’t bring myself to include the Chargers in this list and barely have the Dolphins included.

A win Monday night by the Steelers over the Chiefs would give them a 2 game cushion in the Wild Card race with two of their next three games against the Ravens. Outside of those two meetings the Steelers are not scheduled to face a team that currently has a winning record.

The Steelers are in no way considered a playoff lock right now, but beating the Chiefs Monday night sure would have it looking that way.

I am, I'm me. 40 something, retired and a life long Steelers fan.
  • Jefferson_St_Joe

    I see it more like 5 teams for 6 spots plus the Colts. I admire what the Colts have overcome and are doing, but I don’t think they are comparatively very good. The other teams you are trying to include are worse so 9-7 is an easy in this year and 8-8 might have a chance, too.

  • Tim Culligan

    Gotta take everything week by week. I’ll never forget the 5 game losing streak after starting 6-2 in 2009. Let’s get a win tonight in tough conditions and then worry about Baltimore.