Analyzing the AFC Playoff Picture, Week 17


The Ravens have a 30% chance of making the playoffs, according to ESPN’s Power Football Index.

With games against the Los Angeles Rams (11-4) and Pittsburgh Steelers (7-7-1) remaining, Baltimore has a tough road ahead. Two wins would put the Ravens in excellent position, and they could still find a way into the postseason at 9-8 since it's a wild year in the AFC.

The Kansas City Chiefs are the AFC's only team to punch their ticket so far, but the Tennessee Titans, Buffalo Bills, New England Patriots and Indianapolis Colts all have above a 95% chance.

Here's how the AFC playoff pictures stands heading into Week 17:

Buffalo Bills (9-6)
Remaining schedule: vs. Falcons, vs. Jets
PFI playoff chances: 99.2%
The Bills scored a huge win over the Patriots last Sunday and now close out the season with two teams who haven't been very good in the Falcons and last place Jets. They are now favored to win their division.

Tennessee Titans (10-5)
Remaining schedule: vs. Dolphins, at Texans
PFI playoff chances: 99.1%
The Titans are in good position to win the AFC South and hold off the surging Colts. Even if they don't, they'll almost assuredly land a wild-card spot.

Indianapolis Colts (9-6)
Remaining schedule: vs. Raiders, at Jaguars
PFI playoff chances: 95.5%
The Colts scored back-to-back huge wins over the Patriots and Cardinals, sending their playoff chances skyrocketing. At this point, it's better for Indianapolis to keep on winning and take a wild-card (or divisional) spot and keep the Raiders out.

New England Patriots (9-6)
Remaining schedule: vs. Jaguars, at Dolphins
PFI playoff chances: 95.1%
After losing to the Bills, the Patriots are no longer in the driver's seat in the AFC East. However, they still have a strong hold on a playoff spot with a game against the last place Jaguars on deck. The Patriots can help the Ravens by beating the Dolphins in Week 18.

Cincinnati Bengals (9-6)
Remaining schedule: vs. Chiefs, at Browns
PFI playoff chances: 81.7%
The Bengals are now in first place in the AFC North but don't have a cakewalk to the title. They'll face the NFL's hottest team in the Chiefs next, then finish the year with a rematch against the Browns, who clobbered them earlier this season. The Ravens would steal the division crown if the Bengals lost both games and Baltimore won out.

Los Angeles Chargers (8-7)
Remaining schedule: vs. Broncos, at Raiders
PFI playoff chances: 34.8%
The Chargers suffered a huge upset loss to the Texans last week that drastically damaged their playoff chances. Now they have to rebound against the Broncos team that beat them earlier this season. The season finale in Las Vegas won't be easy either. The Chargers can win out and still lose a playoff spot to the Ravens, who beat them in Week 6.

Miami Dolphins (8-7)
Remaining schedule: at Titans, vs. Patriots
PFI playoff chances: 20.9%
The Dolphins have now won seven in a row after a "Monday Night Football" victory over the COVID-19 short-handed New Orleans Saints and currently own the final and No. 7 seed in the AFC playoffs. Their win over the Ravens on "Thursday Night Football" in Week 10 not only catapulted their season, but now looms very large in Baltimore's playoff fate. However, the Dolphins have mostly feasted on struggling competition and two games against the Titans and Patriots to close out the season could be a roadblock. The Ravens need them to lose at least one of them.

Las Vegas Raiders (8-7)Remaining schedule: at Colts, vs. Chargers
PFI playoff chances: 18.4%
The Raiders are hanging around after a season-saving win against Denver last week. Still, a date with the Colts next is going to be a tough game. If the Raiders get hot down the stretch, they could foil the Ravens' playoff chances after beating Baltimore in Week 1.

Cleveland Browns (7-8)
Remaining schedule: at Steelers, vs. Bengals
PFI playoff chances: 12.8%
The Browns lost to the Packers after four Baker Mayfield interceptions, which may have doomed their season. Picked again by many pundits as a preseason favorite, Cleveland would need to win out and get a lot of help to make it to the dance. However, if the Ravens beat the Rams and go into Week 18 with the AFC North title up for grabs with the Bengals, everybody in Baltimore will be Browns fans for the day.

Pittsburgh Steelers (7-7-1)Remaining schedule: vs. Browns, at Ravens
PFI playoff chances: 11.6%
The Steelers got blown out by the Chiefs and have a slim chance of making the playoffs. Still, this organization has a lot of pride and with it reportedly being Ben Roethlisberger's final season, they'll be looking to send him out a winner and keep Mike Tomlin's streak of never having a losing season alive. Even if they're out of playoff contention, they'll bring that attitude to Baltimore in Week 18.

Denver Broncos (7-8)
Remaining schedule: at Chargers, vs. Chiefs
PFI playoff chances: 0.2%
The Broncos aren't technically eliminated, but they're pretty much out. However, they can play spoiler against their division foe, the Chargers, this Sunday.

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