Analyzing the AFC Playoff Race, Week 16


The Ravens have a 56.6% chance of making the playoffs after suffering their third-straight defeat to the Green Bay Packers Sunday, according to ESPN’s Power Football Index (PFI).

The Ravens have a 37.6 chance of winning the AFC North crown, just a tick below the Cincinnati Bengals' chances of 37.7.

With games against the Bengals (8-6), Los Angeles Rams (10-4) and Pittsburgh Steelers (7-6-1), the Ravens have a tough road ahead. But the same applies to the other teams Baltimore is competing for a playoff spot against.

It seems the magic number in the AFC, at least to earn a Wild-Card spot, is 10 wins.

Here's how the AFC playoff picture stands as seven teams are vying to get in:

Kansas City Chiefs (10-4)
Remaining schedule: vs. Steelers, at Bengals, at Broncos
PFI playoff chances: 99.4%
Winners of seven straight games, the Chiefs are the hottest team in the league and have stepped into the top spot in the conference. They'll be looking to hold onto the first-round bye but are now dealing with star wide receiver Tyreek Hill and tight end Travis Kelce on the COVID-19 list. The Chiefs can help the Ravens' playoff chances by winning out and particularly by beating the Bengals.

New England Patriots (9-5)
Remaining schedule: vs. Bills, vs. Jaguars, at Dolphins
PFI playoff chances: 98%
The Patriots were the top team in the AFC before falling to the Indianapolis Colts last week. This week, they can clinch the AFC East title with a win over the Bills.

Tennessee Titans (9-5)
Remaining schedule: vs. 49ers, vs. Dolphins, at Texans
PFI playoff chances: 97%
The Titans fell late against the Steelers last week, but still are in good position to win the AFC South crown.

Buffalo Bills (8-6)
Remaining schedule: at Patriots, vs. Falcons, vs. Jets
PFI playoff chances: 85.2%
The Bills still have a shot to win the AFC East with a huge game against the Patriots next. Even if they lose that, two games against the struggling Falcons and Jets, who have a combined 9-19 record, likely means they'll get to 10 wins. But it's not a slam dunk.

Indianapolis Colts (8-6)
Remaining schedule: at Cardinals, vs. Raiders, at Jaguars
PFI playoff chances: 82%
The Colts' playoff chances shot up after a win against the Patriots. They'll take on another division leader this week with the Cardinals, who are coming off a bad loss to the Lions. The Raiders barely pulled out a win over the COVID-19 riddled Browns and the Jaguars are in the NFL cellar. Baltimore does hold a head-to-head tiebreaker over the Colts if it comes down to that.

Los Angeles Chargers (8-6)
Remaining schedule: at Texans, vs. Broncos, at Raiders
PFI playoff chances: 73.1%
The Chargers' season will likely come down to back-to-back games against AFC West foes to end the year. Los Angeles lost to Denver earlier this season and a finale in Las Vegas won't be easy. The Chargers are coming off a loss against the Chiefs. Baltimore also owns a head-to-head tiebreaker over the Chargers if it comes down to that.

Cincinnati Bengals (8-6)
Remaining schedule: vs. Ravens, vs. Chiefs, at Browns
PFI playoff chances: 49.1%
The Bengals scored a big win in Denver last Sunday and now have a chance to take the reins of the AFC North race with Sunday's game against the Ravens. Cincinnati has one of the toughest slates left of any team in the race with dates against Kansas City and Cleveland, who blew out the Bengals, 41-16, in Week 9.

Pittsburgh Steelers (7-6-1)
Remaining schedule: at Chiefs, vs. Browns, at Ravens
PFI playoff chances: 19.3%
The Steelers are probably out of the race with one more loss and now face the division-leading Chiefs. However, if Kelce and Hill (COVID-19 list) can't play, the Steelers defense has a much better chance against Patrick Mahomes.

Cleveland Browns (7-7)
Remaining schedule: at Packers, at Steelers, vs. Bengals
PFI playoff chances: 16.8
The Browns had a shot to jump into first place in the AFC North, but a last-second field goal for the Raiders instead put them in the division basement. That's how tight the AFC North is right now. The Browns' chances of winning out appear slim with three tough games remaining and a roster still trying to recover from nearly two dozen players on the COVID-19 list.

Las Vegas Raiders (7-7)
Remaining schedule: vs. Broncos, at Colts, vs. Chargers
PFI playoff chances: 9.8%
The Raiders have three games left all against teams also in the race. They beat the Browns last week but haven't been on a roll since early in the season.

Denver Broncos (7-7)
Remaining schedule: at Raiders, at Chargers, vs. Chiefs
PFI playoff chances: 8.2%
The Broncos will close out the season against all three of their divisional foes, who all have a lot to play for. Denver's starting quarterback, Teddy Bridgewater, is currently in the concussion protocol after taking a scary hit against the Bengals.

Miami Dolphins (7-7)
Remaining schedule: at Saints, at Titans, vs. Patriots
PFI playoff chances: 5.5%
The Dolphins' win over the Ravens on "Thursday Night Football" really catapulted their season. They're riding a six-game winning streak that has kept their playoff chances alive. However, they still have two very tough games against Tennessee and New England on the docket.

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