The AFC may be slightly ahead of the NFC in clarity but there are still mucho playoff implications in this weekend’s games. In fact, that last spot in the AFC seedings is overlaid with so many permutions it would take Einstein to figure it out. But here are a few of the more obvious ones.
Baltimore Ravens at Cincinnati Bengals – The Bengals are in…but wait. Cincinnati still has a shot at grasping the brass ring of a #1 seeding with a win over Baltimore should the Patriots falter against Buffalo. The Ravens need more help. First, Baltimore must beat the Bengals in Cincinnati, a feat no team has accomplished this season. Secondly, either Miami or San Diego must lose in order for the defending Super Bowl Champions to repeat. Or, the Ravens could go through the back door if Miami, San Diego, and Pittsburgh end up losers. Got that?
Indianapolis Colts vs Jacksonville Jaguars – The Colts are still in the running for a #2 spot in the AFC. It will require a win over the Jaguars…plus…losses by Cincinnati and New England. Pretty long odds. Figure Indy for a Wild Card spot as we can’t see all that happening. BUt in the NFL…..?
New York Jets vs Miami Dolphins – The Jets are toast. But Miami, well the Dolphins are still alive for their first playoff berth since forever. It’s going to take some doing though. Miami must do it’s part with a win over the Jets. From there either the Chargers must win, or Baltimore must fall to the Bengals. Or tie. Or whatever. The hardest part may be Miami winning with no running game.
Kansas City Chiefs vs San Diego Chargers – The Chiefs are in the playoffs and locked into the #5 seed. So, will Andy Reid play possum and rest his starters? If he does it could change the complexion of the NFL playoffs. The Chargers can still get in if the beat Kansas City. But both Miami and Baltimore must lose to get the Chargers into the show.
The top seeds are still uncertain. In short, if New England wins they are a legit #2. Toss in an unlikely loss by Denver against Oakland and the Patriots get the whole tamale.