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NFL: AFC playoff picture heading into Week 17

Kansas City Chiefs locked up home field advantage
Kansas City Chiefs locked up home field advantage
Walter Sharp
ANALYST
Modified 30 Dec 2020, 02:31 IST
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Entering Week 17 of the 2020 NFL Season, the AFC playoff picture has not been completed yet. Three teams have already locked up their spots in the AFC playoffs. The Kansas City Chiefs, the Buffalo Bills and the Pittsburgh Steelers have clinched playoff spots and their respective divisions.

Otherwise, five teams are fighting for the final four spots in the AFC. The Tennessee Titans, the Miami Dolphins, the Baltimore Ravens, the Cleveland Browns and the Indianapolis Colts are involved in a heated battle for those spots. There are a couple different scenarios that could finalize the playoff picture for the AFC.

With that being said, here's a look at how the AFC playoff picture could turn out after Week 17 of the 2020 NFL Season.


1) Kansas City Chiefs (14-1) lead the AFC with the best record in the NFL

The Kansas City Chiefs locked up home-field advantage with their Week 16 victory over the Atlanta Falcons. As a result, the Chiefs don't have anything to play for in Week 17. So Kansas City could sit some starters against the Chargers this week.


2) Buffalo Bills (12-3)

The Buffalo Bills currently own the tiebreaker over the Pittsburgh Steelers, based on their head-to-head meeting in Week 14. The Bills will look to complete their best season since the 1991 NFL Season in Week 17 against Dolphins.

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3) Pittsburgh Steelers (12-3)

Pittsburgh Steelers v Buffalo Bills
Pittsburgh Steelers v Buffalo Bills

The Pittsburgh Steelers have had a rough ending to the 2020 NFL Season. After an 11-0 start to the season, the Steels dropped three games in a row. Pittsburgh bounced back with a win last week, though. With the AFC North locked up, the Steelers will start backup QB Mason Rudolph against the Browns in Week 17.


4) Tennessee Titans (10-5)

The Tennessee Titans had the opportunity in Week 16 to lock up the AFC South division title with a win against the Green Bay Packers. But instead, the Titans lost by a score of 40-14. The Titans can still win the AFC South and clinch a playoff spot in Week 17. The following scenarios are in play:

Clinch the AFC South:

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  1. Titans Win
  2. Colts Loss
  3. Titans Tie or Colts Tie

Clinch a Playoff Spot:

  1. Ravens Loss
  2. Dolphins Loss
  3. Titans Tie and Browns Loss
  4. Titans Tie and Dolphins Tie
  5. Titans Tie and Ravens Tie

5) Miami Dolphins (10-5)

The Miami Dolphins own the tiebreakers over the Indianapolis Colts and Baltimore Ravens based on their win percentage in games against AFC opponents. The following scenarios will help Miami clinch a playoff spot:

Clinch Playoff Spot:

  1. Dolphins Win
  2. Browns loss
  3. Ravens loss
  4. Colts loss

6) Baltimore Ravens (10-5)

The Baltimore Ravens own the tiebreaker over the Cleveland Browns based on their head-to-head record. These scenarios will put the Ravens in the 2020 NFL Playoffs:

Clinch Playoff Spot:

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  1. Ravens Win
  2. Colts loss
  3. Browns loss
  4. Dolphins loss

7) Cleveland Browns (10-5)

The Cleveland Browns received good news ahed of their Week 17 meeting with the Steelers. Mason Rudolph will be the starting QB against the Browns, so Cleveland should be favored in this game. Still, the Browns need all these scenarios to play out in order to reach the NFL Playoffs:

Clinch Playoff Spot:

  1. Browns Win
  2. Colts Loss
  3. Titans Loss and Dolphins Win or Tie and Ravens Win or Tie
  4. Browns Tie and Ravens loss
  5. Browns Tie and Dolphins loss
  6. Browns Tie and Titans Loss
  7. Browns Tie and Colts Tie
  8. Browns Tie and Titans Tie and Ravens Win and Dolphins Win

8) Indianapolis Colts (10-5)

The Indianapolis Colts may be the odd man out in the 2020 AFC Playoff race. The Colts need these scenarios to play out to make the NFL Playoffs.

Clinch Playoff Spot:

  1. Ravens Loss
  2. Dolphins Loss
  3. Browns Loss

There's a good chance that even with an 11-5 record at the end of the 2020 NFL Season, the Colts will still be watching the NFL playoffs from home.

Published 30 Dec 2020, 02:31 IST
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