NFL Playoffs: 9 Teams Remain Alive in AFC with 2 Weeks to Go

Richard Santamaria@RiSantamariaCorrespondent IIDecember 17, 2012

December 16, 2012;Baltimore, MD, USA;Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) drops back to pass during the game against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports
Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

The AFC playoff picture is a little clearer after most of Week 15 has been completed.  With only the Monday night game remaining (Jets @ Titans), here is what we have:

1. Houston Texans 12-2  Remaining Games: MIN, @IND

The Texans have clinched their division.  If they attain one more victory then the road to the Super Bowl will go through Houston since the Texans defeated the Broncos in Week 3.

2. Denver Broncos 11-3  Remaining Games: CLE, KC

Peyton Manning and the Broncos have won their division and are playing to improve their seeding.  If they win out and Houston loses its remaining two, Denver will be the conference's top seed.

3. New England Patriots 10-4  Remaining Games: @JAX, MIA

The Patriots have clinched their division and, because they have defeated Houston and Denver this season, they can still be the conference's top seed.  They would have to win their remaining games while the Texans would have to lose both of their games and the Broncos would have to drop one of their final two.

4. Baltimore Ravens 9-5  Remaining Games: NYG, @CIN


The Ravens have clinched a playoff spot but have not taken their division.  They have a difficult home game against the New York Giants next week and then they will travel to play the Bengals in a game that could decide the AFC North.

There are five teams fighting for the two remaining AFC playoff spots.

5. Indianapolis Colts 9-5  Remaining Games: @KC, HOU

Andrew Luck and company have not clinched, but one more win would do it and they play the lowly Chiefs next.  Even if they were to lose their remaining two games, the Colts could still earn a wild-card spot.

6. Cincinnati Bengals 8-6  Remaining Games: @PIT, BAL

If the Bengals win out, they're in.  They also have a chance to clinch their division.

7. Pittsburgh Steelers 7-7  Remaining Games: CIN, CLE

The Steelers also control their destiny.  If they win out, they're in because they hold tiebreakers over the Bengals and Jets.  Because of their conference record, they cannot claim their division.

8. New York Jets 6-7  Remaining Games: @TEN, SD, @BUF

Because they lost to the Steelers, they Jets have to win all of their remaining games to have a shot at making the playoffs.  The Steelers and the Bengals play this week, which means Cincinnati will earn its ninth victory or the Steelers will earn their eighth.  Either way, the Jets need nine wins.

9. Miami Dolphins 6-8  Remaining Games: BUF, @NE

The Dolphins can make the playoffs with eight victories, so they need to win out.  Cincinnati must lose its two remaining games and Pittsburgh has to lose its finale against Cleveland.  The Jets would have to lose a single game to Buffalo or both of their other games (@TEN, SD).