NFL Playoffs: Which 7-7 AFC Team Will Make the Playoffs?

Dan AdamsCorrespondent IDecember 23, 2009

BALTIMORE - DECEMBER 28: Brian Williams #29 of the Jacksonville Jaguars tackles Derrick Mason #85 of the Baltimore Ravens during the game on December 28, 2008 at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)
Chris McGrath/Getty Images

The AFC looks like a cluster of mediocrity after 15 weeks. Eight teams are within one game of a playoff spot.

The Denver Broncos blew their chance to put a stranglehold on one of spots and fell to 8-6 and the Baltimore Ravens kept their one-game lead with a victory against Chicago improving their record to 8-6.

Next in line, six teams: Jacksonville, Tennessee, Houston, Pittsburgh, Miami, and the New York Jets.

What team has the best chance? What teams have very little chance? And, do any of the 7-7 teams have a chance?



Current Record: 8-6 (Sixth Seed)

Remaining Games: @PHI (10-4), KC (3-11)

Conference Record: 6-5

With a huge game this week in the City of Brotherly Love, their playoff lives are at stake. They are a team with the ability to win on the road and defeat a team like Philadelphia.

My prediction is that the Denver Broncos' ability to shut down opposing passing offenses will allow them to pull the upset in Philly. This would put a huge hammerlock on a Wild Card position with only Kansas City at home remaining on the schedule. 



Current Record: 8-6 (Fifth Seed)

Remaining Games: @PIT (7-7), @OAK (5-9)

Conference Record: 6-4

With two very tough road games in front of them, the Baltimore Ravens have a huge task in front of them. A road game in Pittsburgh is at difficult it gets for the Ravens. The inability to establish the run could prove to be the cause of the end of the season for the Ravens.

In basically an elimination game of one of the eight remaining teams, I give the edge to the Steelers coming off their victory over the then 9-4 Green Bay Packers.

The last game of the season is a long trip all the way across the country and it has proven to be a tough task for some other teams along the east coast this year.

Oakland has played very well vs. good teams this season, defeating Cincinnati, Philadelphia, and Denver.



Current Record: 7-7

Remaining Games: @NE (9-5), @ CLE (3-11)

Conference Record: 6-4

Virtually in the same situation as the Denver Broncos and Baltimore Ravens this week is a must-win for Jacksonville.

Pretty much guaranteed a conference victory at Cleveland in Week 17, if Jacksonville manages to get by New England, they will have the upper hand on Denver or Baltimore based on a conference record of 8-4. 

Many people have dismissed this team, but New England has struggled in many games this season.

Many of those were on the road, but if the Jaguars from the South can somehow win in the cold weather in Boston, they are in a prime spot with the Browns on their schedule.



Current Record: 7-7

Remaining Games: HOU (7-7), PIT (7-7)

Conference Record: 5-5

Another elimination game of 7-7 teams in week 16 will be played in Miami between the Dolphins and Texans. Miami has the better shot of the two to get in with Houston being under .500 within the conference.

Miami's running attack will be the focal point against a mediocre rush defense. Houston has allowed 14 rushing touchdowns and 14 rushes of 20 yards or more, both are in the bottom third of NFL defenses.

It is very likely that if Ricky Williams gets going and Miami controls the clock, they will control the game and move to 8-7.

The tough one will come in the finale if both teams have something to play for, Pittsburgh has the best rush defense in the league and it will present tons of problems for Chad Henne.

Best-case scenario for Miami would be to win and hope Baltimore defeats Pittsburgh. Then they have to start rooting for the Denver Broncos to lose.



Current Record: 7-7

Remaining Games: @MIA (7-7), NE (9-5)

Conference Record: 4-6

As explained in the Miami profile, Houston would need a ton of help plus two unlikely victories. If they can defeat Miami and New England beats Jacksonville, New England may have nothing to play for in week 17.

In that case they would need Baltimore to lose their last two, Denver to lose their last two, and Jacksonville, Miami, and New York to lose one.

Even under those conditions it could come down to a common games played. Their chances of making it are almost nil.



Current Record: 7-7

Remaining Games: @IND (14-0), CIN (9-5)

Conference Record: 5-5

Two of the toughest games on their schedule all season had to be in weeks 16 and 17. If Indianapolis plays all of their starters this week, which I would more than likely expect them to do with a perfect record on the line, the New York Jets are probably not going to make the playoffs.

Even if they win, Cincinnati will be playing for seeding in week 17 and it may or may not mean anything to them. You would assume that the three seed means a ton in the AFC because if you win with the three seed, than you will not have to face Indianapolis until the AFC Championship game.

Sorry New York fans, but I think your season will be wrapped up at about 7:30 p.m. on Sunday.



Current Record: 7-7

Remaining Games: SD (11-3), @SEA (5-9)

Conference Record: 4-7

It's really not worth mentioning the Titans in playoff consideration because of their conference record. The beginning of their season was just too much to overcome.

The great play of Vince Young is something to look forward to for next season. Difficult opponents and too many obstacles are in the way of what would be a miracle post season berth.



Current Record: 7-7

Remaining Games: BAL (8-6), @MIA (7-7)

Conference Record: 4-6

America's Team? Not in the playoffs. What? It would have seemed unthinkable after the way the Steelers played to start the season.

Looking primed to make another Super Bowl run the Steelers started off the season 6-2, they have gone through the second half at 1-5 thus far.

Shocking, yes, considering that they have not had a collapse like this happen with Ben Roethlisberger at the helm. It's scary to think that they still have a chance.

I promise you this, the division winners who play on Wild Card weekend are praying that the Steel Curtain does not find a way.

Although the situation is very unlikely, if Pittsburgh were the only team to tie Denver and Pittsburgh, the Steelers would get in because the Ravens and Steelers both beat the Broncos. Now that I stated it, it will happen.

Now that all of the teams have been shown it is looking like about five teams have a realistic chance of making the playoffs. Baltimore and Denver are playing for everything this weekend.

If Denver wins, they should be in. If Baltimore wins, they should beat Oakland too. All this speculation may mean nothing at the end of Sunday afternoon. At this point it is all up for grabs and Denver and Baltimore control their own destiny.

Jacksonville has the best chance to make hay if they can upset New England. That will give them the upper edge on both teams if one of them lose one game. We'll see what happens. What an awesome weekend of football to look forward to.