Twelve weeks are in the books, and there is not one sure thing to be had in the AFC playoff picture. Philip Rivers and the Chargers look pretty comfortable at the front of the pack in the AFC West, but even they are still vulnerable. Elsewhere, the conference's best two teams by record (the 9-2 Patriots and Jets) are wrestling for control of the East, and either Tom Brady or Mark Sanchez could well be watching the postseason from home, given their tough remaining schedules and the competition for those berths.
Still, with two-and-half months' worth of information, it is pretty safe to say that we know who the best of the best in the AFC really are, and who are the pretenders who will fade down the stretch. Of course, the dregs of the conference (Buffalo, Cincinnati, Denver) are painfully clear.
Are the Chargers, the hottest team in football, also the best? Or do Brady's Patriots still reign supreme? What of the Ravens and Steelers, only one of whom will be guaranteed anything? Can Peyton Manning rally the Colts in time to get them to the playoffs? Read on for those answers and more and be sure to check out the NFC power rankings for this week, too.