The race for the AFC playoffs is shaping up to be almost as exciting as the 2011 MLB pennant races.
Teams that have struggled for a decade (Oakland)—or even decades (Cincinnati)—could be battling with playoff mainstays (Pittsburgh and New York) to snag one of the two wild-card spots.
Let's go through the schedule week-by-week and see how this could play out.
We're going to make ten assumptions before we jump in.
1. New England will win the AFC East
2. Baltimore will win the AFC North
3. Houston will win the AFC South
4. San Diego will win the AFC West
5. Miami Dolphins will not make the playoffs
6. Cleveland Browns will not make the playoffs
7. Jacksonville Jaguars will not make the playoffs
8. Indianapolis Colts will not make the playoffs
9. Kansas City Chiefs will not make the playoffs
10. Denver Broncos will not make the playoffs
The only assumption that I don't feel entirely comfortable with is discounting Denver after only five games. The AFC West is very weak, and Tim Tebow could be a difference maker. They probably won't make the playoffs, but I won't be surprised if Tebow is able to bring winning back to Denver this season.
That leaves six teams for two spots:
Buffalo Bills (4-2)
New York Jets (3-3)
Cincinnati Bengals (4-2)
Pittsburgh Steelers (4-2)
Tennessee Titans (3-2)
Oakland Raiders (4-2)
Let's look at the remaining schedules and do some projections for each team.