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AFC Playoff Picture Gets a Whole Lot Clearer

Charles HenryCorrespondent IDecember 21, 2008

The Giants are losing to the Panthers in their battle for the No. 1 spot in the NFC. We still have the Packers/Bears game on Monday night, and I'm just not caring all that much. 

Me, I'm an AFC guy, and the AFC Playoff picture cleared up a whole lot in the past 72 hours. 

Here are the highlights: Indianapolis, Baltimore, Miami, and New England all won; the Jets and the Broncos lost. Six games which cleared up the AFC playoffs wonderfully.  Here are the scenarios:

  1. Broncos at Chargers next week: The winner takes the AFC West, the loser is out.
  2. If Baltimore beats Jacksonville, they're in, sealing the final wild-card slot.
  3. If Miami can win in New York, they win the AFC East.

So what are the scenarios for the Jets, the Dolphins, the Patriots, and the Ravens?


Baltimore Ravens

  1. If they beat Jacksonville, they take the final wild-card slot.
  2. If they lose to Jacksonville, they take the final wild-card slot with a Patriots loss and a Miami loss.
  3. If the Ravens lose and the Patriots win, the Jets take the final playoff spot with a win.


New England Patriots

  1. If they lose, they're out.
  2. If New England wins and Baltimore loses, the Patriots take the final wild-card slot.
  3. If New England wins and Miami loses, the Patriots take the AFC East title.


Miami Dolphins

  1. If they beat the Jets, they win the AFC East.
  2. There is no No. 2.


New York Jets

  1. New York takes the AFC East with a win over Miami and a New England loss.
  2. The Jets take the wild-card slot with a win over the Dolphins, a Patriot win, and a Ravens loss.

In the end, Miami and Baltimore control their own destiny. If they win, they're in the playoffs.

New England and New York need help to get in the playoffs. New England could wind up 11-5 and miss the playoffs. Here's what's scary, though: We could see New England and Miami at 10-6 miss the playoffs, the Ravens at 11-5 as a wild card, but the Chargers squeak in at 8-8. I just hate that!

But I do like the divisional winners getting in automatically, because it does create that rivalry aspect and makes those division games more important. But times like this?  I'm not so sure...

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