BOSTON (CBS) — There is still a lot to be determined in the AFC heading into the final week of the regular season.

Four teams have already clinched with the Patriots and Steelers locked into the top two spots, and those two will be playing for the No. 1 overall seed and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs on the final Sunday of the regular season. Four teams are still in the hunt for the AFC’s two Wild Card spots, which should make for an interesting afternoon slate on Sunday.

Here’s a look at the playoff scenarios in the AFC heading into Week 17:

New England Patriots (12-3, AFC East Champs)

The Patriots have already secured a first-round bye and it’s pretty simple if they want the AFC’s No. 1 seed and home-field throughout the playoffs: Beat the visiting Jets on Sunday. New England can still clinch if they lose as long as the Steelers also lose to the Browns, but Cleveland is 0-15 so they probably won’t get any help on that front.

They’d also clinch if they tie the Jets and the Steelers tie the Browns, but that’s just silly.

Pittsburgh Steelers (12-3, AFC North Champs)

The Steelers clinched a first-round bye with their win over the Texans on Monday night, and could still steal the No. 1 seed back from New England with a win over the lowly Browns and a Patriots loss to the Jets.

Both the Patriots and Steelers play at 1pm on Sunday.

Jacksonville Jaguars (10-5, AFC South Champs)

The Jags are locked into the No. 3 seed as they head into Sunday’s regular season finale against the Titans in Tennessee. That game will be much more important to the Titans, though the Jaguars would probably like to head into Wild Card weekend on a win rather than a two-game losing streak.

Kansas City Chiefs (9-6, AFC West Champs)

The Chiefs won their division on Sunday thanks to their third straight victory (following a four-game losing streak), but cannot overtake the Jaguars for the No. 3 seed. So they’ll be hosting the No. 5 seed come Wild Card weekend no matter what happens on Sunday.

Baltimore Ravens (9-6, Wild Card)

Baltimore is sitting pretty as one of the AFC’s two wild card teams after a win over the Colts on Sunday, currently entrenched in the No. 5 seed. They’ll clinch a Wild Card matchup with the Jagurs with a win over the Bengals on Sunday, but can still secure a postseason berth if they lose as long as the Bills or Titans also lose.

Tennessee Titans (8-7, Wild Card)

The Titans are hanging on to a playoff spot even after their third straight loss last weekend, thanks to a better conference record than the two teams behind them. They’ll clinch a Wild Card berth with a win over the Jags or if both the Chargers and Bills lose in Week 17.

Los Angeles Chargers (8-7, Still In Hunt)

The Chargers need to beat the Raiders in L.A. and also need the Titans and Ravens to lose in order to make the playoffs.

Buffalo Bills (8-7, Still In Hunt)

Buffalo wasn’t eliminated following Sunday’s loss in New England, but they are a long shot to end their lengthy postseason drought. They need to beat the Dolphins in Miami and need losses from the Chargers and Titans. They can also get in with a win and a Ravens loss.

The Ravens, Titans, Chargers and Bills will all play at 4:25pm on Sunday.

Tune in to Sunday’s Patriots-Jets matchup on WBZ-TV — the flagship station of the New England Patriots. Pregame coverage begins at 11:30am with Patriots GameDay, and after the game switch over to myTV38 for full reaction and analysis on Patriots 5th Quarter!


Comments (2)
  1. This is not basketball. If you are drafting high, you have a SIGNIFICANT need at multiple positions. Football teams are better off learning how to win at the end of a season than trying to maintain draft position. What one player is going to fix Cleveland? Or the Giants? Or Houston? The Patriots NEVER draft high and yet they are ALWAYS the best team in the NFL.

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