BOSTON (CBS) — The Patriots have dropped two straight games, which in turn, has led to a drop in the AFC playoff standings.
Thanks to a Texans win over the Jets on Saturday and New England’s loss to the Steelers on Sunday, Houston now sits in the No. 2 spot with the Patriots dropping to the No. 3 seed in the AFC. That means no first-round bye for the Patriots at the moment, and worse, they’re going to have to win two road games if they want to return to the Super Bowl. After going 3-5 on the road during the regular season, they don’t seem capable of winning away from Gillette Stadium — especially against a playoff opponent.
Here’s an updated look at the AFC playoff picture following Week 15’s games:
1. Kansas City Chiefs (11-3)*
Even after collapsing against the Chargers on Thursday, the Chiefs are still the 1-seed thanks to their division record (they’re 4-1 against the AFC West while Los Angeles is 3-2). But they’re one misstep away from potentially falling to the No. 5 spot, with the Chargers in a position to take over the 1-seed.
Remaining schedule: at Seattle; vs. Oakland
2. Houston Texans (10-4)
The Texans are the top team in the AFC South and will wrap up the division with one more victory. Winning 10 of their last 11 has them in a great spot to secure a first-round bye.
The Patriots own the tiebreaker over the Texans, so if the Patriots win out and the Texans drop one of their final two games, New England would jump back into the No. 2 seed.
Remaining schedule: at Philadelphia; vs. Jacksonville
3. New England Patriots (9-5)
The Patriots still haven’t clinched a playoff spot, needing just one win to take the AFC East for the 10th straight season. They have two favorable home games to close the regular season, but dropping two straight has them playing on Wild Card weekend at the moment. That’s not ideal for a veteran team that could certainly use a week off.
Remaining schedule: vs. Buffalo; vs. New York Jets
4. Pittsburgh Steelers (8-5-1)
A loss would have knocked them out of the playoff picture, but with their win over the Patriots, the Steelers are back on top of the AFC North.
Remaining schedule: at New Orleans; vs. Cincinnati
5. Los Angeles Chargers (11-3)*
The Chargers are maybe the hottest team in the NFL, but they are the AFC’s first Wild Card team because they play in the same division as the Chiefs. But Los Angeles can jump to the top seed if they win out and the Chiefs drop one of their final two games.
Remaining schedule: vs. Baltimore; at Denver
6. Baltimore Ravens (8-6)
The Ravens are hanging on to the second Wild Card in the AFC, but they have a handful of teams chasing them. They could also win the AFC North should the Steelers slip up over the final two weeks of the regular season.
Remaining schedule: at Los Angeles Chargers; vs. Cleveland
Still In The Hunt
7. Indianapolis Colts (8-6)
Remaining schedule: vs. New York Giants; at Tennessee
8. Tennessee Titans (8-6)
Remaining schedule: vs. Washington; vs. Indianapolis
9. Miami Dolphins (7-7)
Remaining schedule: vs. Jacksonville; at Buffalo
10. Cleveland Browns (6-7-1)
Remaining schedule: vs. Cincinnati; at Baltimore
Out Of The Mix
11. Broncos (6-8)
12. Bengals (6-8)
13. Bills (5-9)
14. Jaguars (4-10)
15. Jets (4-10)
16. Raiders (3-11)
*Clinched playoff berth