How the AFC Wild Card picture should shape up

Houston Texans v Tennessee Titans
Houston Texans v Tennessee Titans / Wesley Hitt/GettyImages
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The AFC playoff picture is a mess. Seven teams sit with seven or eight wins, including three in the AFC south. Their remaining schedules will determine who should and should not make the playoffs. With seven teams vying for three or four spots, things are going to get even crazier in the AFC. Effectively any loss takes the Broncos out of the playoffs, but with a 3-0 record to close out the year, there is plenty of hope for the Broncos team to make the playoffs. Lets take a look at what is left for each team, and who should be playing playoff football this year.


*Italicized denotes games against teams with at least nine wins or a divisional leader, bold denotes games against teams also in the AFC Wild Card picture

BUF: @ LAC, vs NE, @ MIA
HOU: vs CLE, vs TEN, @ IND
PIT: vs CIN, @ SEA, @ BAL
CIN: @ PIT, vs KC, vs CLE
IND: @ ATL, vs LV, vs HOU
DEN: vs NE, vs LAC, @ LV
JAX: @ TB, vs CAR, @ TEN

The Broncos are the only team that does not have a fellow playoff contender left on their schedule. Two games remain between contenders: Bengals at the Steelers week 16, and Texans at the Colts in week 18. The Bengals and Steelers only play contenders the rest of the way. The Bills likely need to win out to make the playoffs, but the Dolphins have a rough remaining schedule and the AFC East could still be in play. The Steelers might not be favored in a game the rest of the way, and the Texans might be favored in every game. How will these schedules play out? Let's take a look at a few scenarios. In the pages below, a bold faced game will denote a win, and standard font will denote a loss.