The following is the current standings for the AFC playoff race. Only the Indianapolis Colts have clinched their division, while the Broncos are the only other team that has clinched a playoff spot. Next to each teams record is the reason why they would make the playoffs currently.
1 Seed- Denver Broncos (11-2): AFC West Champions
2 Seed- New England (10-3) AFC East Champions
3 Seed- Cincinnati Bengals (9-4) AFC North Champions
4 Seed- Indianapolis Colts (8-5) AFC South Champions
5 Seed- Kansas City Chiefs (10-3) Wild Card
6 Seed- Baltimore Ravens (7-6) Wild Card
7: Miami Dolphins (7-6)
8: San Diego Chargers (6-7)
9: New York Jets (6-7)
10: Tennessee Titans (5-8)
11: Pittsburgh Steelers (5-8)
Ravens chances of winning AFC North-
The Ravens play three division leaders in the next three weeks, so there road ahead is a tough one. The Bengals have the Steelers, Vikings, and Ravens the rest of the way. In order for the Ravens to win the division they need to be either tied or one game behind the Bengals going into their week 17 matchup in order to have a chance to win the division. If the Bengals defeat the Vikings and Steelers the next two weeks, regardless of what the Ravens do, they will win the division. If the Ravens lose next week and the Bengals win, then the Bengals win the division. The same scenario can be applied to week 16. In the simplest of terms, the Ravens need to win their next two games and hope that the Bengals lose to either or both the Steelers or Vikings in order for their week 17 matchup to matter.
Ravens chances of winning last wild card spot-
Attached is the NFL’s tiebreaker procedures for wild card spots
The Ravens are currently tied with the Miami Dolphins for the last wild card spot, but hold the tiebreaker over them since they defeated them earlier in the season. Teams who are ranked 7-11 are still realistically in the race, but obviously the Titans and Steelers appear to long shots. Here are each teams remaining schedules:
Dolphins– New England, @Buffalo, NYJ
Chargers– @Denver, Oakland, Kansas City
Jets- @Carolina, Cleveland, @Miami
Titans- Arizona, @Jacksonville, Houston
Steelers- Cincinnati, @Green Bay, Cleveland
Analysis: The Chargers, who are already one game back, appear to have the toughest road ahead to qualify for the last wild card spot. The Titans and Steelers, who are both two games behind, have manageable schedules, but need help from the other teams for them to qualify. The Jets have a tough remaining schedule, and the Ravens hold the head-to-head tiebreaker over them already. The Dolphins appear to be the Ravens main competition, which is troubling since they have the same record. After New England, they have two games they can win against reeling teams. Of course, none of this matters if the Ravens are able to win their last three games, but that appears to be unlikely considering the foes they face.