The AFC Playoff Picture & Predictions

Joe Caporoso breaks down the AFC playoff picture and gives predictions for how the rest of the season will finish out…

With the New York Jets one of the few teams already dead in the AFC playoff picture, let’s look at where the rest of the conference stands, give our predictions for how it shakes out along with our week 13 picks…

1. New England (9-2), Remaining Opponents: vs. Rams, vs. Ravens, at Broncos, vs. Jets, at Dolphins: Despite injuries piling up, don’t expect New England to take their foot off the gas down the stretch after losing home field advantage cost them in 2015. With three of their remaining five at home, this feels like a strong finish for the soon to be #1 seed. Projected Final Record: 13-3

2. Oakland Raiders (9-2), Remaining Opponents: vs. Bills, at Chiefs, at Chargers, vs. Colts, at Broncos: A challenging finish for a rapidly ascending young team. There is a couple of more losses here but likely not enough to knock them out of the top spot in the AFC West. Next week’s game in Kansas City looms large, after the Chiefs whipped them early in the year. Projected Final Record: 12-4

3. Baltimore Ravens (6-5), Remaining Opponents: vs. Dolphins, at Patriots, vs. Eagles, at Steelers, at Bengals: This week’s game against Miami is an interesting test for both teams but the Steelers game, in Pittsburgh, will likely determine the AFC North winner. This is a well coached team, playing above their talent level and average quarterback play. Projected Final Record: 9-7

4. Houston Texans (6-5), Remaining Opponents: at Packers, at Colts, vs. Jaguars, vs. Bengals, at Titans: Brock Osweiler is the worst QB in the NFL not named Ryan Fitzpatrick and the season feels like it is starting to crumble around the Texans, who are barely holding on to their AFC South lead. Nobody wants to watch another Saturday 4PM Texans Wild Card Weekend game. Please save us, Titans. Projected Final Record: 8-8

5. Kansas City Chiefs (8-3), Remaining Opponents: at Falcons, vs. Raiders, vs. Titans, vs. Broncos, at Chargers: The team everybody loves to criticize for their boring, redundant style of play keeps racking up wins. Tyreek Hill and a now healthy Justin Houston are the x-factors for them down the stretch. Arguably the second best team in the conference. Projected Final Record: 11-5 

6. Miami Dolphins (7-4), Remaining Opponents: at Ravens, vs, Cardinals, at Jets, at Bills, vs Patriots: Adam Gase has done terrific work bringing the Dolphins back into contention this year with a 6 game winning streak. Their remaining five are more challenging than they look on paper, especially if New England doesn’t fold up shop in week 17. Ultimately, their fate might be decided by how they perform in Baltimore this weekend. Projected Final Record: 9-7

7. Denver Broncos (7-4), Remaining Opponents: at Jaguars, at Titans, vs. Patriots, at Chiefs, vs. Raiders: The defending champs should jump to 9-4 before a brutal three game finish, even though they have played New England well in their building. Their season will come down to how they handle their in divisional rivals in week 16 and week 17. Projected Final Record: 10-6

8. Pittsburgh Steelers (6-5), Remaining Opponents: vs. Giants, at Bills, at Bengals, vs. Ravens, vs. Browns: A schedule built for the Steelers to make a run and finish strong as they get healthier. The Giants are due for a loss and Rex has never coached well against Big Ben and if they get through those two, running the table seems reasonable. Projected Final Record: 11-5

9. Buffalo Bills (6-5), Remaining Opponents: at Raiders, vs. Steelers, vs. Browns, vs. Dolphins, at Jets: The Bills basically need to win out to make the playoffs and it is hard to see that happening with this slate ahead of them. Unless they can upset Oakland on the road this week, this feels like another 8-8 season. Projected Final Record: 8-8

10. Tennessee Titans: (6-6), Remaining Opponents: vs. Broncos, at Chiefs, vs. Jaguars, vs. Texans: A team everybody would rather see in the playoffs instead of the Texans or Colts. Will 8-8 be enough? Their poor AFC South record is likely to hold them back. Projected Final Record: 8-8 

11. Indianapolis Colts (5-6), Remaining Opponents: at Jets, vs. Texans, at Vikings, at Raiders, vs. Jaguars: It feels kind of amazing the Colts are still hanging around the playoff race, which is mostly thanks to their dreadful division. There isn’t enough wins on their schedule to get it done. Projected Final Record: 7-9 

Projected Final AFC Playoffs

  1. New England
  2. Oakland
  3. Pittsburgh
  4. Houston
  5. Kansas City
  6. Denver

Week 13 Picks 

  • Dallas (-3.5) at Minnesota
  • San Francisco (+2.5) at Chicago
  • Philadelphia (-1.5) at Cincinnati
  • New Orleans (-4.5) vs. Detroit
  • Green Bay (-5.5) vs. Houston
  • Kansas City (+3.5) vs. Atlanta
  • Miami (+3.5) vs. Baltimore
  • New England (-13.5) vs. Los Angeles
  • Denver (-4.5) at Jacksonville
  • Oakland (-3.5) vs. Buffalo
  • San Diego (-3.5) vs. Tampa
  • Giants (+5.5) vs. Pittsburgh
  • Washington (+2.5) vs. Arizona
  • Seattle (-7.5) vs. Carolina
  • Colts (-0.5) vs. Jets

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Author: Joe Caporoso

Joe Caporoso is the Owner and EIC of Turn On The Jets. His writing has been featured in the New York Times, Huffington Post, MMQB and AdWeek. Caporoso played football his entire life, including four years at Muhlenberg as a wide receiver, where he was arguably the slowest receiver to ever start in school history. He is the EVP of Content at Whistle Sports