Ranking AFC teams in fight for wild-card spots: Bills, Bengals ahead of pack; Chargers, Browns stumble

With 12 teams still .500 or better through 12 weeks in the season, the AFC continues to be the most unpredictable conference in years. The Los Angeles Chargers, Las Vegas Raiders, and Denver Broncos are all tied for the final playoff berth (with the Chargers holding the tiebreaker) — and are in the same division! The Baltimore Ravens are the new top seed in the conference, yet are just two games up on the final playoff spot.

Regardless of what happens in the AFC, the wild card playoff race looks poised to come down to the final weekend of the regular season. With 13 teams in the mix for seven spots, every game in the AFC matters — especially with all three tight division races. 

Soon teams will start eliminating each other in these division battles. Let’s take a revised look at the top contenders for the three wild card spots in the conference. 

Current AFC division leaders

The AFC division leaders through the first 12 weeks. All currently have a playoff spot locked up if they claim the division crown. 

Ravens (8-3) NorthPatriots (8-4) EastTitans (8-4) SouthChiefs (7-4) West

AFC wild-card contenders ranked

This is a ranking of the teams competing for a wild-card spot in the AFC. Only three teams can make the playoffs, so the top three obviously have the best chance to make the postseason through the first 12 weeks of the year. 

Remaining schedule: vs. Patriots, at Buccaneers, vs. Panthers, at Patriots, vs. Falcons, vs. Jets

The Bills have control of their own destiny in the AFC East, getting to face the Patriots twice in a four-week span that will certainly determine the division winner. A sweep of the Patriots and the Bills are essentially a lock for the division crown, but the AFC East appears to have two teams as a lock for the playoffs. Thursday’s win against the Saints was crucial for the Bills in gaining momentum for the stretch run. Going 2-1 against the Patriots and…

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